Tuesday, April 05, 2005

remembering the vinyl

When I was a kid, we had a turntable (which self-respecting music lover didn't? so my dad had one). The turntable would alternate with the television; one of the two was always on. In between his LPs of Matt Monro, Engelbert Humperdinck, ABBA, and Shirley Bassey, they would play songs for me too. By the time I was in first grade, I had memorized the multiplication tables because of this series of 45s (the small vinyl records, with the bigger holes, the ones that you had to have that plastic attachment to play--I have to explain for the younger generation?), this series of 45s that each had 1 multiplication table. And so each day I would go through at least three numbers. It was pretty catchy, and up to now I can still recall that sing-song chanting of "six times one equals six"...

Another album that they used to play was something like Children's Songs from Around the World. This song was one of my favorites, and at least by the time I was five, I knew what a solar plexus was:
O Senor Don Gato was a cat.
On a high red roof Don Gato sat.
He was there to read a letter,
- (meow, meow, meow)
where the reading light was better,
- (meow, meow, meow)
'Twas a love-note for Don Gato!

"I adore you," wrote the ladycat,
who was fluffy white, and nice and fat.
There was not a sweeter kitty,
- (meow, meow, meow)
in the country or the city
- (meow, meow, meow)
and she said she'd wed Don Gato!

O Senor Don Gato jumped with glee!
He fell off the roof and broke his knee,
broke his ribs and all his whiskers,
- (meow, meow, meow)
and his little solar plexus
- (meow, meow, meow)
"Ay Caramba!!" cried Don Gato.

All the doctors they came on the run,
just to see if something could be done.
And they held a consultation,
- (meow, meow, meow)
about how to save their patient,
- (meow, meow, meow)
how to save Senor Don Gato.

But in spite of everything they tried,
poor Senor Don Gato up and died.
No, it wasn't very merry,
- (meow, meow, meow)
going to the cemetary,
- (meow, meow, meow)
for the ending of Don Gato.

But as the the funeral passed the market square,
such a smell of fish was in the air,
though the burial was plated,
- (meow, meow, meow)
he became reanimated,
- (meow, meow, meow)
he came back to life, Don Gato!

And so multiplication tables and a reanimated cat, not to mention a whole lot of ABBA, were an integral part of my formative years. Wonderful. I can see what that got me.

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