This is the Reel Story
I’ve been struggling lately trying to decide on a memory that I wish to write about. Not that I’ve exhausted the childhood ones but some of the later ones from early adulthood are pulling heavily at me.
This past weekend tipped that decision over the edge. The adult members of the family sat around listening to reel to reel audio tapes that LB had made fifty years ago! Yes, that’s 50 – a big five – oh. It was marvelous!
The quality was not what we have become used to in this technological age we live in but that did not detract from the emotional impact.
Now that you know the “when” you might be wondering about “what” was on the tapes and “how and why” does LB still have them! The “how” is easy – he retrieved them from my mother’s belongings at the time of her death. As for the rest - well here’s a bit of background:
As the eldest of the Covey of Cockneys, I, along with my better half arrived in Canada in 1954. I did and do love Canada but I missed my “Covey”. You can’t have a “Covey” of one. Happily for me, the other members arrived over the following years. Of course while this was “happily for me” it meant that our mother was now alone!
So what could we do to keep in touch?
Telephone calls? Certainly. However, these were extremely expensive and with the time constraints – never very satisfactory.
Letter writing? Yes, that was where all the finer details of daily living were spelled out.
Mum liked it best when we were all together: laughing and singing, all talking over each other. In other words she loved having her noisy family all around her. Telephone calls and letter writing didn’t quite cut the mustard.
So began the birth of the “reel to reel” tapes.
Remember, in this time period there was nothing digital available, even cassette tapes, eight track, and Walkman had not yet been invented. You wanted sound you went BIG. So LB went big. He bought a reel to reel. It was explained to Mum that she would need to rent a machine in order to hear the recordings. Not to be out done she also bought a machine!
|Similar but not the same as LB's|
Now we are really committed to making family recordings!
Weekly gatherings of our little Covey and our very understanding partners took place.
LB and LLB would sing accompanied by their guitars while a cacophony of the rest of our voices provided background atmosphere. We did “off the cuff” skits long before Second City even existed. One I remember was based on a ballroom dancing competition similar to shows seen on British Television. Another took place on an imaginary London bus. Naturally the participants were all Covey members.
My personal favourites always involved the children especially when LB used his interviewing skills.
I could tell lots more about that time, but then, these are my memories and truly: “You had to be there”. And that’s why this past weekend was like a little bit of magic because once again I heard voices that can no longer be heard as I was transported “there”.