Friday, October 18, 2013

The phonograph record that started it all. The record I shared with my friends in Fort Lauderdale Florida in 1969 -70







I have had a fascination for recorded sound since I was a little boy. I went to Thomas Edison's Laboratory in 1964. It was still a working factory then, It was there that an old fellow who had worked for the old man played a phonograph for me. 

I WAS HOOKED.


 I became fascinated with recorded sound. But did not know much about it. I needed to learn, and I did in time.

The starting point of this learning curve took place in October of 1969. I was in class at Riverland Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale Florida. I was in Mr Dixon's class in the 6th grade. I had my friends there...Mark (itchy) Fletcher, Jimmy, Kern Orr and a few others. We would hang out together and have fun as all 11 year old kids did in those days. 

Gosh we would climb trees and sing in them, or just hang out and walk around. I still remember the songs we used to sing in the trees. Those were such fun days, and I have always missed those guys.
It was another age. Kid's today would not understand it at all. 

But one day in class we did a show and tell program. It was a day that would change my life forever.

I was originally from New Jersey and has some stuff from Washington's Headquarters in Morristown NJ. It was cool pictures of the site. I was proud of my presentation, however a kid in the class brought in something that made my eyes bulge out. He brought to class an old record. 

It seems he and his dad had gone fishing in Port Everglades and had pulled this up with their hook. It was record unlike any I had ever seen before. I traded with him all my pictures of Washington's Headquarters for that record. I thought at that time I had one of the oldest records in the world. Well I was nearly 12 and naive.

I brought the record to Itchy Fletchers house and his father played it on their stereo. In those days stereos had 78 as a speed. It was amazing to listen to it. It was four guys singing harmony. Not very well I will admit.

 But what did I know. Itchy's father called the local radio station in Fort Lauderdale and they said it was a recording from around 1900. I was excited. It meant it was a recording nearly 70 years old! Well it was nice to think that.

Well that was then, and now 40 years later I have that record, and I know what it is, and what age it is as well. It is from the 1950's. It is a homemade record of 4 guys singing barbershop harmony. Not too well I will admit. 

 But it was this record that started it all for me as a record collector. A record dredged up from Port Everglades. 


Perhaps the fellows listening to what they recorded, tossed the record into the harbor. Who knows, but since 1969 that record that was fun for us kids to look at has been a part of my collection. It is not worth anything, but it is a wonderful memory of my childhood.

I almost forgot it too, I was leaving Florida on February 14, 1970. I had brought the record to Mark (Itchy) Fletchers house and we did some fun stuff and his dad tried to study it. I took my bike and went home as we were to leave for New Jersey the next day. Both Mark and Jimmy came by and brought back that record to me. It was the last time I would ever see them. So when I do look at this record, I remember my friends from the past in Fort Lauderdale where this record changed my life.


This is that record that I forgot at Mark Fletchers house and he brought back to me with my friend Jimmy, on February 13, 1970. We all said goodbye and cried a little. I wonder how they are all doing today? I always think of them when ever I see this record. The record that started my obsession with the history of recorded sound.

I wish I could talk to those guys again. My friends from so long ago...I miss you

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