Sunday, January 6, 2013

Stereophonic Sound

Since we went through the Holidays recently, I was thinking about when I was younger and we would have Christmas and Hanukkah in our house and about the gifts that would be sitting there around the tree. 

And what were the most impacting gifts for me?  Hmmm.  I think they were the gifts that afforded me some kind of new freedom.  The first one that comes to mind was when I was about fourteen and there was a yellow Raleigh ten-speed bike waiting for me in the morning.  It was exactly what I had wanted at that age, and it looked so huge and adult. 

Imagine back then too, that there were no helmets required for riders of my age.  How did my parents shore up for themselves both the fun of giving me a present like that, which overjoyed me, with the worry that it could be so dangerous if used improperly, not to mention all of the mindless drivers around the city. 

But I suppose that is all part of parenting. 

I thought on it further.  What other present made such a change in my life, and then I remembered.  When I was about thirteen, my parents bought a stereo-receiver and speakers for me.  It too was something I had wanted, but I couldn’t have imagined the change it would make.

When I set it up in my bedroom and turned it onto either KMET or KLOS, the two big rock music stations in L.A. at the time, suddenly the room was filled with high fidelity sound.  The space was transformed from a dull area of objects and posters to a warm nest bustling with music, D.J’s and advertisements.  A new world had opened up in my room. 

I remember having a similar experience later after I bought my first car, a dark blue 1973 Chevrolet Camaro with a chrome shark grill.  I had saved just enough to purchase the smooth looking ride, but didn’t have money left over for a radio.  And gas at seventy-five cents per gallon was SOOO expensive!  Oh, how I wish…  

But after maybe about two months, I saved enough working at Hughes Market as a box boy to finally install a stereo into the car.  And again, there it was.  That amazing flourishing of sound in that space that had been until then so dead with the drone of a shifting transmission. 

I take it for granted now.  Having music fill whatever space I am in when I so desire.  But it was such a great change at the time.