When my grandmother passed away, a few years after my grandfather, and our extended family was going through the process of cleaning out their house there was only one thing I wanted: the Zenith Turntable Cabinet.
In truth, there were countless items, gizmos, gadgets, and heirlooms that I would have loved to have. Some of them were too painful to want to request and some of them other family had more claim to.
It’s been 10 years and sometimes the pain is as fresh as it was all those years ago. Just thinking about all the items in their home hurts. Everything in that house spoke of them, who they were, the lives they lived, and conjuring up their possessions makes me miss them all over again.
Perhaps I’m overly emotional. Perhaps it’s the same for everyone who has lost such beloved family members.
Of all the items available to hang on to, to hang to a piece of them, the Zenith stereo meant the most.
It sat in their living room up against the bay window overlooking the green hedge, green lawn, and giant leafy green tree that comprised my grandparents front yard. You couldn’t see the stereo without seeing the window and seeing the meticulously cared for yard beyond. I can’t think of the stereo now and that accompanying view without also thinking of the countless hours spent running wild on that grass, hiding behind the hedge, and climbing high among the sturdy limbs of that tree.
I can’t help but smile.
Aside from the view, though I don’t have many memories of the stereo actually being used to play a record or tune into a radio broadcast I do have many memories of the stereo being the launching pad for countless indoor adventures growing up. It was where my brother and I built cities with our Micromachines. It was the safe zone for untold numbers of hide and seek games. It was where Santa would pile up the presents. (At the time I was always so delighted that Santa would think of us twice – once at home and once and grandma and grandpa’s.) It was where we found a note with our names and a few dollars each time we went for a visit. That was our allowance for such chores as: showing up, being cute, playing games, etc…
It was those memories, and my newfound love of vinyl and turntables in college, that made me covet the stereo above all of the other treasures I could have claimed in those dark days. The stereo held memories that I loved, that I would always remember, and therefore I would always remember my grandparents because it was theirs, because it rested in their house, because it was the gateway to the view that was evidence of how they cared for their home and their loved ones.
Now the stereo resides in my condo and while it doesn’t have the same sort of prominent position that is solely because I have no grand room, no bay windows, no spot to place it where it can adequately be displayed. But, I still have it, and I always will.
That stereo is magic.
Every time I look at it I can simultaneously recall the abundance of wonderful memories from my grandparents and I can see it one day sitting in a house of my own, a real house. I look at the stereo and I know that I will have a house of my own, I will have a yard that I will also meticulously care for, and one day I will have grand children come to visit me and they will find presents with their names on them waiting on the polished wooden surface of the Zenith Turntable Cabinet.
And, maybe, it will be magic for them as well.