Last weekend after months of procrastination I finally got around to cleaning and organizing my little tool room. It was a real mess and I just couldn’t put it off any longer. The workbench was piled high with tools and other junk that need to be gone through, sorted, thrown out or just put away. The floor was pretty much the same. It took me much longer than I anticipated. I started around 10AM and thought I’d be done by two, in time to get myself cleaned up and tohead over to the local AMC and catch a movie. Well that never happened. What started out as just a simple cleaning turned into a total reorganization of the tool room. I took just about everything out and started back at square one. By 4:30PM I was tired and hungry, so with maybe 80% of the job done, I decided to call it a day.
I sat there in the tool room polishing off a cold one admiring my work and was feeling very satisfied with myself. The result was amazing, not only was the room clean, but by moving things around I’d been able to bring in an additional storage cabinet and still managed to gain some much needed space. My only concern was that on Sunday I wouldn’t pick up where I left off and the room wouldn’t get finished until sometime in the summer. But Sunday came and I was right there back at it. All that really remained was to sort through a couple of crates and a bunch of stuff I’d piled onto a card table on Saturday. I turned on some music and jumped right in.
In one of the crates I discovered a slew of old cassette tapes. Many were unmarked so I decided to make sorting through them the last task of the day. It took me a couple of hours to sort through the stuff in the other crate and all the things on the card table. I kept some items but most it ended up in the trash. With that finished I retrieved an old Sony boom box with a built in cassette player from the garage, sat at the workbench and began going through the tapes. There must have been close to a couple of hundred tapes. Those with labels I arranged alphabetically and found a nice location on top of one of the cabinets where I could store them until I had a chance to copy some of them to my hard drive. Those without labels nine in all, were old TDK and Maxell 90 minute tapes that I had recorded sometime back in the day. I stacked them on the workbench beside the boom box so I could check them out.
Grabbing a beer from the fridge I sat down in the tool room ready to do a little exploring, anxious to find out what gems might be found on the unmarked tapes. Believe me, I was not disappointed. I was delighted with what I found and actually felt like I had stumbled upon old buried treasure. The very first tape I played contained two albums from the early 70’s by Batdorf & Rodney, real gold! I sat there time tripping on songs like “Home Again,” “By today” and “Life is You.” They really brought back some great memories. I marked the tape and went on. The next tape was blank and the third had an assortment of 60’s music, good stuff but nothing rare. The next tape I put on was a very in depth study guide I had created for a California History class I had taken back in 87. I listened to it a bit then moved on. The fifth tape was another blank, while the sixth contained a collection of Bob Dylan music on one side and the Doors on the other. Donovan and Moody blues filled the next tape. Again, both held good music but nothing really special.
It was on the 7th tape that I discovered real gold! A treasure trove of songs I’d long forgotten even existed. On the tape were four songs recorded live back in the early70’s when I was a member of the church group Shalom, at an event we called the “House of Wonder” held in the church hall. What a flashback there we were, Larry, Don and John performing at the House of Wonder. The sound quality was a little fuzzy but bad. Yeah that was an incredible night. The three of us did “He was a Friend of Mine” a song about the death of JFK and three original songs, “A true Friend Will come My Way” “Blind Man” and “SFR”(Song for Raylene) written for and about my then fiance and future wife. I could hardly believe my luck! I hadn’t heard us performing those songs in forever. Talk about memory overload, thoughts were flooding my mind. I nearly felt like crying as I sat there listening. I really hope I can clean up the sound a bit. What an incredible find! And it just kept getting better.
A little further on the tape were a couple of songs I’d written and recorded one of which I barely remembered. But the real gem came after the two songs. It was a recording of my friends Bob and Barbara also of Shalom doing a song called “Garden Girl” I hadn’t heard the song in nearly 40 years! It was great to hear Bob’s guitar and the two of them singing. Again I was hit with a ton of fond memories.
Flipping the tape over I made an even more startling discovery. When we got married a friend of mine recorded it for us. I’d long thought that that tape had been destroyed long ago. Imagine my surprise when I suddenly heard Shalom playing and my good buddy Larry singing the Led Zeppelin song “Thank You” at our wedding! I was shocked! I really didn’t think any copies still existed. Although it is not a recording of our complete wedding, there are three songs from our wedding on it. “Thank You,” “All the Life” a song written by Bob and I and “Forest Song” written by Bob. I was blown away! As I listened I was moved to tears. That was a truly incredible day. The first day of the rest of our lives.
Finding this tape now as our 40th wedding anniversary draws near is both strange and wonderful at the same time. This tape is a piece of our history, a record of our wedding day. Although it isn’t a complete recording, this small portion is quite satisfying. Listening to the songs we chose to have played that day by Shalom and the rich meaning of the lyrics says so much about the love we felt for one another on that special day and of our outlook for a our future together. I truly believe I was meant to find it now all these years later, to not only serve as a reminder of our love and commitment to one another but to rekindle that loving feeling that may have eroded some with the passing years. I truly made a gold strike in finding this tape. This tape and its contents are priceless.
Just a Thought…