Here I am, 15 years old, sitting on the floor in front of the new stereo Daddy bought for our family. I think this was earlier than Christmas as my sister Deb reminded me that the first albums bought for the new stereo were South Pacific and Flower Drum song as Daddy and Mama had seen the Broadway shows in Chicago recently.
But as my sisters and I were discussing on FaceBook, come December after the new stereo came to our home, our parents took us, as always, to downtown Nashville after dinner out to view all the store windows, especially to the beautiful Christmas ones at Cain-Sloans Department Store.
We went to the record department where you were allowed to play the albums in sound booths before purchasing them. And there we each got to choose a Christmas album.
Friends, this was a really big deal! Our parents were not extravagant but music was important to them and so they bought a piano when I was about ten years old and began piano lessons for us, beginning with me, the eldest.
By the way, that piano, a Gulbransen spinet, that came back to me after my little sisters grew up, was with us at our previous home, Valley View....
And now belongs to our granddaughters!
I must also include a picture of another tradition in Nashville as my sisters and I were growing up. Our parents always took us to the large Nativity Scene that was sculpted by Italian sculptor Guido Rebechini and displayed in front of Nashville's Parthenon, the world's only life sized replica of the Parthenon, built in 1897 as Nashville was called The Athens of the South. Inside the Parthenon is a 42 foot gilded sculpture of Athena. As you can imagine, Nashville's Athena has sometimes caused controversy in this city of a church every block or so.
But outside, from 1953 to 1967 was this glorious Nativity Scene that enthralled us as children when we joined the quiet crowds that went to experience its solemn beauty telling of the night of Christ's birth, Christmas carols playing softly on loudspeakers.
I begin listening to Christmas music the first day of November and don't pack my albums away until February. I'm old school and like to handle my albums. I tried music via Pandora a decade ago when my kids set me up with it but after a few weeks went back to my CD albums, wishing that we had never gotten rid of our stereo and LPs a long time ago.
I love it that two of our kids have now gone back to collecting and playing LPs. How about you? How do you get your music now? Those of you who celebrate Christmas, when do you start listenting to it?