A song ends too soon
An ear catching up
What was that color?
My childhood is filled with radios.
The big brown Luxor one in the kitchen, always on. Mom loved music and would listen to just about anything (not that there was much to choose from—Swedish radio, at that time, had two channels P1 and P2 (Program 1 and Program 2). P1 was the serious channel: news, discussions, radio theater, book readings, and such; P2 the more entertaining one, quite often music, both classical and popular, though no rock and roll as yet—that was to come later, sometime in the early 1960s.
She’d always be up when I came down from what we called the children’s chamber to, literally, see what’s cooking. “Good morning,” I’d say. And she’d reply with her stock response, “That should have been this morning.”
And there would be music I recognized floating out of the big, brown well of, yes, I guess you’d call it comfort. This morning a windy summer outside suggested, even promised that all was well with the world, as Mom served up some oat meal porridge, not my favorite, but it was palatable if you poured enough sugar on top and if the milk didn’t have too many flakes of cream floating about like ice floes around the snow covered porridge iceberg. I hated cream floating about but there was no getting around it: this milk came straight from the farmer, no homogenizing here. Let it sit overnight and the top inch or two will be thick, slightly off-white cream—wonderful as whipped, poison as floes.
Another radio: The black portable Centrum with FM and a built-in jack for your car antenna—clever, if you ask me. It was on this radio, lying in a summer field one Saturday afternoon (listening to Swedish top-ten) that I, for the very first time, heard the Beatles: “Please Please Me.” I don’t remember where it placed on the list that week, but I do remember that I liked Brian Hyland’s “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” just as much, and would often, in the near future, confuse the two songs in my mind—I’d picture night stars when I listened to “Please Please Me.”
Another radio: It was a crystal radio, a kit that I believe I put together myself, or (perhaps) with a little help from Dad. It wasn’t much larger than a big (kitchen size) matchbox and it was blue. Only AM, but late at night, if the weather conditions were conducive, I’d manage to tune in Radio Luxemburg and through star-like static listen to that far-away, wondrous world of my music.
And the song ended with my mind still tossing about. Something, a word, a glimpse, a color. I had missed it, my ear trying to catch up, but too late, now there was only starlight.