From Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause

Lost in the CD Aisles

If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average.

M. H. Alderson

With so many other decisions that were happening during my mood swings, hot flashes, and crying spells, finding a new vehicle seemed like a good change. That was, until I got to the lot with my husband. It wasn’t hard to find something that we liked, but leaving the old family van with all the memories became a bit of a problem for me. I cried all the way home from the dealership.

Although high in miles, the van was in good condition. But we were back to two people; the kids were on their own, and we didn’t need a large vehicle. Leaving that old van in the lot caused some unexpected feelings. I wasn’t just “leaving” the van, I was saying goodbye to special memories—all the years driving to and from baseball games and band practices and then moving our oldest daughter to her college dorm. This new, smaller minivan we just purchased wasn’t part of the family, and it didn’t even have a place for a cassette player! Now I would have to figure out this CD player! I really don’t like change at all.

I waited to purchase a CD until the very last thing on my list that day. I would have preferred the cassette. I remember making the change from records to cassettes, and it took me a while to get used to that!

“Get with it, Mom,” our son admonished over the telephone. “They have oldies on CDs now. Times are changing. You’ll love that new player!” he laughed. It wasn’t funny. My other cars had radios, and the last two had cassette players.

For that reason it made me wonder what I was doing in the CD aisles. I walked up to a salesclerk and asked, “Do you have anything by Johnny Mathis?”

“Is he country music or pop?” she asked.

“He isn’t either.” I couldn’t believe it. They didn’t know Johnny! “He sang ‘Small World’ and ‘Chances Are.’” I waited for a reaction.

“Nope, never heard of him.” She looked like she felt sorry for me.

“Okay, I’ll just look around a bit. Are these CDs the right size for a car player?” I asked.

“They are unless you have something we aren’t aware of. And they’ll work on your player at home too,” she smiled.

I looked for a name that I knew. There was nothing by Pat Boone or Ricky Nelson. What was this? I went to the aisle that said “pop tunes” and I was lost again! I saw a CD by Natalie Cole and asked another salesclerk, “Do you have anything by her dad, Nat King Cole?”

“Well, we can look his name up in the music archives,” she replied.

“Okay, I’m going to keep looking. Will you let me know if you find the old guy in your archives?” I wasn’t doing research for a hero from the Revolutionary War. Nat had died young, but I remembered his music.

I thought of all my records at home. My 45 rpm records never cost more than a dollar, and the LPs, depending on the year, were more. But these had $16.95 written on them, and I had never heard of the singers.

I thought I’d pick up the tempo a bit and try to find something by The Fifth Dimension, Burt Bacharach, or Dean Martin. I asked the young man next to me. “Do you know where the Dean Martin CDs are?”

“Is he that Italian dude? I think they have a section for foreign,” he said and walked away. I stared at the back of his head. Dean didn’t sing in Italian, he sang in English. Don’t these kids know the greats? I felt a panic attack coming on, and heat was starting to take residence in my face and neck!

My gal came back. “No, we don’t have anything by Nat King Cole, just Natalie Cole. Is there something else you’d like to find?”

I thought about asking if she had any Motown classics, but decided she might think I was referring to a new type of car.

“I think I’m all set,” I told the sales girl. I picked up a CD by Barry Manilow and tossed it into my cart.

When I got home, my hubby wondered how the shopping had gone.

“I felt like I was having a panic attack in the CD aisle,” I replied. “Do you think I’m asking too much to find an artist I know?”

“Dear, exactly how far back did your song search go?” He knew my love for the oldies. I didn’t comment further. One has priorities in life. I grew up during the ‘50s and ‘60s and belonged to a number of fan clubs. I was loyal.

The next evening, when my husband came home, he had a package for me. I eagerly opened my gift from the sweetest guy in the world and was overjoyed to see a number of CDs by some of my favorite singers.

“Where did you find these?” I asked.

“At a store near my office,” he said. “And now we’re going out to the minivan to learn how to work the CD player.” He grabbed a CD and my hand and led the way.

After we went over how to load the CD player, I told him I’d try it out, and he happily gave me the keys and stood aside. I was driving my new vehicle around the area when a song from my past came on the CD; it was, “Baby, You’ve Got What It Takes,” a duet by a couple of great singers. I opened all the windows and turned up the volume. I felt young again. I knew a hot flash might appear within moments, but right then I was allowing the breeze to kiss my cheeks. My soul felt happy. Perhaps that is the way it should be, to enjoy the moments of life and to cherish each one, however it comes.

Diane Dean White

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