I listen to classical music and read all the time – but there are moments when I start into this routine that my brain dips itself into the past. And then to this soundtrack of swelling crescendo violins and pounding timpani, I remember for a moment lighter reading loads and hot summer days in the San Gabriel Valley.
A testament to my love of story and the valuable treasure of the local library, I would spend weekends pouring over books as classical music played on the radio. In these pre-Google and Shazam days, I wouldn’t really know what I was listening to unless it was from this one CD I owned called something like “Classical Greats Volume 1.” Most of the time, it was the local classical music station and, to the untrained ear of a ten-year-old, the instruments sort of ran together in some related instrumental diversity.
Seated in this memory is a belief in wealth without understanding dollar signs. Seated in this memory is feeling like a part of time known before and again: the leap into some imaginary world, the details of heroes and heroines real and made, and meanwhile music played.
I grew up in a family without money and remembering moments like this reinforce my belief that I was very rich. My upbringing is a structure of love and appreciation for books, for art, for a family that made this a part of their lives because there was access to it – and that access is wealth.
So fast forward: working on my doctorate and homework at a coffee shop. I’m reading from electronic devices I never conceived possible or that I would own – the tiny structure of the netbook, the touchscreen of the iPad, far removed from that 1GB Hard Drive, 62 MB RAM ginormous desktop that persisted on into high school days. I’m listening to a classical music genre station on Pandora.
So in this fast forward, I rewind back. I wouldn’t be here without those hot summer days in that non-insulated San Gabriel Valley house, the stacks of books, the classical music stations on radio frequencies that have changed names more times than I remember.
I wouldn’t be here, writing this.