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“You know your brother Spike/ he’s on the level/ but you always lookin’/ like you’re mad at the devil…”

February 11th, 2011

what if your band released four albums in four years and they were these four: Aerosmith, Get Your Wings, Toys in the Attic and Rocks? hahaha. Yeah, we’re watching Steven Tyler, JLo and Randy J. on American Idol every week, Steve and the kids and I. (Note to self: Get Steve hooked on American Idol. Check!) And all I think when I see Steven Tyler is, His first album came out in ’73 and I remember when it was released. OK, that’s bad enough, I’m so freaking ancient. Not as ancient as him, but still.

But my copy? We didn’t have a lot of money when I was a kid, so buying a new album (or 45, more like, more in my price range), it was a big deal. When my friend gave me a copy (I was 12 by then) it was such a gesture of love. He’d been carrying this album with him everywhere (his family moved a lot, including back and forth across the country, between Oregon and Washington, and Oklahoma and Missouri). It was broken right in half — just the very edge, maybe three inches or so into the record? He was heartbroken and couldn’t afford another copy. And they didn’t have a record player by then. When your dad likes to play the dogs and the horses, food and rent and everything else come last place in the family budget.

And you can sell a record player and buy a few drinks. So he gave me his copy. When I played it, I’d just snap the edges back together and rock out. We both liked Movin’ Out and Mama Kin. “Living out your fantasy/sleeping late and smoking tea…” And Dream On, of course, but who didn’t? And One Way Street. Who am I kidding? We just loved the hell out of that record, but those were our favorites.

Oh, my God. Our childhoods, growing up in that neighborhood. Whenever my kids kvetch, I ask them, Do you know how to drive yet? (They’re 8 and 11.) Get on it, because in my old neighborhood, we all learned to drive by the time we were 12.

(Let’s say, for example, you’re at the track with your dad. Not my dad, he was long-gone, but my friend’s dad. Drunk dad = you better know how to drive his drunk ass home.)

“You’re lucky you don’t have to drive your drunk daddy home! You’re lucky you don’t have to go get a job helping the guys at the gas station, cuz your mom doesn’t have enough money to support you! I started babysitting when I was 9! We all worked!” At that point they’re all, Here, I’ll set the table, OK? Calm the cuss down, Mama.

So Aerosmith meant a lot to this little rocker. And still does.

The End.


  1. Winn says

    LOL! I don’t know whether to laugh because of your wonderful storytelling or cry for your old friend. I remember being 14 and having the drunk dad of the kid I babysat drive me home… and my parents were okay with it. A different world!

    February 11th, 2011 | #

  2. Dan Hortsch says

    That is a touching story, Nancy, about your friend and the record. (I bought 45s, too, but in earlier years: lots of Elvis; my older brother had an Elvis 78, maybe Elvis’ first recording. In time it was cracked. Today that record would be worth quite a bit.)

    Very touching, that story, and your story about what you say to the offspring is both sad and funny. (I can recall as a boy wishing that my mother would just stop the lecture, please, please, please. She could lecture darned well. She made up for my quiet father.)

    Earl Blumenauer, according to Anna Griffin, tells his children, “No whining on the yacht.” We don’t have to have a yacht to feel as if we are that well off compared to a great many other people.

    February 11th, 2011 | #

  3. Qanzas says

    First of all, Aerosmith rocks. Secondly, yes, albums…I would save my 25 cents a week for many weeks ’til I had enough to buy a 33. That was a lot of weeks of considering what LP would win. Lastly, yes, a very touching piece. If I was the kind of person to say, “you should write about…” I’d tell you that I want more of your childhood neighborhood as well as a ‘then and now’ comparison. But I’m not that kind of person. I’m not. And after lastly, rocking in 197frickin3 and still! Walk this way indeed!

    February 11th, 2011 | #

  4. LIB says

    Your comment about working at 9 reminded me of a story. Mind you, this is sad–but enough time has gone by that it’s funny, too.

    My friend’s first inkling that her mom had Alzheimer’s was one day when she was, very uncharacteristicly, irritated by the great-grandchildren.

    She looked at the 5 year old and said, “I had a JOB when I was your age!”

    February 12th, 2011 | #

  5. Nan says

    I still have most of my records… I need a record player!

    February 13th, 2011 | #

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