Friday, February 04, 2011

How Jimmie Rodgers And I Saved The Hi-Fi

Dad served in the Navy in WWII. Sometime in the late 50’s or early 60’s they started a Navy Reserve Unit in Albuquerque and Dad joined. This meant another paycheck plus each year he went on a two weeks cruise with his Navy buddies.

Mom would use these two week periods to purchase items she, shall we say, just never got around to while Dad was home.

On this particular occasion she purchased a Hi-Fi record player. For you youngsters that stood for High Fidelity. Not quite Stereo, but supposedly better than a standard phonograph player.

When Dad returned from his Navy duty he noticed the Hi-Fi right away and announced “The damn thing’s going back.” Later that evening he came to my room to explain his position. “Did you see those big speakers on that thing?” he asked. “Those are for big dances in gymnasiums and things like that…people don’t have them in their houses.” “Hell”, he continued, “I could wind up the ol’ Victrola at the ranch and hear it clear out at the barn when I was feedin’ the horses.” He went on to say it was “going back” and he was sure I understood.

Mom was hanging tough though, so I took my allowance and went to the record shop. That was when they had booths and you could listen before you bought. Going through the LPs in the Country section, I noticed one with a picture of a man and his guitar and the man was wearing a railroader hat. I didn’t know Jimmie Rodgers from the man in the moon but I liked the picture and had them play it for me in the booth. I guess even at that young age I was a sucker for old time country, because I liked it and bought it.

I was playing my new album when Dad got home that evening. He was still opposed and telling Mom it was “going back”, so he went to the back of the house to put up his things. In just a little while he stepped back into the living room and said, “Is that Jimmie Rodgers”?

He sat down and listened for awhile and then told me stories about how people would come to town and stop by the DuBois Drug Store just to listen to the latest Jimmie Rodgers record.

And we got to keep the Hi-Fi.

Note: As a young girl my Mom got to see Rodgers in person, which you can read about here.

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