Thursday, June 16, 2016

Throwback Thursday - "The Frame Shop Stereo"

TBT - "The Frame Shop Stereo"

It was the mid-90s, and I was working with my brother Peter at a frame shop and art gallery down in Greenwich, CT. The framing work rooms were down in the basement. No windows... no natural light... just a cave-like atmosphere where we'd spend 8 hours or more each day.
We had an old stereo... but it sucked. The turntable didn't work. The tape deck would occasionally start eating your cassette. The radio was only able to get a few stations... and the speakers were horrible and crackled a lot. There wasn't a CD player at all.
So Peter came up with this idea... we'd each chip in some money and buy a new stereo. It needed to have a CD player... a tape deck that wouldn't eat tapes... and a radio that could at least get the Howard Stern show each morning. So, that's what we did. Peter found a stereo in a catalog... made sure we were all OK with that choice... then we all split the cost and he ordered the thing.
The new stereo was wonderful! The tuner actually got a lot of stations nice and clear. The tape deck worked beautifully... and not only did it play CDs, it was a 3-CD changer. The speakers sounded great - but we actually ended up splicing in four other speakers, so there were six of them spread across the room. The sound was a beautiful thing!
We played everything from Aerosmith to Zappa - and everything in between. The most heavily-played albums were definitely James Brown... but we'd listen to everything. One minute we'd be listening to Depeche Mode... the next minute it was a comedy CD by The Jerky Boys. That might be followed by some Miles Davis, which would somehow lead to Sublime or Bob Marley or something.
I remember many nights during the holiday season, staying late to catch up on orders - as the sound of Maceo Parker's sax absolutely filled the room.
The deal we had was that if/when any of us stopped working there, they'd forfeit their claim to the stereo... and whoever was the last one there could either take it with them or leave it. Peter was the last one there... and, because I never saw the stereo again, I always assumed he had just left it there when he moved on.
That was the case until a few weeks ago. I was helping my sister-in-law go through things in the garage and there, hidden away on a shelf at the back of the garage, was the stereo. I was shocked... and sooooo many happy memories came flooding through my mind. The next thing I know the stereo is in the back of my car and coming home with me.
The tape deck eats tapes now... the CD changer doesn't change CDs so well... but the tuner still gets a nice clear signal and the speakers still sound great. So now the stereo sits in my son's room. He doesn't use CDs or cassettes anyway - so just having the FM tuner is enough for him... and I think we can set it up to hook his iPod up to it too.
It's just one more "blast from the past", a happy memory of what once was. A happy memory that will ALWAYS be in my mind and in my heart!
Now if you'll excuse me, I think I have to go blast some Maceo!
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