Elegy for my LPs
I pick up each record, study it, read the liner notes, slide the disc out of its sleeve, and finally thank them all—for providing joy and continuity as they followed me around the continent.
I need the space; they need a true audiophile to appreciate them. Half I received new, as a child. The rest I bought used, out of my meager student income: an eclectic collection of mostly classical music. All are black vinyl except one, smaller and translucent reddish-pink, the colour of the inside of a beet, fittingly quirky for Poulenc. I almost keep that one.
One is the size of a 45 RPM and the only one that does not preserve music. It records Albert Einstein: “The great scientific genius discussing the most controversial issue of our times, “The Use of Atomic Energy.” I realize I misremembered the title as “The Use and Misuse of Atomic Energy.” Embossed on the back: Rare Records Incorporated, Collector’s Item, Immortal Voices, History Making Events. It seems irreplaceable so I keep it.
The stack of LPs I donate kindles a memory of the autistic boy who followed me around at community orchestra rehearsals and concerts. I seemed to be the only adult there who talked to him and could see his musical soul.
I attach a note to each of the cases that hold the cold CDs containing hours of precious music in digital form. This gentle reminder reads: “Please handle this disc with care, dear, for it may have a tiny part of my musical soul burned into it.” The vinyl never felt cold.
Meg Freer grew up in Missoula, Montana and now lives in Kingston, Ontario. She has worked as an editor and currently teaches piano and music history. She enjoys being outdoors year-round, playing the piano and running. Her award-winning poems and photos have been published in various journals and anthologies.