The life and death of a beloved victrola

Who knows who made it or bought it,
or what loving hands brought it home in anticipation of music
and bought the single-sided pressed opera albums
to place lovingly in the cabinet below.
A Victor Talking Machine victrola
made in 1904
and passed down for generations
to settle in my mother’s apartment
where the little girl looked at it in awe
and ran her fingers along its curves
as she heard it sing
one sunny day.
Years passed and the madness came.
The apartment was lost and
the victrola was moved to a storage box
and then into a garage where the squirrels lived
and the winters frolicked in the cracks.
Soon the victrola began to crumble
under the weight of neglect and circumstance.
Still, it was beloved and so was moved to a smaller apartment
then to a storage pod
where it traveled hundreds of miles
until we found it pieces.

The victrola slumped in the corner and played sad music
melodies of ghosts and echoes and
sunny days that will never return.
The buckled wood murmured an opera it would never sing again.
We stood for a moment, then showed mercy.
We carefully dismantled the dear victrola
but kept a few souvenirs.
It once meant magic to a little girl
who carries the memories of its music
and who loves it still.

2 thoughts on “The life and death of a beloved victrola

  1. Lovely Katrina. Hope all is well there. Haven’t had much chance to comment but have been reading your stuff and thinking of you guys. Sounds like some emotional sorting going on.

    1. Thanks, Roshan. Sadly, this is nothing new since my mother’s schizophrenia landed on the scene about 20 years ago. Still, I’m giving myself permission to mourn the continual loss, which happens in bits and pieces with mental illness rather than all at once. I’ve been paraphrasing/misquoting Shakespeare in my mind for the last day: the mentally ill die many times before their death.

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