RECORD STORE TALES #1034: December 27
In the Christmases of youth when families were bigger and healthier, it was close to a week-long celebration. December 27 was a day we looked forward to annually.
Before I started working at the Record Store, we would depart for Stratford Ontario mid-day on the 27th for an early birthday celebration. My sister’s birthday is the 28th, and she would have a second party that day too! Stratford has a lot of really cool stores, especially if you’re looking for comics, books and board games like I was. There was a small record store as well, and my sister and I would hit up these stores while my mother and aunt shopped for clothes and knick-knacks for what felt like hours upon hours. One thing I know for sure: we were the ones waiting for them, and not vice-versa!
I acquired many treasures in Stratford in those days. After shopping, we would head to my aunt and uncle’s place for warming up. My sister would receive her gifts, and we would eat treats while waiting for the main course to arrive: garlic spaghetti, agio e olio, my absolute favourite. Then we would settle in for a movie (always a comedy). It was always a special day even though it wasn’t my birthday.
Even when we were young, I remember we were allowed to play some of our new tapes on my uncle’s big stereo during dinner. I can recall listening to Kiss. Smashes, Thrashes & Hits? Dynasty? I can’t remember – could have been either, or both, but I know we listened to Kiss during dinner (or dessert). My uncle made us listen to someone named Juice Newton.
In the Record Store days, I would only be able to make it for dinner and not the fun shopping part. Stratford is a little colder and snowier, and I recall having to step over massive snowbanks to get to parked cars. The cool shops made it worth it. I came home with Stratford with Transformers comics, Star Trek comics, loads of science fiction books, and rare board games. There was also a Scottish-themed shop where I bought Billy Connolly CDs and DVDs, Jaffa cakes, and other treats.
“Peak Stratford” would have been Dec 27 1990: the year I found Kiss On Fire at the book store. All those bootlegs! I sat and read during dinner amazed at all the records I now knew I had to collect! What a score for a kid.