I suppose my father had been to previous AECT conventions, I don't really remember, but this year he decided to take the whole family. The 1976 AECT convention was being held in Anaheim, CA... the home of Disneyland.
I honestly don't recall a great deal about the experience. I remember an excruciatingly long bus ride from the Los Angeles airport. I remember riding the monorail. I don't recall any specifics about meeting Mickey Mouse but I must have met him at some point because I have his signature in a Disneyland autograph book somewhere. I remember visiting Frontierland and Tomorrowland and feeling like the only ride I didn't want to go on was Space Mountain - roller coasters I'm not into and I'm certainly not getting on one that runs in darkness. I also remember my father's friend and coleague, Clyde, (he was the first black man I ever knew - not that the fact has any relevance on the story) giving us all an extremely humorous rundown of the opening sequence of Jaws using the edge of the bed and my brother's Goofy doll.
The one thing I do recall most vividly, however, was my father winning a drawing. I didn't really understand where the prize had come from at the time. The concept of a convention to a nine year old at Disneyland is nonexistent. All I knew was that he met up with us at some point in the day and announced that he had won a collection of all of the Beatles records released to that point.
"Who?" I asked.
"Who are they?"
"A musical group. They're very popular."
I would have to wait until we got home to understand anything about this heretofore unheard of musical group. When dad put Meet The Beatles on the turntable and I Want To Hold Your Hand came bursting forth from the speakers, I was hooked.
I am not a Beatlemaniac but this was, perhaps, my first experience with Rock and Roll. Prior to this, my musical exposure was limited to the songs played between periods of editorializing by Watson Jelks on KRMG - a News/Talk radio station my father listened to during breakfast - and whatever was playing in the car which was quite often KBEZ, the local easy listening station. In some ways, The Beatles were my musical awakening and I have since learned of the significance of their contribution to
Several years ago, I came into possession of said Beatles records and have been promising my father that I would transfer them to a digital format. A few relocations and several reconfigurations later and not one of those albums has seen a turntable since I got them... until now.
For Christmas, my wife gave me a USB turntable. It means the sound goes directly from the turntable to the computer without having to place some sort of amplifier in between. While I have been on vacation, I have been spending some quality time with my father's Beatles albums and with each song it brings back memories of 1976, Disneyland, and a musical awakening.