My family had one of those big wooden “console stereos” from the sixties with the sliding top that held the Perry Como and Andy Williams records on one side and had a turntable on the other. It lived in the fancy, “just for company” living room under the picture window. It weighed a ton, but we moved it down to the end of the wall every year so that our Christmas tree could be centered in front of the window and be seen by the neighbors, sparkling hazily from behind the window sheers. It got a little beat up in the process, but at least it was conveniently located so that we could change out the Christmas carols as we drank our non-alcoholic egg nog and admired our tinsel-laden tree.
But there was another record player that we weren’t allowed to touch. It was a 1953 Firestone Portable Radio and Record Player, and it was my mother’s first major purchase, paid for with her small paycheck from her first job, the summer after high school. And here it is…
Front view, open.
Side view, closed.
Side view, open.
This blast from the past would be brought out when my mother was feeling nostalgic, and we would have a ball listening to her records from the fifties. The record you see on the turntable is Elvis’s “Mystery Train” on the Sun label that I told you about here. Thus I was introduced to rock ‘n roll in a fun way as a tiny tot – it was a special time when the Firestone would come out. I’ve always had a particularly warm and fuzzy love for the music of the fifties, as you know if you recall the doo wop post, and I guess this may be why, now that I think of it. It’s a shame that the music of that era is not played much anymore – not even on the oldies station.
Mama, The Fifties Girl.
Here’s another record Mama bought in 1954, which we still have – LaVern Baker’s “Tweedlee Dee”. Definitely one of the “anthems of my childhood”. Tweedlee tweedlee tweedlee dee, I’m as happy as can be…
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