My dad brought home a record player with one speaker designed like a plastic jukebox and looked like a fabulous little space man. When I plugged it in next to the couch, its silver plastic chrome lit up bright red. He gave us a huge stack of albums with ‘promo’ stamped on front covers, like trombone player Jerry Colonna with a big voice, and Bing Crosby’s Irish songs, ‘The Rose of Tralee’, to ‘Killarney’, ‘My Wild Irish Rose,’ ‘Danny Boy’ ‘Fields of Athenrye,’ and ‘Galway Bay. Paul Anka’s ‘Diana’ was in that stack, and I remember lyrics from that album.
What a collection, ‘Great American Patriotic Songs,’ ‘Sing-Along Old Fashioned Melodies,’ ‘Beloved Irish Tunes,’ ‘Fantastic Polka Songs.’ Country singers, like Loretta Lynn, Lynn Anderson, Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Hank Thompson, Eddy Arnold, Henry Mancini’s Love is a Many Splendored Thing put the pop in my pop culture. That happy jukebox constantly played and I sang every song on every album, military anthems, including four verses of ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic,’ and ‘the Caisson Field Artillery’ song.
I used the vacuum cleaner hose as a microphone and sang harmony to its one note, pushing long stainless steel tubes around the living room until the jukebox melted into blobs of plastic.