Mom and Dad joined the Columbia Record Club, which let us buy a new recording every month if we wanted. AND membership came with a brand new portable stereo record player.
The records were expensive, but we didn’t have to buy one every month. Mom and Dad loved Broadway musicals. Over the months that followed we managed to collect Oklahoma, The King and I, South Pacific, and My Fair Lady, Mom’s favorite.
Linda and I weren’t supposed to touch them unless Mom or Dad was there, but we couldn’t help ourselves. We loved playing them.
Dad and my Uncle Jack planned to expand their business by opening a lunch counter downtown that served only hot dogs. One picture of it survives. That’s Dad behind the counter. I was there once. I loved the cartoon cutouts on the walls.
Then the tornado hit. It never opened.
Mom and Dad made Linda and me sit down at the kitchen table, which always meant we were going to have a serious conversation.
Dad explained that because of the tornado we had to be careful from now on with money.
Does this mean we’re poor?
Well…We were luckier than some. The tornado killed many people, and lots of others lost their houses and their cars and their jobs.
We only lost a business. Thank goodness we still have the other restaurant. But we really need to watch what we spend.
Linda and I loved playing the records. We knew all the songs by heart.
And of course, being kids, we were really careful with them.
One day I noticed that My Fair Lady somehow had a huge scratch in it, actually a crack, and couldn’t be played. I did what any responsible child would have done. I stuck it back in the sleeve and hid it at the bottom of the pile.
It didn’t take long for Mom to discover it.
Linda and I were playing in the back yard when Mom came out holding the broken record and demanding to know what happened.
You didn’t want to be around Mom when she was angry.
And she was REALLY angry.
Do you know what this cost? Do you have any idea?
Well, we can’t replace it.
She threw the record down on the steps, and it shattered into a million pieces.
Then she sat down, hugged us both, and cried.