Posted tagged ‘cassette recorder’

Chelsea Morning: Joni Mitchell

November 9, 2017

Joni Mitchell’s birthday was Tuesday. She turned 74, and I missed it. I blame Alexa. Last week I had asked Alexa to remind me of Joni’s birthday, and I don’t think she did, but I was sleeping so I could have missed Alexa’s reminder. Anyway, if you’ve been with me a while, you know Joni is about my all time favorite. When I was in the Peace Corps, I had a cassette recorder, one of those rectangular ones we all had. I had about 4 or 5 cassettes with me including CSN&Y, Peter, Paul and Mary, Creedence and Joni’s Clouds. I think my friends and I wore out that album, We played it just about every night and never tired of it. Chelsea Morning is my favorite song from this album. The lyrics are amazing so filled with colors and images, similes and metaphors. I can still see this song in my head.

“Silence is also speech.”

February 25, 2017

Today is far warmer than I expected. It’s a sit in the sun day because tomorrow will be colder, back down to the daytime 40’s, to our usual February weather. This morning there was some fog. I couldn’t see more than an outline of my neighbor’s house. After I got the paper and yesterday’s mail from across the street, I stayed outside a while just to take in the warmth, the fog and the songs of birds.

The aroma of wood smoke is one of my favorite smells. The guy in the house on the next corner has been burning wood in a rusty metal barrel. At first I though a house fire then I saw him putting more wood in the barrel. He’s the same neighbor who thought Gracie was a wolf when she jumped the six-foot fence into his yard to go after his dog. I’m thinking he doesn’t have a permit to burn wood. but I don’t care one way or the other.  I like the wood smoke. It is one of my strongest memories of Ghana where wood charcoal is used for cooking every meal.

I had a portable cassette recorder in Ghana. The tapes stuck all the time because of the humidity so mostly they had to be rewound by hand using a Bic pen. I didn’t have a huge number of tapes, but I had my favorites including PP&M, CSN, Simon and Garfunkel, and Joni Mitchell. I think I played music every night. The adaptor had a red Christmas light size bulb attached so I could play without a converter. I could plug the cord directly into the wall. My friends Bill and Peg and I got together every night. We had dinner outside in their small courtyard. After their one-year-old went to bed, we played games. Password was our only actual comes in a box game, and we played it over and over and never got bored. We had the cards memorized through repetition so we sometimes changed the game. There were contests like the winner is the one who finishes the whole card first. That kept life into the game and kept us occupied.

I lived alone for the first time in Ghana. It was quite an adjustment getting used to being alone in a place so different, so far from home. My PC friends weren’t close to me geographically. (They were a letter away, no phones back then). I was teaching for the first time and not teaching well. My students didn’t understand my English. I was frustrated and lonely but determined. It took time. I did my best and so did they. Finally, we understood each other, and I was teaching, really teaching. I loved going to town and the market. I filled my days with teaching and my nights with music and books.

After my first year, Bill and Peg moved to my school, and we lived in a duplex. I loved having them near, being with them, and I also loved my quiet times, my alone times. We gave them to each other.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

September 4, 2014

School started here today. I heard the kids walking to the bus stop at the end of the street. Two parents with coffee in hands were with them. At about nine the five boys finally boarded the bus but not before they’d hung off a tree branch, climbed another tree and chased each other. Right now the summer rental next door is having its weeds mowed, and I can hear the clicking when the mower hits rocks. It hasn’t been a quiet morning.

At the housewarming party friends threw for me when I bought this house in 1977 one of the gifts was an iron. I’d do my wash, hang up everything which needed to be ironed on a line downstairs, and when I had a enough clothes, I’d set up the ironing board, watch TV and iron my clothes. I’d do that every couple of weeks. I still have that iron, and it looks as good as new. I can’t even remember the last time I used it. When my nephew started school in the mid-1980’s, he was given a test of reading readiness. The only thing on any part of the test he couldn’t identify was an iron. I only one person who still irons, and he is mystified that I don’t. My clothes have that right out of the dryer look, but they’re never wrinkled enough for ironing except for a couple of linen shirts which I do wash but bring to the cleaners for ironing. My iron can now be described as vintage 1970’s.

When I went to Ghana, I didn’t bring any music, but my mother sent me a cassette recorder and some of my tapes. The recorder was that rectangular one we all had. My camera was an Instamatic. Pop in the film and take your pictures. My mother had to send slide film to me as Ghana had no film at all for the camera, not even film for stills. I had to send the finished films to my mother to be developed. When my house was broken into, the thief left the camera.

I have some albums which I first bought on vinyl, then cassette, then CD’s and now I upload new ones or ones I don’t have from iTunes and similar sites. I can’t remember the last cookbook I bought, and I used to collect cookbooks. The only ones I’d buy now are those based on novels or authors to add to my collection.

I have a CD player, a multi-zone DVD player, an HD TV, which was the first in the neighborhood, an iPad, an iPod, and an iPhone. The phone needs to be upgraded but I don’t really care. It does enough for me. I know there is blue-tooth to replace my DVD player so I’m behind a generation, but I don’t care about that either.

I use to be filled with wonder at all the changes my grandmother had seen in her lifetime: from the beginning of air flight to the trip to the moon being the most amazing. I have grown up and gotten older in a world where change is a constant. Think about it. It is now so commonplace we seldom even notice.