Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Well Mr. Jaws, How Was It? "Dynomite"

Here is a picture of me at Tonto National Forest when I was around eight or nine. Just so you know, those shorts I was wearing? Yeah, they were terry cloth. Mmm hmm.

When we lived in Mesa, I had neighbors who were from Tonga. They used to do Polynesian shows at hotels and their parents just gave them all the money they made so they could blow it all on candy and pop, which is exactly what they did. Vai, the oldest spent most of his on 45's. Back in the 70's, 45's were our music vehicle of choice. In junior high we'd discover the beauty of 8-tracks, but when we were younger, we had mini-turntables that produced crappy sound and we bought as many 45's as we could. Vai also used to try to replicate that novelty song "Mr Jaws" by taping bits of all of his records.

Since we were poor and not very exotic. (I guess some would think Irish Catholics were pretty exotic for Mesa, Arizona. We just couldn't figure out how to make any money off of it) I only had a few 45's. I was trying to remember the first one I bought, but I think I got two at the same time. Cheech and Chong's 'Sister Mary Elephant" and Bobby 'Boris' Pickett's "Monster Mash". Apparently, I was really fond of the novelty record.

Back in the seventies, we had what they called record day. It was usually Friday afternoon and we were allowed to spend the last hour of the school day, playing the 45's we brought. That's when I saw my first colored record. One of the girls brought her Grand Funk Railroad's "We're an American Band" and it was a translucent yellow disc. I was hoping it would start a trend and all the records would be cool colors, but it didn't seem to take.

One day, walking home from school with all my 45's in my brown suede, long strap purse, I discovered that I could swing my purse around and around really fast and my records wouldn't fall out. It felt like I had a super power. Swing, swing. I could defy gravity. As I headed down the street, I thought about what kinds of crime I could fight with that kind of power. Uh, um...Okay, maybe I could just go do shows like Vai and his family instead. Swing, swing. I'd go on before they did their fire dances and show people how my bag could go upside down with no records falling out. I would be rich and finally be able to buy, Olivia Newton John's "Have you Never Been Mellow". Swing, swing. I might even get a Close-and-Play. I made it almost all the way home, swinging my purse around my head, when my friend, Skip called me. I stopped and turned around to see where he was and slowed my swinging down. All my records fell out of my purse and broke around me on the sidewalk. My super power was flawed and I would have to wait another six months in order to trade stuff with Vai's sister, Linetti for the Olivia Newton John 45.

14 comments:

Remiman said...

Churlita,
At least you didn't try to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Did You?
rel

Mrs. Hairy Woman said...

ialways listened to my parents music.. because I was probably lame as I didn't have my own record player..I did have a really cool bike with a banana seat and it was purple..

dmarks said...

I actually recognized that "lyric" right off

aliencg said...

I still have a bunch of 45's, but Dad is still the king of the medium. Too bad the swinging slowed down too much and you dropped all of yours.

.j.william. said...

nice story.

another good thing said...

I feel you. Two years ago I took my kids to an estate sale and explained what RECORDS were. They negotiated the purchase of a record player and we picked out 30 albums for $5. it was fun to see them get all crazy on vinyl.
oh, and I had one of those GE Show and Tell film strip-record players... remember those?

NoRegrets said...

Yours is often teh first blog I read in the day, in part because I know there's always something there, and also because of posts like this. I liked it very very much.

Susan said...

This story broke my heart a little. I had a HUGE collection of "The Gremlins" 45s with read along books. They scared the hell out of me but I still listened.

DJSassafrass said...

That is the saddest thing I have ever heard.

My first 45? Queen of Hearts by Juice Newton. Quickly followed by We are the World and Let's hear it for the boy. Yeah, my dad bought those last two for me.

fringes said...

Dang. Nothing good ever came from swinging breakables overhead. How come we kept doing it?

Mr Atrocity said...

I left a load of very precious vinyl on a window sill on a hot day. I think you can imagine the rest. Suffice to say, my conversion to favouring CD technology was pretty swift.

laura b. said...

45's were so awesome. I didn't have a huge collection, because my mom didn't understand their importance! haha!
I still think you could make a mint off of swinging something round and round...maybe not your purse though....

Cricket said...

My first 45s were as a birthday gift from a cool neighbor girl. She included American Pie, Downtown, and School's Out. Quite variety there.

You amaze me what you can remember. And how charming it sounds.

Lynnster said...

Lord, I never know what I'll find over here when I drop by. "Mr. Jaws", OMG. Jeez, I feel old now.

We had records on Fridays at school too, but outside on the playground (there was a stereo hooked up to a speaker out there). I remember when it was "The Hustle" every Friday for about three months. Ai yi yi.