The Message Behind The Gift
I never wanted a gift more in my life than Christmas of 1967. It was a simple gift, really--a record player. It was before the era of component stereo systems, and as a 14-year old teenager I wanted total control of my music. I was still riding the boom of the Beatles and the British Invasion and was tired of painfully waiting for the radio to randomly play my favorite songs.
If I owned a record player, specifically the model I pinpointed in the Sunday newspaper sales circulars, I could listen to “my music” any time---in the privacy of my bedroom. That is, in whatever privacy exists in a bedroom shared with two brothers.
I was one of six children in a single-parent home. My mother died two years earlier after a short but brutal bout with cancer. I don’t know how much the medical community knew about cancer in the sixties. I didn’t know much---certainly not how quickly it would end my mother’s life---and change mine forever.
We were an average middle-class family. Although my father was a successful accountant for a major automobile manufacturer, six hungry mouths to feed on one income changed everything. We weren’t scraping by but there weren’t many extras.