Val's blog  11.22.13   




~ happy thanksgiving ~
note from val:  this week I'm a guest blogger for another
coming soon: our new iPhone app!



light the corners of my mind

misty, water-colored memories

of the way we were




can it be that it was all so simple then?

or has time re-written every line?

if we had the chance to do it all again 

tell me, would we? could we?




 (i was joking with these song lyrics, now I'm choking back the tears)






A San Francisco mom wrote to me a few months ago. 

She found me either through my NYT music matches or my Valslist blog, I'm not sure - but said she could relate...  Like me, she is a self-proclaimed music freak, a freelance writer and author of a music blog called "Midlife Mixtape ~ for the years between being hip and breaking one." (Best tag line ever.) We finally met when she had a business trip in Chicago; we went to Lincoln Hall (in Lincoln Park) and when we weren't listening to music we were talking about it. 


She writes funny concert reviews from a grown-up point of view, rating them with categories like "Age Humiliation Factor: Pretty low",  "The Crowd: Young, white and on their phones",  "Cool Factor: High", "Worth Hiring the Sitter: That's the rumor that's spreading". You get the picture. Witty + edgy = I like her. 


Once a month she invites a fellow writer (that would be me) to do a guest post for her feature "Still In Rotation" (where we write about a coveted album we grew up on, that we still can't live without.) This month it's my turn.  


My album choice is Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" which was released in August, 1975 - the exact month I transitioned from a high schooler to a college kid. That album was the backdrop to everything we did the next four years at Miami University, Oxford, OH.  Read my story about Bruce before he was The Boss.  (below)




First, the visual.


High school graduation
High school graduation June 1975
College drop off Aug '75
College drop off Aug 1975
In the dorm 1976
Frat house roof
Frat house roof  1977
Off campus housing 1978
Going to concert
Heading to a concert 1979
Now, my story.


Born to Run (1975)       (Val Haller guest post on


The tunes I listened to during my "formative music years" (high school through college) from 1971-1979 made such an impact on me that I started a music business at age fifty. The obsession started young with me; I was different when it came to music. The oldest of five, I distinctly remember every Thanksgiving-amidst the frenzy of relatives coming over, helping mom in the kitchen, my dad and brothers glued to football-how I would go to the cupboard and pull out the Christmas albums. Adding holiday music to the scene just made everything better.


In second grade I used to sneak over to my junior high neighbor's screened porch to listen to records with the older kids. I learned the F word from the Standells' 1966 hit "Dirty Water". My first 45 record (I was allowed to buy just one) was "Penny Lane" (Beatles) and "On a Carousel" (The Hollies). In high school my tape deck, turntable and stacks of vinyl occupied our living room floor (my mother was a saint) as I put together mixtapes for friends and events. If something required music, I was your go-to girl. And I never let go. Even when I grew up.


My kids (I have four grown sons) will tell you that family road trips included serious games of Name that Tune with my husband Mark. When I drove carpool we played Name that Band (okay, I made it up, but hey, it takes a village to make sure the kids in the hood are well-rounded.)


When Nancy approached me to write about my favorite album of all time I knew that would be impossible. Not the writing part, the choosing part. Then I had an idea.


                                                                                                             Read full post ...


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