Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Friday, February 24, 2012

Of Dickens and eBay and Enid, Oklahoma ...

I've written here before about Charles Dickens, whose Great Expectations sent the 9th-grade me immediately into the arms of Morpheus when our teacher, Mrs. Browning (at Hiram High School), assigned the book; yes, every time I allowed my eyes to roam upon those pages in our anthology (Adventures in Reading), they slowed, stopped, closed, stayed closed for a while.

Bad enough to assign that book--but then Mrs. Browning also had the temerity to give reading quizzes, just about every day.  (My performances on them were consistent--that I can say.)

Well, years later, I (sort of) grew up and came to love Dickens and read all his works.  And then ... writing a piece about Dickens, I remembered a set of records we owned in Enid, Oklahoma (that boyhood Shangri La), home of the now-defunct Phillips University (where my grandfather taught, where my parents met, where my father later taught before moving to Hiram College in 1956).  Making those particular records--78 rpm--was one of my dad's Phillips U colleagues, Earl W. Oberg, Professor of Expression and Dramatic Art.  He had memorized Dickens' A Christmas Carol and went all over the place during the holidays reciting it for very receptive audiences.  After he'd been doing this for thirty years, he decided to make a record of it with his wife, Ida.  An Enid radio organist, Ken Wright, wrote the music.

As I said, my family owned those records, but they are long gone.

So one day--about ten years ago?--when I was writing about Dickens, I decided to take a look on eBay for those records.  No luck.  (I'd tried all kinds of other sources, too.)  But I used that eBay feature--the one that lets eBay know you're interested in a particular item, and when that item becomes available through one of the eBay sellers, they send you an email.

Well, as I said, I'd forgotten all about it.
Hoppy looking dazzled at my trigger speed

And then this morning--while your Dawn Reader was doing some dawn reading at a local coffee shop--here came an eBay email.  A set was available.

I pulled the trigger so fast it would have dazzled Hopalong Cassidy.

Won't tell you how much.

Okay, it was over $60.

When the records come, I'll listen to them for the first time in more than a half-century.  And I'll let you know.  Maybe I'll figure out a way to put a bit of it here via an MP3 file.  We'll see.

And the moral of the tale is?  Sometimes it pays off to have great expectations ...

Almost forgot my crass afterword: gotta mention, again, my bio of E. A. Poe, now available through Amazon/Kindle:
the eBay photo

1 comment:

  1. Hello from Atlanta. Great story. My grandparents (McClellan) and mother (Betty) had one of these record sets, too, which I recently inherited. If anyone out there is searching for a set, I would be happy to sell my set at a fair price. Just email me via Nicholas [dot] Wolaver @ gmail [dot] com. Happy listening!