Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Joseph J. Collection

My big brother Joseph is moving back to California with a promotion and a raise, not to mention his girlfriend Karen... this is something I predicted some time ago, as he likes to remind me; I being the baby and rather naive of serious matters such as these, it was shocking to consider (hee-hee) that I might be right about something of this nature, but here it is. He's finally going back to the place where he found happiness, and I couldn't be happier for him, not because I predicted it, but because he actually gets his wish, and on his terms to boot.

This, of course, created a situation where he had to unload some some stuff relatively quickly (they leave in the afternoon of the day I'm writing this), so over the past few weeks, we've made some quick deals. I acquired his 1996 Ford Explorer XLT (V8 AWD, a real gas guzzler but a kick-ass vehicle) and have since been using it to transport other housewares they have gifted to us (to save on moving expenses, but this is quality stuff, so I'm not complaining!) Among the apartment living booty we've been given, I was also blessed with something that means a whole lot to both of us: his collection of cassettes of classic soul and jazz music. I call this the Joseph J. Collection, because he really has been collecting this stuff and making mixes of stuff for years. The amount of cassettes he has given me is quite surprising, only to be rivalled by his legendary and tragically lost collection of LPs that dated back to before I was born. Between him and Terry (I like saying it that way, so shaddup), they had close to a thousand LPs and 45s, only a handful of which I saved by pure chance from that day... that day which I realized only a moment ago was exactly eleven years and two days ago!

There are reasons for everything we do, whether we know it or not, and I don't believe it's coincidence that both of us are being blessed at this time. On Thursday, I drove Nikki up to Kensico Cemetary, where our family are buried, for a small flower ceremony. I think Nikki is very quiet about her motivations and intentions, so I didn't ask, nor did it occur to me, why she wanted to go up there that day. I figured that she was happy that I had a car and now we had a vehicle to visit them when we wanted to. Nikki has since chided me on that, saying that wasn't the reason; she assumed that I knew and remembered. As I explained to my roommate afterwards, that's not something I want to remember every year for the rest of my life. If anything, I want to remember them on the days where we had extra reasons to celebrate, like their shared birthday, or on Mother's Day or the traditional holidays, where Mom was the most charming and spirited woman you'd ever want to meet. I don't want to remember them for their loss, and I believe that over the years I've transcended the grief that is associated with that day.

It didn't even occur to me, eleven years later. Wow. I miss them terribly, but I'm okay with myself.

So, the Joseph J. Collection carries even more significance than I was applying to it before. It represents not only a collection of grooves and memories that marked the years of our lives, but it also represents a victory in life, where we can move two steps forward without looking back, without holding back, and without chaining ourselves to our fears. It signifies growth for both of us; the pursuit of happyness (sic), and the love we have for our family, here and there, everywhere we are and will be. Amazing.

Now about these tapes... I'm planning to digitize each of them and import them into my iTunes Library, where I can create CDs and ship them back to my brother... or perhaps I'll buy an external hard drive and download them onto that and ship it to him with all of the songs from the cassettes, of which there are literally hundreds. This is gonna be some project, and when it's done I'm sure I won't need the Classic Soul channel on IO Digital anymore >;) For those interested, I will be posting an inventory of the Joseph J. Collection in the coming months, and if you're interested in acquiring something, we can talk. At any rate, keep coming around, as I'm certain I'll be on a hot streak of posts pretty soon. Take care! >;)