Mixed Tapes

The writing class I’m taking this summer is proving to be a lot more useful than the class I took last semester. One of our assignments for next week is to mimic the form of one of the pieces we were given to read. The one that seems most intriguing is the one about the mixed tape. Each chapter talks about a different song from a mixed tape. I’d give you the author, but it’s sort of dark in the room and I’m afraid if I leave this to find the name, I may not make it back. Anyway, we were given the liberty to do anything we want with the piece. He said we could pick movies, or scents…or whatever we seem fitting.

This post isn’t a shot at the assignment; instead, it’s about a memory that piece evokes.

When I was a kid, Gabi, Jorge, and I spent a lot of time together. To pass the long summer days and Christmas vacation, we watched television, played made up games like “Basta” (our version of Scategories), annoyed one another (or our dad), or sang.

One of our favorite things to do was listen to music and sing along. I remember we had a copy of a choir book that someone had brought home from school. It had a greenish marble effect on the cover with a white spine and inside. It had many classics like “The Star Spangled Banner,”
“El Paso,” “Silver Bells,” and my favorite “Cuckaberra.” Other times, we belted out our current favorites from pirated cassettes. There would be times we would listen to the radio for hours trying to catch a song to pirate only to push down the play button only instead of the play and record buttons at the same time.

My brother Jorge was always my hero. I thought he was the smartest and funniest person ever. I felt that I could always count on my big brother, but music allowed Jorge and me to strengthen our bond. I remember being a four or five and hanging out with Jorge in the room he shared with our other two brothers and listening to the oldie’s radio station on a little radio as we lay on the floor in between our brother’s beds trying to sty out of their way. When he started listening to country so did I. And when he came home on leave from Army with a Simon and Garfunkel tape, I started to like them too.

His time in the Army was one of the saddest periods in my life. I hated that he had left, but I knew that it’s what he wanted so I learned to deal with it. One thing that made it somewhat easier was that he wrote to me a lot. He’d send postcards, letters, and my favorite, mixed tapes. I did the same for him, especially the mixed tapes. Thinking back on it now, it was pretty cheesy because we’d not only record songs off the radio, other cassettes, or cd’s (when we got the fancy equipment), we also talked…sometimes while the songs were playing. Often times, we would sing along to the song and record it all.

I’ve often wondered if he listened to these tapes while his friends were around, and if he did, did he get any beef over them like the time he kissed me good-bye in front of his friends when I was in first grade and he was in eighth. Still, it was cool. We were like Felicity and her pen-pal only we came first.

After he came home from the Army, music was still something we had in common and it continues to be an interest we share. As with my friend Gabriel, there are so many songs I can listen to now and spark up some sort of memory about my beloved brother, Jorgie Porgie.

1 comment:

Ktrion said...

Qué cool you are!

I'm writing more these days, too!