I recall working from a pad of white paper, perhaps 16 lb or so, often with silky carbon paper nearby. I owned a Smith Corona portable, blue bottom, beige sides, and so often abused by me over the years as I struggled typing my stories that I had to have the letter “e” resoldered on to the key more than once. I wish I had kept that apparatus, for I do miss the inserting of a snow white page and advancing the knob on the right side so that it grabbed and came out on the other side of the roller all ready and willing to be impressed upon my thought-fury. Old typewriters, the really old ones, have a curio-like appeal to me much like old Kodaks, Yashicas, Mirandas, Canons and Konicas. They are the detritus of advancing change; once apocalyptic advances themselves they are mere relics now. More mechanical than digital, they did allow for more trouble-shooting manually and not by software. In other words, I did not feel helpless around them. If a new car breaks down, you can’t adjust the carburetor for it no longer exists; the car needs to be towed off. Since I am here for some decades, I feel the loss more than if I lived for hundreds of years. Change is abrupt and that which I relished, savored and enjoyed has passed by except for the reminiscences.
Allow me to share a reverie about my stereo equipment which I owned more than30 years ago. I remember saving up for an AR turntable and paid $78 for it new. I wanted a manual turntable for I was not too tired to get off the couch and place the arm on to a new record. Even then this was viewed, except by stereophiles, as quaint if not archaic. I did not want my records to flop down upon one another if I used a changer. You see, I cherished the entire process of selecting an album, removing the record, taking off the sleeve, holding the vinyl carefully about its circumference so that I could “flip” it to choose the side to play; that is a lost nuance, is it not? And on the back were the lyrics of the songs therein, easy to read, to memorize, unlike todays CDs. The record was contained in its sleeve with a cellophane circle in its center revealing the musician, orchestra, and the side that was to be played ; I always found classic records to be handsome about this production.
With the manual turntable I invested deeply in an AR acoustic research receiver. Here I deviated, for if I had the money I would have purchased individual components — pre-amp, amp and speakers. It was a hobby of mine and one that I never completed, much like the train set that never ends. I recall reading the magazines of the day, savoring this and that component and the adversity and the challenge of not having the cash for these delectables did not defeat me but only made me more dogged in having a decent or good system one day, for I was in my 30s, married, with children and had much more time for waiting and hoping than I do now. In my closet now are n gauge trains I have purchased off EBay and track that in my fantasy will someday run in my office on a small table with, perhaps, a desert vista. What I am sharing with you is that the fantasy of completing the train set is as powerful as eventually having it; I suppose that is to say that the present wishes are, for me, as strong as the reality of attaining them. What shall I say, I persevere, the second tortoise behind the first. The turntable and a class A receiver were my gold but I had shit speakers (adversity) and for several years I struggled toward that end.
Eventually I bought a pre-amp and an amp by Dynaco, I think, and a CD player thus avoiding a turntable as I transistioned to the new changes about me. I sold or gave away, perhaps I even junked the treasured receiver, and went on. Many years later I saw my receiver which had a golden surface with all kinds of knobs that filled the hand in a second hand store upstate New York. The dealer was selling the receiver for about $400 then, about the price it was when new. And that made me rue what I had done; for change shufled aside what could have been a wiser choice, just to stow it away. I didn’t do that with my 1965 Mustang convertible, either. Who knew? East of this monitor is a Onkyo CD player with good speakers that I have on but rarely use. I think I may regress one day and seek out a turnatable, etc and start all over with records again. I choose to have a second childhood. I miss the process, the tactility of it, oh, the human touch of it all. I am that kind of person.
So, a 1965 gold Mustang convertible, a manual, AR equipment, the class turntable of that time, and an old Smith Corona typewriter are all gone. I am gone as well, all the years lived, unwisely spent, being unaware and not awake, leave me desolate in places for what could have been was not even imagined much less envisioned and there is no saying that I will be any wiser in the persent or in the future. Perhaps we should all have as our epitaph: “GONE.”