As some of you may know, I love music. But what you may not know is that I was more upset to leave behind my extensive record collection than I was to leave my family.
Well, not really, but almost!
Moving from England to California, I was only able to bring 2 suitcases with me, and then I shipped 7 boxes later. Two of those boxes contained my 400+ CDs. My precious collection of vinyl records I had to leave behind. I couldn’t bear to part with them so I snuck them into my brother-in-law’s storage container in England, along with rather too much of my other belongings that I also found too hard to give up.
For 2 years they collected dust and then, when we went over to visit, he gently requested I clear him some space.
My mum, a friend, Bug and I emptied the entire container (because, of course, all my stuff was neatly stacked at the very back) and then, while the rain gently splattered us, Mum and I delved through all my stuff, ruthlessly put 90% if it in the back of her car and drove, many times, to the local charity shop.
Why did I think I would want those chipped, Spanish pottery bowls brought back from many holidays? How on earth would I ever be able to ship my favourite oak dining table and chairs, around which we had had so many wonderful, funny meals? When would I ever have time to go through all 20 boxes of photographs (and I mean, big packing boxes, each containing hundreds of photos)?
Finally, I came across the box containing all my old vinyl records. The iconic albums of my schoolgirl era, such as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and Rod Stewart’s Atlantic Crossing (I am embarrassed to admit there was a Bay City Rollers LP lurking in there too). The 12” single collection of funk and soul that I was really into during my late teens at college, such as Lonnie Liston Smith, Grover Washington Jr and The Commodores. The disco years of my early twenties: Chic, Earth Wind & Fire and Rose Royce. I could go on. There were so many, and they all meant so much to me, each reminding me of a different time in my life. I really, really did not want to give them up.
But I knew I had to. It was time.
In my vanity I thought, because I have such fabulous taste in music, they would be worth a bit of money so at least if I had to get rid of them, there would be some payback.
I was sorely mistaken.
The very nice man in second hand record shop flipped through them and then handed them back, saying he wouldn’t be able to get anything for most of them as they weren’t currently in demand.
Weren’t in demand? How could he say that? Did he realise what he was looking at? These were iconic artists! They were my childhood, my puberty and my party years, all in one box. He must be mad!
Sadly, he turned me away and I walked next door to the charity shop and lovingly laid the box at their back door.
I am not sure my Mum understood the tear trickling down my cheek. “They’re only old records, Claire,” she said soothingly. “You don’t even have anything to play them on and you can’t very well take them back on the plane with you.”
She was right but that didn’t make it any easier. Just like how distressing it was to give up my beloved two cats, even though I knew they were going to a wonderful new life with one of my best friends.
Some of those records were like my best friends. In fact, I’d probably known some of them longer than most of my friends!
They’d seen me through good times, bad times, sad times and happy times.
I was going to miss them.