Someone had a little record player for sale.  Twenty dollars and a stack of 45 rpm records go with it.  Old fashioned vinyl music.

A good deal.

My Grandmother had one of those.  Almost just like it.  She had her own stack of records.  All gospel music.

“I’m listening to my music.  You boys and girls need to listen too.”  she would tell me and my cousins.  That’s when her house would get quieter than an old church at mid-night.

If we made too much noise she would lean over and put a finger on her lip, “Hush now, listen to the words about Jesus.  He’s a coming one day.”

That’s all it took.

She kept her little record player on top of her sewing machine, over in the corner by the window.  She covered it with an old handkerchief most of the time, to keep the dust out.  The roads were gravel back then.

She bought it from Sears.   It was nothing more than a brown plastic box, about a foot square, maybe eight inches tall, with a turntable and a pickup arm on top.  Two speeds, 33 and 45 rpm.  The speaker was no larger than a balled up fist.  I don’t think she ever had a 33 rpm record.  They cost too much for her liking.

She had her 45’s.  I gave her a couple for her birthday.  She gave me a hug and a kiss on the forehead.  I was ten or eleven. The next year, I gave her two more.

Come Sunday morning, she would put her record player on the edge of the dinner table.  She had an extension cord to reach the lone electric plug in the wall.  Then we’d rock out to old time gospel quartets, singing about sweet Jesus, crossing the river and a cross on a far away hill.

Sometimes, after a hard day dealing with my Grandfather, she’d go get it, start it up and we’d listen to her gospel music after dark.  That was before television came along.

My Grandmother stacked those records five high on the spindle.  Every two and a half minutes or so, one song ended, the record player made a move and another record was spinning, making music.

She would turn it up loud.  She had to.  She was in the kitchen, working on biscuits, bacon and some scrambled eggs.

She sang all the words of every song.

Once, she came to our house to stay a week or so.  As careful as a soldier moving dynamite, she walked in the house, her precious record player in hand.  In a paper bag, she had a dozen or so of her records.

As we got older, my cousins and I tried to play some of “our” music, some of that rock and roll stuff.  She was our Grandmother, so it was Ok with her.

It wasn’t the same.  Her little music box was meant for good old hard core gospel music, sung in three part harmony.


Please feel free to share.  I welcome your comments and thoughts.  Contact Mike Windham at  You can follow my blog at


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