Lynn Burton

One thing I wish I’d done before my parents passed away: Asked them about my earliest memories, so I’d know if those events actually happened and know more about the circumstances surrounding those long-ago events.


I think I remember walking on a beach, looking down at my chubby bare feet, with the last spits of a filmy tide pushing in, then the wet sand absorbing the water and the tide was gone. I must have been a toddler. Must have been mom or dad maneuvering me along with my arms up. Must have been Corpus Christie, Texas.

I think I remember in Seattle on vacation, mom and dad driving past a store window with a row of black saddles. Must have been three or four because my younger brother Rod had not yet arrived on the scene. How did I even know what a saddle was at that age?

I think I remember going with mom and dad to a movie theatre to watch the Biblical epic “The Robe,” starring Jean Simmons, which included guest appearances by Richard Burton and Victor Mature. I think I remember looking up at a tall curtain in the doorway that separated the lobby from the dark theatre. The film was released in New York on Sept. 16, 1953, so I probably would have been two or three months shy of my fourth birthday.

A few other early memories float around and surface in my brain from time to time: Rounding a thick-trunked tree in a farmhouse lawn and coming nose to nose with a gigantic pig; screeching at a cricket in church and the preacher made some kind of comment (“You were scared of everything” dad once told me); being in a parking lot filled with hump-back cars from the 1940s when mom and dad brought home baby-brother Jan Rodney (who had the good sense at age 3 to make mom and dad start calling him “Rod.” I was too old to figure out the disadvantages of being burdened by a girl’s name until it was too late).

Anyway, those are a few thoughts brought on by turning 70 years old earlier this month.


Sometimes I feel more like 30 but that’s another story, and not a very interesting one. Glad I don’t have to do 40 to 60 again; 10 to 13 would be OK. You know how some folks say they wish they knew then what they know now? If I knew then what I know now, it still wouldn’t be enough to make much of a difference.

Getting back to memories, I remember when I was about 5 or 6, and Vicki Lassiter told us kids that in the future, everyone’s clothes would be made of paper. And at the end of the day, everyone would just rip them off. This image disturbed my modest sensibilities, as I was too young to understand the advantages such a breakthrough in the fashion industry could afford us guys.

Another memory: My piano teacher Wanda Washicheck teaching me boogie-woogie on the spinet in her living room. If you ever want to identify middle C on a sheet of music, it’s the fat man with a belt.

Music has been important to me since I first started taking piano lessons. I remember when I was 12 or 13, wondering what kind of music would replace rock ‘n’ roll. Rock replaced Big Bands and Swing, right? There would be nothing left to listen to, right?

Well, by the mid-1960s, blues, folk and other genres started taking hold with us Boomers, and we music freaks jumped on board. Fast forward past disco (which still sucks) in the mid-1970s, to Outlaw Country, the Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson’s one-of-a-kind “Big Science,” and other genres, styles, bands and performers too numerous to mention, and if you’re open to it good music is still there and waiting to be discovered. Reggaeton is near the top of my list these days.

Wrapping up, this 70 year-old guy has seen all kinds of new technology (phones that take pictures, disembodied voices hooked up to speakers that tell you the location of the nearest pizza joint, GPS devices in your car that can get you lost and dead).

For me, the most amazing technological advancement is the phone app called “Shazam,” which identifies music. Just stick your phone in front of your car speaker and Shazam will tell you the name of the song and who is playing it.

I Shazammed a couple of World Beatish songs on KDNK while getting zippered into the left lane coming into Glenwood Springs the other day. One song was “Deep Playa” by Dirtwire, and the other was “Siete” by Nicola Cruz.

I don’t know how the inventors will top Shazam but they probably will. The next 10 years could be interesting.

Lynn Burton is a retired newspaper guy who lives in Carbondale.