ARGENTINA. Buenos Aires Through Harold’s Lens:
They were stopped. Staring. Eyes glued to an mysterious old brown, wooden box. This young family of four were wandering the antique market. My lens watched.
“Is that an old music box?”, the 12-year old boy asks his Dad. He raises his iPhone at arms length and silently takes a photo. “Google it on your Mac”, says Dad.
The 10-year old girl, grasping her Blackberry, remembers the old collection of love songs that Mom had saved since she was a teenager. The 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 is suddenly reminded of the stack of used 8-tracks stuffed in the sagging cabinet in his untidy study.
“I remember your Grandma had these large black discs with small holes”, Mom says. They had big cardboard covers and lots of songs on them. She called them 33’s.
“Oh yeah”, Dad says. “Remember Grandpa’s stacks of these 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 these 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 on them. The music was scratchy.
“When I was a little boy at your Great, Great Grandpa’s house”, Dad says, “there was an old, wooden music box like this one in the corner of their living room. It had a crank on it. A 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. Your 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. Then with slumping shoulders, this aging photographer slowly slinked away.