For the Love of a Monkey Pie

So, Todd and I listen to a lot of music in the car, and after a while, the kids will pick out songs that they really like. Remember when you were a kid, and you had a “phonograph” (at least, that’s what my family called it) and you played things over and over? For me, it was this little red and white-striped box that held a record player inside. You could fold up the box and carry the thing around. It was in our playroom forever. Even before that, my parents had a record player. It was actually a record player and an Am/FM stereo in a HUGE cabinet. You raised the lid and the stereo was inside. Awesome. It was in the living room, and one of my earliest memories is listening to one of those K-Tel compilations that had Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” on it. Played it over and over and danced in the living room. Later, in the playroom, i would play some of my albums (Macho Duck and the Jungle Book. specifically), but more often than not, I would play my parents albums (and later 8-tracks). I really remember listening to The Every Brothers Greatest Hits, Buddy Holly,  and The Beach Boys a lot. On 8-track, Linda Rondstadt was a fave. Bay City Rollers. The Eagles’ Hotel California. Elvis, Elvis and more Elvis. My mom loved her some Elvis. She was even a fan club member back in the day. (Membership card here.)I remember hearing Suspicious Minds all the time! I remember the day Elvis died, too. I came inside – had been out playing, and mom was sitting in the den blaring Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel, and sobbing with tissues in her hand. Yes, my first experience with death and grieving was Mom mourning Elvis.

Another vivid childhood memory was Saturday mornings. My dad would put on Otis Redding, or some Stax/Volt compilations and do housework. I can remember Dock of the Bay being on, and then the sound of the 60s vacuum coming on, and shrieking as I jumped up on the couch to avoid the vacuum getting me; Cecil did not watch out for toes. Other important childhood albums: Dylan’s self-titled “Bob Dylan” with my mom’s friends writing all over it: “Virgin” for my mother’s name, Virginia. A bunch of Beatles and Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the aforementioned Stax stuff, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. Hank Williams. Hank Williams, Jr. (also my first concert), a ton of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Sure, there was some crap: Abba, for instance. But mostly it was great stuff.

Where am I going with this? Well, i think back fondly on a lot of that stuff that I heard growing up. Especially now that my kids are inundated by media, and constantly singing some Barney shit, or wanting us to buy them Diego albums or whatever. So, we still try to listen to our stuff and hope the kids like it. And most of the time, they do have favorites emerge. Every few months or so, we will make them a playlist and now both kids have their own CD player in their rooms. They will play for hours and listen to music and sing in their rooms. I think this is awesome, because then I can also play somewhere else in the house without being bothered by the little pests.

So, Todd made them a cd a few days ago. Some of the stuff they like includes The Cure, Dr. Dog, The Ramones (Tiller knows most of the words to “Blitzkrieg Bop,” which is just funny), and their current absolute favorite is The New Pornographers’ “Letter from an Occupant.” Tiller makes up her own words and her version included a lyric that instead of the “Letter from an Occupant” line, sounds something like “For the love of a Monkey Pie,” which let’s face it, probably makes as much if not more sense.

You are probably asking yourself, “Does she really let her kids listen to a band with the word ‘pornographer’ in their name?” Why, yes. Yes, she does. Because kids never ask the meaning of words, they just like to say them. Rollie gets it right, and Tiller insists on calling them the New Photographers, which makes me laugh, and pisses Rollie off, which is always funny. We gang up on him and call things by the wrong names and he throws tantrums and we laugh at him.

We don’t get out much.

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6 comments

  • we had an 8 track growing up. greatest hits collections by the eagles, willie nelson, simon and garfunkel, linda rondstat, jim crochie, elvis, ccr, jerry jeff walker, and the ever popular urban cowboy soundtrack. it was a pretty good mix of “modern popular” music and a great basis for why i love music so much. it was fun having the stack of 8 tracks, putting them into the machine, turning up the “hi-fi”. of course today my parents have graduated to an ipod and we have three of them now. it was fun collecting records, cassettes, and cd’s but i much prefer the ease of the itunes.

  • Sounds like similar stuff, SP. I miss the collecting of cds, records, cassettes. I miss the smell and the covers. I have some really favorite albums now that I don’t even know what the cover of them looks like!

    That being said, i love playlists. The organizational opportunities are sick!

  • Letter from An Occupant is the girls #2 song right after Bleeding Heart Show!!!! They can all sing and “oooooh” together

    Speaking of vinyl, although the girls love a good iPod mix (my style) Scott is teaching them a high level of respect for the vinyl– how to hold, clean and play. Thankfully they SEEM to enjoy it for now. Perhaps it will stick with them. But likely they’ll be slaves to the technology as well.

    Their tinkerbell CD player has an AUX output– just right for plugging in that Mp3 player. hard to avoid!

  • I love this post. My memories too. I had to laugh when you mentioned dad vacuuming…I had forgotten that!

    Something else totally unrelated to post about dad…sitting in the den in his neck harness, shining his shoes on sunday nights watching 60 minutes!

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