The greatest gift I ever received was an old Corona Light box from my grandfather. Confused and intrigued as to why I would be receiving this as a 15-year old girl, I was delighted to find that my grandpa was passing on his record collection to me. In the box I found original Beatles albums, traces of 1980s albums that belonged to my mother, and Vincente Fernandez, a staple artist in any Mexican family.
As a young teenager, my decision to purchase a record player was out of a desire to find an outlet away from the stress of high school. When I told my grandparents about my purchase, I witnessed so much excitement in my grandfather, who seemed shocked to find out that I enjoyed listening to Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles as much as he did. His gift to me on my birthday was only the beginning of a growing record collection. Until I left California to start college, my grandpa would periodically arrive with more boxes of records, sometimes showing me new artists who I have since grown to love such as Kay Starr and Arthur Prysock. In turn, he would be open to hearing new music I had found, like Leon Bridges. As I became more open to suggestions from my grandfather, I was also more receptive to the interests of others. My parents began to give me their old collections, my mother’s having a surprising amount of Bruce Springsteen and Depeche Mode. I even found that it brought my brother and I closer together, as he introduced me to my favorite band, Radiohead.
Although I don’t have the spare time I used to enjoy in high school to lay on my floor and listen to records, I still find that the experience that vinyl has given me has taught me how I can continue to love and appreciate important people in my life from opposite coasts. With each album, song, and personal connection, I have created an archive of memories and cherished music. I think of my brother when I hear Bright Eyes, my parents when Sublime comes on. And most importantly, every week when I’m on air for my college radio show, I know that my grandfather is listening and that I can still share this love of music with him.