While rummaging around Funky Junky in Kensington Market, I came across a thing that immediately shot me back to being 11 years old. A time when all I had to worry about were leeches and just how much longer I could stay in the water before the sun went down. A time filled with wind in the trees, a-frame tents made out of musty wool blankets strung up between two trees, of chasing frogs and raspberry picking at 8am in the morning. Yes, I’m talking about our summer cottage.
The thing that transported me back? My father’s coveted 8 track player. Space aged white in a pill shape. Plenty of buttons to mess with, it looked like something that fell out of the ass of the set dresser for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Tucked in the back of the shop was the exact model that Dad had sitting in his bedroom. The unit came with oblong pill-shaped speakers that Dad had placed up on the tops of the divider walls so the entire cottage could hear his music. Our cottage was very short on audible privacy since the walls didn’t go all the way up. 5 silent kids “sleeping” would be shattered by one of us farting. Hilarity ensued.
I guess at one point I was so enamoured with the buttons and sliders that I can clearly remember being admonished for touching them at one point. Dad set down the law: YOU DO NOT TOUCH THIS RADIO AT ALL. An edict that I obeyed to the letter.
One summer day, Dad took the 2-seater sailboat out onto the lake, leaving me behind in the cottage to fend for myself. But he left with Neil Diamond playing in the 8 track. And for you younglings, 8 track players are a continuous audio system. Once started, the only way to shut off the music is to eject the cartridge. Or an atomic blast to melt the various plastic parts. Regardless, I was caught in a logic loop: unable to touch the player, unable to stray far from the cottage. After the third playing of Forever In Blue Jeans I was ready to slice off my ears for relief.
I decided to take matters into my own hands. I strolled into the bedroom and slid the volume controls to zero. I had only slightly disobeyed his orders. I felt smart!
I don’t recall if I caught hell for that. But I do remember that radio/player. Seeing it last weekend was like seeing an old acquaintance across a crowded room.