Sunday, May 1, 2016

My own 1984 with Prince at Silverman's


That's where it happened in 1984.

As a 10-year-old lad, my mom gave me the go ahead to get something at the discount store on Turney Road in Garfield Heights, Ohio. I searched the store and came up with two cassette tapes — Prince's "Purple Rain and Van Halen's "1984."

I couldn't make a decision on which one to get, and I brought them to my mom. I'm pretty sure she didn't look at the covers of the albums and suggested, "Why don't you get them both?"


The first two albums I ever bought as a human being were Purple Rain and 1984 at Silverman's across the street from my home. I'd say those albums have held up over the test of time, although I am a much bigger Prince fan than Van Halen, and I must say I don't mind my taste as a 10-year-old.

Obviously, Prince has recently passed away, and, of course, I have been listening to THE PURPLE ONE. But strangely enough, Prince's death has made me think a lot about where I got "Purple Rain." It's made me think about Silverman's and the loss of regional stores and when corporations were not the size of countries.

Dig if you will this picture: The scenario of walking into Silverman's and buying two cassette tapes is completely gone. Silverman's: Gone. Cassette Tapes: Gone. Prince: Gone.

It is shocking to realize that the human being outlasts stores and technology, but it does. We do.

Cassette tapes — there will never be a movement to make 'em cool. They do not have better sound quality than an LP, a CD, an iPhone, anything really. But they were precious to me back in the day.
I didn't realize it, but Silverman's was only in the Cleveland area. The last remaining Silverman's closed in January 2015 in East Cleveland, a poor part of town.

A Walgreens is in the space Silverman's used to be at 5090 Turney Road. Another regional store in Ohio — Marc's — remains popular with 60 stores in the state. It's more of a grocery store, but has odds and ends, too, and strange payment methods. Only the Discover Card, checks or cash are accepted at Marc's. I tried to pay with my regular credit card once and got a glaring stare from a cashier that said, "What the hell is wrong with you?"

In essence, the time of Prince and "Purple Rain" was my "Wonder Years." At the time, I didn't think much about being able to walk across the street to school, or walk to Silverman's, or walk to Tasty's Pizza for a pizza sub or Peter's Market to pick up kielbasa for my mom or the valhalla of all pizza — Italian World.

The year 1984 was a world away — 32 years ago. By the way, George Orwell's "1984" came out in 1949 — 35 years before its title's year. Maybe it's time for another dystopian novel. This one could be called "2050."

In 2016, we're much more connected with our iPhones, iPads, Facebook, etc. There's really no need to develop relationships with anyone in places within walking distance. Heck, there's really no point in being walking distance to anywhere.

See, our lives are vastly improved now.

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