Do you remember your first 45?
If you are older than I am, the answer is likely to be yes. But if you are even a few years younger than me, the answer is likely to be “Huh?”
I don’t know where it came from, but the first musical (as opposed to story) 45 I ever had was Dionne Warwick’s “Do You Know the Way To San Jose?” single. I’d guess I was five or six at the time. I don’t ever recall listening to this song at home, but I recall quite vividly listening to it at my grandparent’s house in Spring Valley, New York. Whenever I hear the song, I am back there in that apartment, with the patio that faced Old Nyack Turnpike and the light filtering in through the blinds just so. I can see the furniture as it was in 1977 or 1978. I can feel the stringy carpet on my feet. And in the background, I can hear the crisp sound of this song playing on the record player with all of the pops and clicks concomitant with the device.
I had no idea where San Jose was of course. (Since then, I’ve been to San Jose countless times.) But I knew it was in California. I also knew that San Francisco was in California. Back then, there was a commercial on TV for Rice A Roni. “The San Francisco Treat,” the slogan went. The commercial showed a cable car cresting a hill in San Francisco. Somehow, the two became intertwined in my head so that I cannot hear “Do You Know the Way To San Jose” without thinking of Rice A Roni, and I cannot see a box of Rice A Roni without hearing “Do You Know the Way To San Jose” in my head. Strange how those things work, isn’t it?