Many years ago, when I was deployed overseas as a young jarhead, my parents moved into a new house, but my childhood possessions – my old comic books and model airplanes and rock 'n' roll records, for example – did not make the move with them.
That's my stuff we're talking about. My stuff was gone.
I know what you might be thinking: What would a 20-something United States Marine Corps sergeant want with comic books and model airplanes, right? And why would I need all those old, worn, scratchy records – half of which were by that misguided Presley dude, who stopped making killer rock 'n' roll and started wasting his time in movies?
Well, think about this: Elvis Presley's first recording – a single 78 rpm record he recorded at age 18 on July 18, 1953, in Memphis, for his mother – sold at auction earlier this month for $240,000, plus a $60,000 auction fee.
That 1953 acetate saucer, featuring "My Happiness" on one side, with "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" on the flip side, sold for a whopping $300,000!
Of course, none of my old 45 rpm Elvis records would be worth 300 grand. I doubt that any one of them could attract 300 cents, but I wouldn't want to sell any of my Elvis 45s, anyway. I just wish I still had them – to look at, to hold, to reminisce with. Heck, I'd jump into eBay and bid on an old record player, so I could play them.
I also could play my copies of "Great Balls of Fire," by Jerry Lee Lewis; "Get a Job," by the Silhouettes; and "Johnny Be Good," by Chuck Berry, to name just a few. But, alas, they are all gone – no longer my cherished, beloved, musical property. My folks thought better of my jazz LPs, though, and saved them for me.
For those of you younger than I, which probably includes most of you, LP is what we used to call a 33⅓ rpm long-playing record. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for rescuing Stan Getz, J.J. Johnson, Horace Silver, Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson, Shorty Rogers, Chet Baker and all my other jazz greats from being carted off to the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores. I will listen to them until the end of my time, thanks to your wise and thoughtful decision.
The folks came through on the baseball front, too. They kept my revered Stan Musial-model Rawlings Trapeze baseball glove and my treasured baseball-card collection. They even saved the 34-inch H&B Richie Ashburn baseball bat that I got from a boyhood buddy in return for a 33-inch Mickey Mantle Louisville Slugger.
Mom and Dad's efforts, however, were practically for naught, because of me. I really hate to write about this, because I've tried pretty hard to forget it, but here it goes. I sold my baseball cards. Yikes! It's out there. I have revealed my foolishness. I've told you about one of my life's most stupid mistakes. I thought I was hard up for money, so I sold my baseball cards. It didn't matter that I had a nice savings account and a couple of certificates of deposit and that I easily could have gotten a loan from the bank. Oh, no. I sold my baseball cards that dated from the 1950s and '60s, even a few from the late '40s. I had not only bubblegum baseball cards, but also baseball cards from chewing tobacco and breakfast cereal. (No, I did not chew the chaw; a family friend gave me those old Red Man chewing-tobacco cards.) I sure do wish I still had my baseball cards.
My genuine Stan Musial, autograph model, Rawlings Trapeze fielder's mitt is gone too – because of a different kind of stupid. You see, I played baseball when I was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and after practice one day, I placed my beloved glove on top of my car as I took off my cleats. Then I threw the cleats into the car, hopped into the driver's seat and drove away. I do not know how long or how far that wonderful glove stayed on top of the car as I drove home, but I never saw it again. To this day, it kills me. At the same time, it comforts me, because it tells me that my forgetfulness these days is not a sign of the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Nope, I've been forgetting stuff all my life!
I guess I have no need at my age for model airplanes, but I do wish my parents would have saved them or some of them. Along with plastic model airplanes, I also built some model cars that would be very cool to display now.
Many of my planes hung from my bedroom ceiling. That was very cool back then. I remember waking up one night, just in time to see my World War II German Heinkel He-111 bomber, directly above me, falling down directly at my face. I jerked my head to the left, and the plane crashed onto my pillow. That was crazy-weird, I'm telling you – another odd example of an incident that seemed to border on extrasensory perception. But don't you have to be kind of smart to experience ESP? Well, I know I'm not real smart, and I'm surely not insightful enough to explain how I awoke in the middle of the night at the exact moment a scale-model enemy aircraft was set to dive-bomb my ugly mug. Crazy-weird, indeed.
I wonder what happened to that Heinkel bomber. Maybe it went to some disadvantaged youth or one of the boys at that orphanage that used to be located nearby, between Shiloh and Belleville, Ill. And maybe the guy's grandson owns it now, and it's hanging from the grandson's bedroom ceiling. Nah, probably not, but that would be cool, wouldn't it?
I also wonder where my comic books are – or where they met their demise. Do you realize how much some of the old comic books are worth? I've seen some very valuable issues featured on television's "American Pickers" and "Pawn Stars." Some of those thin, little books are pulling in pretty big bucks. Doesn't matter to me; I have no comic books now. I hope some deserving kid got mine and enjoyed them until they fell apart.
It's Saturday morning, and it would be nice to have some Elvis music in the background, as I write. However, as you know, I have no record player, and my 45s are gone. I could order a CD of Elvis Presley's early hits, but that would take a few days to get here. How about downloading iTunes? I don't know. My options just can't compare to holding and playing those original 45 rpm records, most of which came in hard-cover sleeves with color photos on the front. They were classic.
Maybe I'll just bring up YouTube and click on Elvis' greatest (early) hits, and I'll write along with the sweet sounds of The King. Sure, that's it. Thankya. Thankya vury much.