The Stuff Family Legend is Made of

Family = never, ever forgetting.  Certain stories that is.  Every family has that lore that becomes a staple during get-togethers.  With a sprinkle of embellishment from time to time.

Case in point:

In my family, there is a certain family-legend still circulating after thirty-some-odd years.  Years ago, pre-mp3, pre-CD even, the best technology for listening to music was the cassette tape.  For those of you born post-1985, a cassette tape was a means of listening to music or recordings.   Tiny little magnetic bars lined themselves on the tape.  When ran through a tape player, the miracle of recorded sound was heard.  Unlike today’s technology of digital which is non-linear, tape was linear.  It all comes down to this, if something was recorded over, the original recording was lost for-EVer.  No undo button.  No hard drive for back-up.  It was just gone.  Gone.  Gone.  As if in deleted with no recycle bin.

Meanwhile, during this era of primitive linear technology, Debby Boone’s song “You Light Up My Life” was released.  The song’s release falls under the “right time, right place” category.  It became one of those pop phenomena’s that can’t really be explained later (Macarena, anyone?).  It was popular enough to enamor 11 year old boys.  Okay, I can’t speak for all the eleven-ish old boys at the time, but I can speak for one.  As hard as it may be to believe now, Ms. Boone’s rendition was beloved enough for that 11 year old boy to sit by the radio for “hours” (according to him) waiting for the song to come on so that he could record it.  I should mention this was also in the time of pre-singles.  At this time, if a person wanted a song, he or she had to buy the whole record (yes, an actual record) or tape.  Our eleven year old boy in this particular scene didn’t have the cash flow to make such a purchase.  So, he resorted to the alternative.  He listened to the radio diligently with a tape-recorder near-by with his little fingers on the record-play button.   Patiently, he waited for the song to be played so that he could record it.  Don’t feel too sorry for him, though, this is his version of the story.  Insert embellishment here while I insert my eye-roll.

Finally, after some time, he got his recording.  “You Light Up My Life,” was his very own. Too bad the phone-camera was a thing of the future.  As it is, I can only imagine the hours he spent lip-synching to it while practicing his moves in the mirror.  Ah, to be a military surveillance bug on the wall!

There is something alluring about an older sibling’s room.  Especially when the inhabitant is not around.  Like say, when he is at a friend’s.  Or at school.  Everything in the room seems more attractive and just better than what you have access to in your room as a little sister.  Even the bed seems more appealing.  A bed spread isn’t just a bed spread in an older sister’s room, it’s the best bed spread ever!  And how about all those nifty toys in big brother’s room?  Those shiny toys just calling out for somebody to play with them.

So, how could a four year old little sister help herself?  Wouldn’t you agree that she’d have to, if the opportunity presented itself, go into that captivating room and investigate?  Yes, she would.  And yes, she did.

Apparently.  At least, that’s how the family-lore goes that my brother tells so often.  How does he know?

Apparently, the shiniest toy he had in his room one day was a tape-recorder with a blank tape inside.  It wasn’t actually blank.  It was the tape he spent hours waiting for “You Light Up My Life” with.  And probably the tape that I imagine him listening to while practicing his dance moves in front of the mirror.

Picture his horror and extreme displeasure when he decides to listen to it one day and in the middle of the song hears, “This is Booooogie-man, Corina!” interrupting.  Remember, tapes are linear.  So anything recorded replaces the original recording.  His song was ruined.

My side of the story:  I wanted to either be a DJ or a mail-lady when I grew up.  If I was going to be a DJ, I needed to practice.  Evidently, I’ve always been smitten with the sound of my own voice.  It should have been “This is Wolf-Man, Corina!”  A nod to the Wolfman Jack a very popular DJ at the time.  But, going by the date the song was released, I was only four.  Maybe five.  Just a little girl, anyway.  It’s quite possible I was a little confused.

As a token of peace, well, more along the lines of in an effort to silence the story, I gave my brother a copy of “You Light Up My Life” for Christmas two years ago.  I don’t think he’s ever listened to it since that day when I made him.

I learned a lesson from all this.  Not the obvious message of not messing with other people’s stuff or respecting someone’s privacy.  Blah, blah, blah.  The moral of this story that I remembered after all these years is this:  If you go through somebody’s room, do not – and I can’t stress this enough – do not leave a calling card.  You will not hear the end of it.  EV-er.


8 thoughts on “The Stuff Family Legend is Made of

  1. I know he must have died. Just like if someone recorded over those Get Smart tapes I made of the show. LOL

    you are so right about family stories taking on a life of their own tho. So true!

  2. Yes, we have a lot of family stories. And since nobody in my family reads my blog – they are all fair game. MY VERSION (which doesn’t happen very often since I’m not the oldest).
    My mom even bought him the record to keep peace. I wonder how many times he actually listened to it???

  3. I love how the stories take on a whole new life. Especially when a creative person is telling it. I just sit there shaking my head when they do. 😀

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