Jim Garner and Me
The first day of school, the next first day of life

Me, my brother, (and Dennis Wilson)

Yesterday the intro of this song came to mind and it took all night and this morning to remember which one it was.

I knew it was on my double album compilation by the Beach Boys, Spirit of America. I remember getting it in summer, 1975, from the Columbia Record House music club. That summer was very different for us; well, that season, my timing is fuzzy. It was the first time my dad moved out, and there were just three of us in the house, my mom, my second brother, and me. I was ten and he was sixteen. I don't remember much of him in that period of time beyond his surly attitude toward me. That summer, though, he was nicer to me than usual. The three of us spent a lot of extra time together. I have written down bits of it over the years, however, I was too disconnected from people early in life to have as many memories as I'd like. That's a tale for another time.

I bet he asked Mom to join the Columbia Record Club and she made him let me have some of the albums. But it's just possible we conjured the idea together, that year and no other. Only he thought I just wanted whatever he wanted, to annoy him or because I had no mind of my own, something like that, when in actuality, we just heard and recognized the same stuff. He got there first, and I took leftovers. And anything I listened to because he'd played it first, well, that was a compliment, even if he didn't know it then.

That subscription, however well or poorly it went, and I cannot speak at all to that, was my launch into record collecting. I had a fairly large collection by 1987, when most of it was stolen. But we won't discuss that. When we chose our eleven records for a penny, my brother got six and I got five. He got Wings: Venus and Mars Rock Show. I got Wings at the Speed of Sound. He got The Beach Boys: Endless Summer. I got The Beach Boys: Spirit of America. It's no wonder I seemed annoying to him. And I remember him telling me his Wings and Beach Boys albums were better than mine. They probably were, but I've always just adjusted to what I get to have, and so I liked mine best. I also chose two Captain and Tennille albums, and right now I don't remember the fifth one. I'm sure it was silly.

My brother introduced me to some great music over the years, as did my older brother and my parents. When I was a young teenager, he gave me Natalie Cole's Inseparable for one of my birthdays. Remarkably, it's one I still have, and I still enjoy it. When I was eighteen, he gave me five reggae albums, and I listened to them endlessly for the whole summer and beyond. But those were stolen later on.

Quite a lot of my record collection, in addition to albums and singles I chose myself in good taste and bad, were leftovers from the rest of my family. I still thank them in my heart pretty much continuously for the variety they taught me to enjoy, from my earliest memories. They didn't give me Frank Sinatra or opera, but I'm certain they led me to them both.

I wrote two more paragraphs here, only to realize they deserve a separate space.

My brother definitely gave me the Beach Boys, and I was just mad for them for many years. These days I hardly ever listen to them, except a few select songs, yet I'm always happy when I do.

I hadn't heard this song in many, many years, but it is the first track on the now-unofficial collection I had, Spirit of America. Carl plays so cool, but watch Dennis wail on the drums. Also, I guess they had to clock in under two minutes, because it's definitely played faster than the recording.


I had such a thing for Dennis. Oh, hush. You surely know something about me by now, even if you didn't then.