Friday, June 10, 2016

PHOENIX MEMORABILIA: Victrola record player - lost

     Someone just reminded me about the Victrola record player we had on the boat. She and her husband are trying to gather pictures of people with the earliest record players for a book they are writing of the history of phonographs up to the iPod and the effect their music has had on people.
     This photo shows just a glimpse of it on the cabin top right behind my left shoulder: the box holding it, the edge of a record on the turntable and the shiny metal crank. This was in 1955, when the boat was at the dock in the village of Haapu, on the island of Huahine in the Society Islands. (I did the Hawaiian hula and some of their young people did Tahitian ones.)
     In All in the Same Boat, Dad writes, "In Haapu we had our first taste of real entertaining. It was simple to issue invitations: we just sent Jessica up on deck with the portable photograph and told her to start playing records. Within minutes villagers had begun to gather and soon the party was in full swing. Breaking it up was not so easy, for in spite of frequent showers and the coming and going of the dinner hour no one deserted.
     "The dancing--both Tahitian and modified European--took place beside the boat, on the dock. After each dance the men boarded the boat to squat around and talk, while the girls retreated down the dock to the shadows of the road. With the beginning of a new tune the men would seek out their partners and lead them back into the lighted area around our pressure lantern. During the frequent showers, everyone crowded aboard and took giggling refuge below so that, at times, we had over a hundred people packed into the cabins, the bunks, and the aisles, examining our possessions as they waited for the rain to stop and making excited comments about our accommodations.
      "Nothing, I hasten to add, was missing when the last guest had finally gone, but the next day our ship's inventory was increased alarmingly by gifts of bananas, breadfruit, necklaces of shells, carvings of wood and coconut, and hats of woven pandanus." New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1962, p. 90. 
     The only records I remember from that time are Kiss of Fire, the Nutcracker Suite, and the Blue Danube. Even when we moved to Japan when I was seven, I preferred the latter two and I have like classical music ever since. 

No comments: