It was after the turn of the new year, possibly right around my fifth birthday, that we moved again. The people who owned the Red House eventually found out about us living there, and we had to move out. This would the fifth place we'd lived in within the last five years, but this one was only just over a mile down the street. It was at 908 South J Street, a two-story house that was painted a sickly green color. Eventually, the house was painted about six months later, but was painted pine-green, with lime-green trim.
Three things had some pretty heavy and profound changes. The first was that the foundation of the family was crumbling; the cracks that appeared at the Red House had not been sealed, and were only getting worse as time went on. Indeed, in two years' time, the family would split right down the middle, never to patch up again.
Secondly, Angie and I met a kid in the neighborhood named Mitchell, and we were completely inseparable for the next few years. We got into all kinds of hijinks and mischief that would fill out a blog on its own, and memories of those times still put a smile on my face, all these years later. Sometimes, just being among the three of us was more fun and comforting than the atmosphere at home.
Lastly, the musical doors kept opening, and would keep doing so for the next five years in that house, and almost right from the start. There was a small place on 11th Street called The Music Exchange, just two blocks down from the house; it was a small place, but they had stereo equipment, loads of second-hand albums, and 8-Tracks for cheap, because nobody seemed to want those anymore. Dad even re-bought another 8-Track deck (and a bunch of tapes to go with it), but that didn't last too long, because some of the tapes would jam, stick or spew out their insides in the middle of playing. And so the emphasis went back over to the cassette format, where it stayed. But this place would be where I first took an interest in collecting albums.
Another place that opened up a little later was the Hilltop Pawn Shop on the corner of 11th and K Streets. It's funny now to think of a pawn shop carrying albums, but they once did, and there would be some good ones to find. Of course, some of them would have the previous owner's name scrawled onto them with Magic Marker on the labels and outside covers, sometimes even chiseled onto the covers with ballpoint pen.
In addition to lots of music I would discover, there would also soon be new ways of experiencing them as well that I never thought possible, or would happen so soon.