Today would have been my mother’s 84th birthday. She died in February 2012. She put me in a troubled youth/adoption home (Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden, Utah; picture at right) in 1965, which is how my wise old grandmother (my dad’s mom) came to adopt me. I was one of Utah’s greatest juvenile delinquents, and without my mother’s action, I’m pretty sure I would be dead at the hands of a Utah police officer or spending life in prison. I was that bad. So I thank my mother for that. I also had only seen my mother twice since 1965, once in 1968 and once in 1998, but in her elderly years she did start sending me birthday and Christmas cards.
The only other thing I thank my mother for is my interest in music. At one time she was a piano and organ accompanist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She taught me piano beginning at age two, and when I enrolled in first grade, she required me to take up another instrument; I chose violin.
After my wise old grandmother adopted me and moved me from Brigham City, Utah, to Kingsville, Texas (where I had been born), I continued playing the violin but had to give up the piano. We were too poor to afford a piano; violins were much less expensive.
For Christmas in 1970, my wise old grandmother gave me a reel-to-reel tape recorder. Actually, I think Santa Claus left it for me, but Santa Claus is a fairy tale just like the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God…. all fairy tales. The tape recorder sparked my interest in collecting music. By March 1971, I had recorded from radio all the Top 40 hits. My collecting was in full swing.
I mention March 1971 because that was my sixteenth birthday. While most of my friends were getting cars or driver’s licenses for their sixteenth birthdays, I got a stereo record player and three records: “Ram” by Paul & Linda McCartney, “Black Sabbath Vol. IV” by Black Sabbath, and “The Best of The Beach Boys, Vol. I” by The Beach Boys.
Since I listen to my music collection in chronological order, I listened to those three albums (and several dozen others!) this past weekend. Here is a song from each album:
“Dear Boy” by Paul & Linda McCartney
“Changes” by Black Sabbath
(not a typical heavy metal song!)
“Fun, Fun, Fun” by The Beach Boys
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