The house was vacant except for the stubborn items that are usually the last to go before a sale. Rusted paint cans on dusty basement shelves, an unplugged refigerator old enough to feature thick, rounded corners in the garage, and something in the attic that came with the move in 1986 and which was likely untouched until now-- a box labeled "Bud: King of Beers" filled with stacks of old vinyl records. The contents were deemed valuable enough by the seller to give her pause before bringing them to the car for disposal.
Because music leaves such a permanent stamp on the brain, Julie, the heir and seller, sensed these records would trigger old memories of growing up as a family on Cape Cod in the 1970s. They did that, and more. In that old cardboard box, softened to velvet by years of humidity and heat in the attic, Julie found the sounds of her childhood and her parent's too.
We found "Circus Magic Songs and Fun", with a clown on the cover some would consider creepy today.
With no google or youtube back then, people turned to records to learn how to do something. There's an LP-- which means "long-playing", titled "Curt Gowdy Tells You How to watch Pro Football." That was technologically advanced back then.
There was also an unusually thick and heavy cranberry red record called 'Little Black Sambo", somewhat controversial today for what some think are racist overtones, but at one time a popular children's story. I don't even think that record was vinyl. My parents had some old records like that which were likely manufactured out of shellac.
As Julie went deeper into the box, we went even farther back in time. She found from the 1940s what looked like a large photo album, with a dozen paper sleeves featuring the music of Glenn Miller.
Long before there were television informercials of Time-Life CD collections, there were "books" of records like this one. I was transformed to my parent's own collection of 1940s music in the built-in colonial style cabinets in the livng room of our home near Tatnuck Square in Worcester.
The "Reader's Digest" record label. A precursor to "books on tape".
My favorite find was a piece of paper Julie found folded between the records. She recognized her mother's handwriting. It was instructions on how to dance the "French Hully Gully" and the "Cha-Cha".
What a poignant reminder that the Greatest Generation wouldn't think of stepping onto a dance floor without knowing the steps. At weddings, I watch with envy the older couples who are the only ones who know what they're doing on a dance floor.
While Julie is the seller of the home, I am the real estate agent who represents the buyer. Technically we are on opposite sides of the deal. But over the course of an afternoon, as my client worked with a home inspector to check on the mechanics of the house, Julie and I connected over an old cardboard box of record albums; relics of our youth with sweet memories of two sets of parents now gone to the heavens.