The Scene (#6): Christmas Break '94

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Christmas morning proved to be where a line was drawn in the sand. On one side of the tree were my gifts of countless baseball cards and sports memorabilia to add to my old collection. On the other side of the tree was my new Sony Discman and first three CD’s – Red Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Weezer’s self-titled album (“The Blue Album”), and my very own copy of Green Day’s Dookie.

That same Christmas break, I got my driver’s license!

“You can only borrow the car on nights when me or your sister don’t need it for anything.”

“You can only use the car if you fill it back up with gas at the end of the night.”

“You can only drive between here and your girlfriend’s house (1 ½ miles) and call when you get there.”

Once I nodded that I understood, I was out the door quick as lightning with keys in hand. I followed all the obligatory rules and within five minutes of placing my phone call, me and my girlfriend were out the front door, picked up our respective best friends (who happened to be dating each other), and were all on our way to…. Well, we didn’t know exactly where we were going, but we had the radio up and were jamming along with the Operation Ivy cassette my girlfriend had gotten for Christmas.

We drove around town for a while passing all the familiar spots; the ice rink, the video store, the playground, and the 7-Eleven – where we stopped off to grab some Mountain Dew and plan the next adventure.

“Let’s go to the record shop!” my friend Hippie exclaimed.

“ROLLING STONES?” I questioned, “Out by the mall? That’s like 5 miles away man!”

“I’ve never been there – c’mon dude, let’s go!” begged Hippie, a nickname he earned because he had long hair.

“I’ve never been there either,” my girlfriend’s best friend said.

“Me either,” my girlfriend said as she encouraged, “you’ll fill up the gas later tonight, so how will your mom ever know?”

Who am I to say no to logic like that? Plus, I hadn’t ever been to that record store either. I had only seen it from the road when we passed by on the way to the mall for my sister. The place was huge – one entire side of a city block – and as we stood in the open doorway to go inside, an entirely new world opened before us!  CD’s hung from the ceiling as decorations, neon band logos hung on the wall and flashed at us as we walked by, t-shirt racks littered the front half of the store, and rows and rows of CD’s went back as far as the eye could see and were full of anything you could possibly want and so many new bands just waiting to be discovered.

Who knew Green Day had another album called 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours?

There were more Clash CD’s then I could keep up with.

The Damned, Social Distortion, and all those Lookout Records bands I had been looking for since reading about them in the Kerplunk liner notes.

We didn’t have money to buy anything that night, but a new tradition of going to the record store on Friday nights was born!

YOUR TURN: Do you remember hanging out at the record store with your best friends? What was your favorite one to shop at? Tell us about it in the comment section below.


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