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ARGENTINA Through Harold’s Lens:
They were stopped
Eyes glued to an mysterious old brown, wooden box
Young family of four wandering the antique market
My lens watched.
“Is that an old music box?”, the 12-year old boy asks his Dad
Raises iPhone at arms length and silently takes a photo
“Google it on your Mac”, says Dad.
The 10-year old sister
Remembers old collection of love songs that Mom had saved since she was a teenager
Music was on something called a cassette
Mom cried as she tried to untangle the pile of crinkled tan tape covering her garage floor.
Dad suddenly remembers
Stack of used 8-tracks
Stuffed in sagging cabinet
His untidy study.
“I remember your Grandma
Had large black discs with small holes”, Mom says
Big cardboard covers
Lots of songs on them
She called them 33’s.
“Oh yeah”, Dad says.
“Remember Grandpa’s stacks small black discs with big holes in them?”
I played frisbee with them.
The labels said 45 rpm.
“I sure wish your Great Grandpa was here”, Mom says
He played a tenor saxophone in a jazz band at Princeton
He had blacks discs with small holes that went ‘round and ‘round real fast
Called em 78‘s
He played songs by Paul Whiteman and Bix Beiderbecke
The music was scratchy.
“I was a little boy at your Great, Great Grandpa’s house”, Dad says
Old, wooden music box like this one in the corner of their living room
Crank on it
Faded old black and white photograph of them sat on top of the music box
They were young
They were dressed up
They were dancing
Great Great Grandma was wearing a short dress with fringe on the bottom
She looked like she was hopping around
Her legs were bent like twigs at the knees”
With a sprinkling of grey hair, I raised my Nikon
With slumping shoulders, this aging photographer slowly slinked into the shadows of Buenos Aires.