Childhood Memories – The Sunday New York Times Edition

15 Oct

Logo of The New York Times.

Image via Wikipedia

I grew up in a suburb of northern New Jersey in the early seventies, back then you got the national news from the ABC, NBC or CBS at 7:30 pm, or a newspaper. CNN wasn’t a twinkle in Ted Turner‘s eye, I am not even sure cable was invented.

In our house news came from Walter Cronkite and The New York Times, two of the most trusted and respected names in journalism.

Sunday mornings in our house were special, there was a family brunch, music and the Sunday New York Times. If I close my eyes I can picture  record albums strewn about by the living room stereo. Back in those days, stereos and TV’s came in beautiful wooden chests, that heralded the majesty of what the device inside could do.

Record albums came with artwork, lyrics and liner notes. Today if you buy a CD you get some of that, at a less than half the size. If you download from iTunes you get a digital booklet (sometimes), but nothing compares to seeing the picture of the artist or the concept art that went along with some of the greatest albums of all time.  We can’t appreciate that today because the market is saturated with images, video not only killed the radio star it killed album art.  Imagine The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s without the infamous album cover, impossible right?

My parents taste in music was eclectic to say the least, we had Simon and Garfunkel, Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan , Three Dog Night, broadway musicals and a vast collection of classical music. Don’t forget Sinatra, Perry Como, Andy Williams and Dean  Martin.

My dad would load up the auto changer on the stereo and we could go from side 1 of GodSpell to Zeppelin to Handel’s Messiah in a two-hour period.

Before brunch was over, I would pull the special real estate section out of the paper and start reading off the listings for the estates in Connecticut or the Hamptons.  I was in awe of the majestic homes, as an adult I look back on that moment and I can’t recall why I did it. My parents never stopped me from reading aloud or the discussions about the potential future homes.

Perhaps they were simply indulging a young child who didn’t realize what it meant to spend $500,000 on a home. Keep in mind this was the early 70’s and 500k could get a mansion, today that same house would easily cost 7 or 8 million.

After brunch, my parents would sit and read The Sunday Times, back then it was so thick, so many sections. As I grew older my favorite section was Arts and Leisure, to this day when I buy the times that is the first section I go to followed by the Magazine.

The Magazine, it held the holy grail, the Sunday crossword puzzle. As soon as my dad started that puzzle, it was all over, he was in a zone.  As the day lingered on, my mom and I would clear the plates and dress for the day. The music eventually ended, the records put away until next time.

There was usually a Sunday afternoon movie for my mom, and I would go out to play with friends. But my dad, was in his chair, with his coffee doing his puzzle. He would stop to shower and dress, but not shave, he gave his face a rest on Sunday’s.  He worked on the puzzle until diner and sometimes after, sometimes he finished it in one day but he always finished it before next Sunday’s arrived.

It is those pictures in my mind’s eye, a dining table with sticky dishes smelling of sweet maple syrup, record albums, the faces of Simon and Garfunkle starting up at me from the floor, and my dad sitting in his chair, so still, concentrating, a man and his solitary challenge. Those are the childhood memories that come flooding back with the simple act of buying the Sunday New York Times.

What is your Sunday memory from Childhood? What triggers it?

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