Week Thirty-seven: Kathy Benson

Kathy Benson - Week 37 - Photo

What’s the first thing you bought with your own money?

I don’t recall exactly what the first thing I bought with my own money was, but I know where a good amount of my allowance and babysitting money went when I was in junior high. I used to love to go to a local record store every week and pick out one or more 45s. I would usually buy one of the latest Top 40 hits, including some of my favorite rap songs back in the day, such as Super Sonic by J.J. Fad, It Takes Two by Rob Base and D.J. E-Z rock and ballads such as Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison and The Flame by Cheap Trick.

Another highlight of my trips to the record store was getting a copy of that week’s Billboard Top 40 list, which often included song lyrics to one of the hits on the backside. I thought it was so cool and interesting to read the lyrics of various songs, many of which I found inspiring and sometimes the words weren’t exactly what I thought I was hearing when I listening to the music.

I remember going to weddings for family and friends at the time and being fascinated by the deejays. I thought they had such a cool job and would fantasize, even practicing on my own at home, about doing something like that when I grew up. I would make mix tapes for friends and social gatherings that would include mostly fast and fun dance songs, with a few slow jams (as we referred to them) intermingled for variety.

I still have my entire 45-rpm and 33-rpm record collection, as well as those of some family members who were ready to purge their old favorites. We have a small record player in our basement and though I rarely listen to them, I like knowing that I can anytime.

So much has changed with technology and the music industry since then. Now when I want to buy a new song or album, all I have to do is call it up on iTunes and with the click of a button I can hear it on my iPhone and/or computer. Gone are the days of manually changing the record or making and listening old school mix tapes, unless I am feeling nostalgic. That practice has been replaced with iTunes playlists and now and then listening to a CD, though I rarely do even do that anymore, since we have downloaded our entire collection to our computer and iPods.

Earlier this week I got out my 45s to take the above photo for this post and was instantly transported back in time as I browsed through them. So many of the titles bring back visceral memories of the period in my life when I listened to them regularly. There is something special about the sound and experience of listening to a song on a record player, which I will always appreciate, even as we move further into the age of digital music.

What’s the first thing you bought with your own money?


Kathy Benson is a bereaved and blessed mom, writer and group fitness instructor trying to live mindfully and find joy in the journey after dealing with secondary infertility and loss for five years. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and two living children.

Kathy blogs at Bereaved and Blessed. You can also follow Kathy on Twitter @BereavedBlessed and her Facebook page.



3 thoughts on “Week Thirty-seven: Kathy Benson

  1. Wow, that’s awesome that you stil have all of those! I still have shoeboxes full of cassette tapes–funny how they outlasted the CDs!

    I love how you mention reading the lyrics. It was always fun to learn the actual words when they were sometimes so far off from what my friends and I would sing!

    The first thing I bought with my paycheck from McD’s at 17 was a gold herringbone necklace, like all the cool kids had. I was so proud of it!

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