Girl, Put Your Records On

As far back as I can remember, our house has always been full of music.  I remember waking up to my sister's piano playing on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  And I remember listening to records with my parents as they drank wine late into the night.  When I was three, I broke my head on a table while dancing to 'Chariots of Fire.'  If you look closely the scar is still on my forehead.  When we weren't home, we took our music with us, playing everything from Depeche Mode to James Galway on our annual cross country road trips.  

It goes without saying then, that in our home you'll always find shelves lined with CDs and cassettes, but it's the records I usually end up missing the most.  This time when visiting home, I was sad to find that many of them were falling into disrepair... their brittle and yellowed album covers tearing and flaking away to dust.  That's when I took it upon myself to find a way to protect them from further damage.  I decided that protective plastic sleeves were the way to go but wasn't sure about where to find such things in Korea.  


Thanks to a post by "Two Crude Man Dudes" we were able to find an enclave of used record stores at Yongsan's ET Land and fortunately, one of the stores there sold plastic outer and inner sleeves for a reasonable price.  We came home with 100 outer plastic sleeves and 40 inner sleeves that day, only to find that it wasn't quite enough to cover the pop albums.  About two weeks, two additional trips, and nearly 300 sleeves later, the final sleeve was finally placed on the final record. 

Going through my parents' old record albums was not only like taking a journey through time but their lives.  For his first several albums, my father numbered them in the order they were bought... and from that, I could piece together the humble beginnings of his now massive collection.  In most cases, my father could remember where and how he bought each of them... "we biked to Tower Records before closing"... "I heard this one playing at the record shop..."  And through his stories I learned about "cutting records" and when he got his first stereo.  For the ones without stories, we were left to stitch together whatever clues we could find with our imaginations...a price tag on the cover, titles starred and circled, scratches on the vinyl... 

As one can guess, my parents' record collection is far from being in mint condition.  It has certainly been well used and well loved.  There are the stains and scratches to prove it.  I have no idea what they'd fetch on the market, but to me, they're invaluable and irreplaceable.  I think my sister said it best: when asked what she'd save if our house caught on fire, she said she'd go back at all costs for our records. 





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