Hour 17 – The Victrola

The Victrola

My Father’s job took him from farm to farm
Sometimes he came across treasures tucked away in barns

One day he brought home a cabinet Victrola
Four feet across and standing on spindly legs,
it boasted two compartments for records
and a front panel that could be slid away to reveal the horn
But the magic happened when you lifted the lid

Here, in a velvet lined compartment, lived the turntable
A lever underneath it controlled the speed
Next to that, a small built-in dish held spare needles –
some made of steel and some made of wood
We learned to lift the arm and replace the needles often,
especially the wooden ones, which didn’t last long

Before a record could be played
someone volunteered to turn the crank
At first, we worried it could be over-wound
But a resistance built up as you cranked,
so the last go rounds were slow and hard

Somewhere we found a stash of records
big heavy 12-inch disks
that withstood a steel needle’s abuse
We listened to Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey,
Fess Williams and his Royal Flush Orchestra
and many, many more a lot less famous

When the power went out
and TV, radio, and high-fi were of no use to us
we’d open up the Victrola
An ordinary cabinet revealing its secret self
like an enormous pop-up book unfolding
and play the records at half speed for a laugh
searching out the silliest lyrics
each discovering a favorite or two

Our Victrola – a little trip into the past

One thought on “Hour 17 – The Victrola

  1. What a wonderful journey into the past – your description draws me into your sense of discovery and understanding of this incredible object from past days – and it’s so clear the enjoyment that you received from this. What a beautiful memory!

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