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  • I find it fascinating to watch my kids.

    Sure, I'm proud of them -- they are my kids and evolution clearly adds something innate to thinking that your kids are great -- but they're very different than their friends and its that uniqueness that holds me spellbound.

    My son Gabe is a lot like his mom in temperament. My ex-wife, Gabe's mom, is an intelligent, shy, reserved sort, and Gabe gets that from her. His big eyes, curly hair and pixie mouth also come from her. When she was pregnant with him, our first child, she would put the wiry headphones from her Walkman on her stomach and play him tapes. Since I was the music aficionado in the house, it was primarily my music he was exposed to.

    People of my generation are familiar with the problem of shifting musical media. What I had on LP's, I had to replicate on cassette tape. Or on 8-track if available. Then came CD's making my LP collection obsolete (although I miss album covers very much, but that's another story). Then the iPod was invented, and I had to either rip my CD's to iTunes or buy the album again as an MP3.

    So, it was inevitable that I would buy all of the albums of a band or artist that I loved and then have to replicate much of it in another medium if I wanted to have it in my car, my iPod, my office etc.

    I left the world of cassettes behind not long after Gabe was born, and in the process of converting my collection over to either CD's or, later, MP3's, some of my collection was left behind.

    Not long ago, we were riding in my truck listening to XM Radio and a song from Steve Hackett, the former guitarist of Genesis, came on. The song is called "Spectral Mornings" and the album bears the same name. It's an ethereally beautiful song, and I recall using it to start my radio show when I was a DJ on our college radio station.

    I glanced over at Gabe and he had the most peculiar look on his face. I'm paraphrasing the conversation, but it went sort of like this:

    Me: Everything OK?
    Gabe: What song is this?
    Me: Spectral Mornings by Steve Hackett, the guy from Genesis?
    Gabe: Do I have this album? Do you?
    Me: I have the LP but I doubt you have it. I don't know if it's sold on iTunes or not.
    Gabe: I know this. I know this song.
    Me: I haven't had a turntable in many years. Maybe you've seen the LP?
    Gabe: No, I've heard the music.
    Me: Huh.

    End of conversation. As we arrived at his mom's house, he rushed inside to look through my LP collection (which I left there to benefit him and his sister). I was chatting with my ex and I mentioned the incident in the truck. She got a very peculiar look on her face.

    Gabe came back into the room with the LP, a bit worse for wear. More paraphrasing:

    Gabe: Here it is. But I'm sure I've never played this record
    Mom: No, but I had the cassette of that album.
    Gabe and Me: You did?
    Mom: Yes, I used to play it for you when I was pregnant.
    Gabe: (Thoughtful Silence)
    Me: Really? I don't remember having this on tape. Do you still have it?
    Mom: No, it broke right after Gabe was born. I haven't even thought about this since then.

    What's the likelihood that my 20 year old son would remember a song from when he was in utero? Especially since the song, album and artist are - unfortunately - very obscure?

    A lump in my throat every time I hear it.

    Photo Credit: Elly Levy

    Song: "Spectral Mornings" by Steve Hackett
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