January 29, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Memorabilia

I'm currently a fundraising chair for one of the non profit groups I work with. I've been combing through my possessions to see if anything I own is valuable enough to donate and earn funds for some of the charities I work with. I stumbled upon something that is so valuable to me, but not so valuable that they weren't packed in a box for over five years.

In other words, uncovering these possessions of mine took me back to one of the most special times of my life. It was the mid 80s and I had just graduated from high school. The most played songs on the radio were ones from Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA album. My rock and roll groupie fantasies were on fire. I had been a fan since I was barely a teenager, when he released his previous album, The River. (Nebraska notwithstanding, as it was not played on the radio at all, nor did the internet exist. I had no idea there was an album between then).

Admittedly, a lot of fans have followed him longer, and may be tempted to call me a poser. I am a product of my age. As soon as I was old enough to really pay attention to music, Bruce Springsteen caught my attention. And thanks the great folks at Columbia House Record Club, for only 1¢ plus shipping and handling, within a few months, all his older music also became mine.

I was able to get concert tickets that soft infested summer after my first year of college. We sat in the old Cleveland Stadium, on the field, in the second second of row AA, approximately 80 rows back on the field. I spent the entire concert straddling between my boyfriend and his best friend Terry's shoulders as they tried to help me see over the masses. The mid 80s were the summers of arena rock and at times it wasn't so much about the concert but the universal experience. That was how I felt that night. I was witnessing history.

Believe it or not, only the really brazen folks smuggled in cameras or recording devices. Obviously cell phones that did everything had not been invented, in fact, unless someone was willing to disguise themselves as pregnant, the size of the portable phones those days would not be something to conceal easily. I know one fellow who smuggled an instamatic camera in his sock and got photos that looked like they were taken through that same sock. 

For the next few years of my early college career, I regularly combed the record stores with a great friend of mine. We were so proud that we found an early bootleg double album of Springsteen songs called "You Can Trust Your Car", direct from Kornyfone record label. Our joy quickly diminished when we listened to the album. If my friend's photos looked like they were taken through a sock? This album sounded like it was recorded through one.

You Can Trust Your Car

Because memorabilia was so difficult to come by, it was a big deal whenever we could get our hands on some. In this day of instant Internet access, there is a picture or recording of anything I ever wanted to hear.

Back to the premise of this post. I have these great photos. I don't know whether they would be valuable to anyone but me. If I were a collector, I would want them. I'm not a collector, although I remain a fan. I don't need to see the pictures to love the music. The photos were taken before I was old enough to attend his concerts, when he used to play a small music club venue in Cleveland, Ohio, called the Agora. His concerts there were legendary and said to help launch his career. I don't know who took them and the story of how I have them is somewhat convoluted.

A friend knew I was a crazy Springsteen fan. In her older sister's stuff in their parent's attic were these photos, long forgotten. She had gone up there to find an old yearbook and saw them and figured they'd never be missed so she gave them to me. Nobody knew I had them and nobody ever missed them.

Now I wonder if the memories are more valuable than the photos or if those same photos could bring some of my favorite charities a well needed injection of cash. Readers? Help me figure out what to do. Any proceeds I make will be donated, but I don't even know if they are valuable to anyone but me.

Springsteen in the 70s

Springsteen in Cleveland 70s


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