The radio on my boyhood dresser was an old tabletop model with tubes.
The top was cracked and at high volume, the busted brown plastic made
it screech. My father got it when a great-aunt died i think, and it
looked like the type of thing you would get at a junkyard. It was the
greatest treasure he ever gave me. For with that radio he opened a new
world that was hard to forget. As a ten year old the sounds that came
out of that cracked jewel on my dresser changed my world. The Everly
brothers, the Righteous Brothers, Simon and Garfunkle,Marvin Gaye came
pouring out of that box like Angels from heaven. I had discovered music
that my parents did not listen to. Sure my older brother and sister
played their records and listened to their radios, BUT, THIS WAS MY
RADIO,and no one was going to tell me what to listen to anymore. Elvis
was the other generation and when i heard She Loves You by the Beatles
and the first scream by my Dad and Mom to TURN IT DOWN i knew i had
found my calling. Music,MY MUSIC, would be my salvation, it would set
me free and make me different from my big brother and sister,it would
allow me to define myself and create a world that i could call my own.
It was CHUM,CHAM,CKWR,CFTR, all radio stations playing MY music. The
Beatles, the Monkees, Neil Diamond, songs like Louie Louie, Gloria,
Satisfaction,Go all the way and Moondance would be my break from
reality. I could drift away in a Rock and Roll Lullabye. And as the
’60s morphed into the ’70s, music defined my teenage years. Pink
Floyd,Led Zeepelin and Rush may have replaced the Doors, the Beatles
and Simon and Garfunkle, but that radio, even though long gone,still
held in my soul a very special place. Now in 2006 and i am listening to
my CD’s on my surround sound system, i still think back to that night
when i first turned on that radio in 1967 and the strange noise began
to emerge from that box. The voice sounded so sad,the sound so rich,
the melody’s so tight i was dumstruck by it all”You’ve lost that loving
feelin”. I can tell you i have never lost that loving feeling for the
world of music. All thanks to my Father and that old cracked music box.
Somewhere out in the stratosphere and the cosmos an old radio is
playing”bring it on back,baby please, brink back that loving feeling”
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As I sit here pondering life’s many challenges I think of family and it’s role in our lives. When we are young Mom and Dad along with our Grandparents, brothers and Sisters, Aunts,Uncles and Cousins are probably the most important things in our lives and are of course our first family that we know.They are our support group and our sounding boards, our tree to lean on and to learn from. But as we hit our school years things begin to change and our friends slowly replace the more distant members of our family and we turn to them for our wants and needs a little at a time. As we hit High School a whole new family unit has been formed in our lives, We play, we party and we confess our crimes and misdemeanors to each other, we have girl or boy friends and a whole new family again has been formed. As we got into our late teens and early twenties many friends and lovers have gone on to college, work or just vanished from your life, perhaps your Grandparents have passed on and your cousins now have their own lives in other towns and city’s and again your family has changed. Your family now may be the people you work with and the few friends that are still around, you seem to be separated from your siblings a little more and while you always expect your parents to be there you tend to drift just a little. And all of a sudden you have a new family unit to worry about as you have gotten married, had children and you go on with the daily struggles of life and you have narrowed what is considered your family. But time has a way of changing things and as you hit your 50’s your views on family start to change again and you are back to the beginning but now many of your immediate family are gone, friends have passed on and you turn to whats left of your first family and they become the most important thing in your life once again. It doesn’t matter what war is being fought, how much your City is spending on a theatre project, who will win an election because in the end you know you have done the best you can and you just want to hold your family tight because in the end they are your first and your last, because they are You and you have come full circle.
This article i placed on this site last year, so excuse me for doing it again this year, but for Remembrance Day i felt it was appropriate
I never met my Uncle Bruce. My Mothers older brother was killed in action in the summer of 1944 but his name and memory still live on in our family and like many of this city’s veterans a street here in Hespeler carries the family name.
And like many of the boy’s that were serving over seas, letters were a very important part of their lives. The following is the contents of a letter that my Mother received from her brother on August 20th 1944 and had been mailed on August 9th 1944. what made this letter poignant was the fact that on August 14th 1944 Uncle Bruce was killed in action, This was the last communication that the family ever received from him. This letter is word for word what was written by him, spelling mistakes and all.
Hya squirt,how are yuh? I don’t know why i’m writing, i can’t think of anything to write about but mush. Say hello anyhoo, so here i am sitting nice and comfortable like, in my slit trench, swatting mosquito’s killin ants and things and writing all at the same time, cripes a guy needs about four hands for this job. It’s not a bad sort of a day though-at least it ain’t raining. An enormous big bee just flew in, stopped in mid air like a helicopter somewhere in the vicinity of my schnozzle and stared at me in the face like as if he was trying to make up his mind. However, he apparently didn’t like the looks of my ugly pan so he spread out his four or five inches of wings and flew away. I am still cross eyed from looking down my nose at the brute.
How are all the boy friends, or have you found one steady one? Cripes i haven’t even been out with a gal since about March, Gee soon i’ll be losing my Hespeler technique, what little there is left. Are you still at the same job and still doing the same thing sitting at a desk, writing letters to your boy friends? That must be a pretty fair job. You even use the company paper i notice, you crook. Well yesterday i received letters from Grace,Mother, Alec,George Oliver and a girl and her Mother and Sister in England, and a parcel from Grace as well. So i did okay for one day, didn’t i?All i gotta do now is answer them and boy, thats a job. Well Mim ole dear, must scram for now, so bye for this time, hope to see you soon, but hear from you sooner.
Your Big Brudder Brucie.
B85416 Gnr Bruce McLaughlin
12th Cdn fld regiment
Canadian Army Overseas
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