If you had been reading the now-ended MSY blog, you would have known that I was moving from Horn Lake, MS to another Memphis suburb and for the first time I planned to allow “roots” to go down. I was going to take the apartment and instead of living a spartan life with most of my meager belongings in boxes, I would actually…decorate. I would try to make a “home.” I would designate an “office” for my two jobs, and then the rest of the place would be “home.”
Anyone who’s known me for any length of time knows I don’t usually splurge on decor or even go as far as to hang up a picture. (I’ve had a girlfriend in the past come into my apartment and hang up a bunch of pictures because she couldn’t take it.)
The first major step was the completion of the office. Even if the rest of the place was still in boxes, the office would at least allow the mental breakdown between work and life. Dale helped me with the final touches one weekend he was here (and my niece Emma and nephew Tristan contributed the cool striped artwork.) My autographed baseballs and other sports memorabilia are out. The World Series program from when the Phillies beat the ever loving crap out of Tampa Bay. Photos of the family. A painting by a good friend. The office looks like…an office. And it feels good to work in there. I feel better in there than I did working before even though I’m still working from home. And in the second picture, you can see a bit of the courtyard I get to view outside the windows while I’m working.
Then it came time for the rest of my house. While I still plan to have lots of Fleur De Lis stuff around (because I like them) I also made a plan to do something that I didn’t completely reveal to anyone. Oh, I talked about bits and pieces of it, mentioned what I planned to do, but no one knew the final look or the why of the final look.
This is my album wall.
A 2 foot by 2 foot print of my favorite album cover of all time, Rush’s “Grace Under Pressure” (and sorry mom, I do plan to get that p/g tattoo at some point) surrounded by vinyl records that can be played on the turntable in the middle of the photo sitting on top of the antique radio that belonged to my grandparents.
Now, you’ll notice some of the albums slant a little.
The rows aren’t precise.
This is the story of why they’re that way.
When I was coming out of elementary school and heading into Junior High, my folks built their own house on a road called Musser Lane. My dad worked his rear end off to make a home for his family (and I know it because to this day we still wonder where it went.) I can remember how much I hated picking up rocks off the lot so he could put down grass. I remember the time I scared the stuffing out of my brother driving my grandfather’s car around the lot while blasting “The Big Money” from my Rush “Power Windows” cassette.
And in my room, across from the stereo, to the left of the drum set, just above my blue painted desk, was a wall made of cork.
I’m sure mom and dad did it because they didn’t want me putting holes in the other walls, but they put up a cork wall for me to hang up anything I wanted to put there. I would put album covers, posters of bands…I was your typical music fanatic.
I even had my own Top 10 countdown that I did each week.
Seriously! I would write out the songs, put the chart up on the cork board and every week made sure to update it with the new hits, replace the old ones and see how long some songs could stay at #1. (I loved radio even back then…I wanted to replace Casey Kasem on American Top 40.)
There was no rhyme or reason to what was on the board. It was just the things that I liked stuck anywhere I could put them. No pattern, no symmetry, nothing but controlled chaos.
And it was a board that filled the dreams of a young creative mind who thought the world was his for the taking.
A board that made me believe that anything was possible. That I could be the rock star on the wall. That I could play drums like Neil Peart. That some day I would be the one telling the folks at home who was “number one with a bullet.”
That’s why the album wall has no straight lines.
Or straight columns.
And it’s a little like organized chaos.
Some albums will stay, some will go as I come across new vinyl. I will resist the temptation to make it all Rush albums if I can somehow collect them all. Just like when I was a kid, it will be a reflection of me and a reminder of the good things.
And it’s a reminder that even though sometimes I don’t think it’s still alive, there’s always that small flicker of a flame of hope even in the darkest times.