|General Fiction posted September 18, 2023||Chapters:||...6 7 -8- 9...|
Lizzy loves cranking the music
A chapter in the book A Particular Friendship
Crank that Volume
by Liz O'Neill
We're watching how Lizzy uses music to cope. Some techniques are very positive and others slightly negative
A long time had passed since those record player days. Previous to her high school years, Lizzy listened to her favorite singers like Elvis, Freddy Cannon, 'Cool, C
ater,' and 'Born to Lose' on a big radio kept on the front sun porch.
Cranking the volume as she was wont to do, caused crossed wires, and tubes loosening in the collector’s item radio and her favorite song was replaced with rumbling vibrations, loud enough to rattle the storm windows on the porch. Stomping on the porch floor as discovered by Mother, seemed to fix the problem.
“Sometimes there was a comical scene when Mother and I were busy in the kitchen doing dishes. As soon as the rockin’ background music switched to the annoying buzzing, both she and I rushed out to the front screened-in porch and began laughing and stomping until the vibrating, floor, and windows quieted and the rip-roaring radio music returned.”
With the earphone tucked securely in her ears, she lay in the darkness and quiet of the house, trying to get to sleep. Preadolescent fingers wrapped around her little gray-blue transistor radio.
She dreaded that, at any hour now, her father would come home and Mother would have to get up from her comfortable encroachment-free spot on the couch in the den. She’d have to fix his supper.
Lizzy’s stomach boiled every time she could hear her father had brought home his rowdy drunken buddies. She knew that a knot would be forming in Mother’s stomach at that moment.
Even her tiny transistor radio couldn’t drown that out. Too often in the early morning hours, the National Anthem harshly tinnily blasted through the little earphones, signaling the station comforting her was about to go off the air.
She’d routinely searched in the blackness for another station until that abandoned her heart. Lizzy now understands why whenever she hears that anthem, she feels sadness and anger.
They’ve come up with a name for what Lizzy has experienced her whole life, especially when it came to studying. I guess she didn’t consider having an attention deficit disorder or ADD, a disorder because she found that music screened out distractions every night while she did her high school homework.
Lizzy, in the fifth grade, may have weighed 150 pounds, but she was athletic, playing every sport available, except for golf. The closest she came to participating in the game of golf was to chase what her father called his shag balls.
The kids in the neighborhood had fun chasing and retrieving the whiffle golf balls when he was practicing hitting them. One time, the sixth grader, actually got to caddie for him on the big golf course.
“Wanting so badly to form a relationship with my father, I asked him to teach me to play golf as he had my brother, Nike. He responded with, I’d be too embarrassed to be seen with you on the golf course. I never, ever wanted to play golf after that, and detest seeing it played on television.”
It was probably at that moment, Lizzy knew there was no chance of ever having a decent relationship with her father. Later in her adult life, while in the convent, she pretty well disowned him.
The relationship with the father, Paul Petersen from the Donna Reed show sang about in the song 'My Dad,' was something Lizzy could only long for. Daily playing that song on the stereo, the lyrics told of everything her father was not.
The sensitive high school freshman played it over and over wallowing in self pity. Later on in life, when in therapy in her 40s, she learned there was a distorted pleasure in that wallowing. She now no longer enjoys her sadness, and seldom feels sorry for herself.
There were no support groups for teens in the 60’s. 'Born to Lose', 'A Million to One', 'The Wanderer', and 'Only the Lonely' all said for her what she was feeling, voices she could identify with.
In her high school years, Lizzy had the volume turned as high as possible on any music she listened to. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a bass vibration you know how it must have made the bed springs buzz in her parents’ room located directly above the stereo cabinet in the living room.
Her mother was unaffected, as she was already down in the kitchen laboring. Her father, on the other hand, was in bed reading his pile of saved newspapers and newspaper clippings.
This irritation became a way of Lizzy getting even with her father. He had to put his newspaper down, get out of his comfortable bed, make his way down the stairs to tell her to turn the bass down.
“I cherished the thrumming growl the bass knob created. At his behest, I turned the volume down for that day, but not forever. That stereo became a burr in his side as if I were holding it in my hand.
“I’ve talked about the painfully difficult part of having to say goodbye to Scruffles, my Maine Coon cat. Now, I'll tell you about him when he was alive, how things went for us and how I came to actually have him in my life. Some of this is covered in my 'Be Wee With Bea' books.
"I have said before, Dody, my former girlfriend and I had planned to have our doors open, so her cat could travel up and down the stairs and I could enjoy her cat. When the doors between our apartments were permanently closed to me, I knew I had to get a cat for myself.
"I mentioned this to my friends who had a cat which seemed to feed from garbage cans and was quite feral. I suspect my mother’s spirit gifted me with him. She loved feral cats. We had one named Barney, who never seemed very affectionate to me, but he was my mother’s cat.
"When my friends said I could have their cat, I swallowed hard looking at it. He was a mess. They said his name was Scruffy and that certainly fit him. I told them I would think about it, when in the back of my mind I was thinking, never.”
© Copyright 2023. Liz O'Neill All rights reserved.
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