Every year as the New Year approaches, I think about all the ways I want to change – you know, resolutions and all – and I decided 2011 would the year of the clean and organized closet. I delved into it’s depths with a bucket of hot water and Murphy’s Oil Soap ready to get down to business when I found a Velveeta box full of Dave’s old cassette tapes.
I immediately halted Operation Closet Cleanse, grabbed the girl’s Dora the Explorer boom box and called for my husband. He stomped up the stairs and I eagerly greeted him with a presentation of his treasure box of goodies. The left corner of his mouth led the way to a full face grin as he said, “Wow, Leslie. These have got to be at least twenty years old.”
“What’s on them?” I asked anxiously knowing their contents could be something Ah-mazing.
“Gosh, who knows? Could be anything…”
I grabbed a tape, popped it in and pressed the star-shaped play button. “…here he comes to the ring, folks. Let’s see if he can do it tonight!” squeaked a voice that sounded like a hillbilly Peter Brady.
My eyes glimmered. “What’s this?”
“Oh…oh geez. I think this is me and my cousin…being wrestler commentators.”
And it was. They also did a radio show in which Dave played a number of characters calling in to request music. My favorite was a sheepish, stuttering husband who’s wife kept yelling at him to get off the phone. (Yes, he did both voices.) He wanted to hear Louie, Louie.
I was just about to declare this the single most glorious collection of cassette tapes ever assembled when he began to find mix tapes. By then the girls had followed the sound of roaring laughter to our bedroom.
“What are these?” Julia asked picking up a tape.
“Cassette tapes! This is what we used to play music on when daddy and I were kids,” I told her.
Lucy put one to her lips and blew into the end of it like it was a harmonica. “It not make music!”
“You don’t play them like an instrument. You play them on the radio.”
Five minutes later they were bouncing on the bed to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s version of Iron Man.
I learned that Dave knows all the words to Lady by The Little River Band. And that he didn’t realize You’re All I Need by Motley Crue wasn’t so much a song about love as murder. (That’s right, Jack Wagner.)
We sat together for a large part of the afternoon holding our breath during the silence between songs as we waited for a long-forgotten tune to coax memories from the dark places in our brains. We sang and danced and told our stories. I met a whole new part of my husband that day and fell in love with it, too.