This morning, as I sit at my picture window in the living room and watch the snow swirl around the trees and listen to the wind whistle and howl, I think back to my teenage years - years full of memories.

By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
This morning, as I sit at my picture window in the living room and watch the snow swirl around the trees and listen to the wind whistle and howl, I think back to my teenage years - years full of memories.
Today, though, I'm thinking about one of my most prized possessions when I was 16 years old. It was nothing fancy, and nothing special to anyone but me. But it was an old, lifelong friend.
The record player. My record player. You see, I have always been a music lover. Music can be magical, and it can take you places where you've never been. It can reach out and touch you, and before you know it, you are lost in the words.
I had a vast collection of 45 records, and a nice stack of my favorite albums. The record player had its place right beside my bed on a stand, with my 45s neatly stacked in the case and my albums on the bottom shelf.
There may be people reading this column today who don't know what a 45 record is, and who have never experienced the excitement of getting your allowance on Saturday and then walking to GC Murphy's in Piedmont to buy your favorite record! It was always something special to look forward to. Now, if you wanted an album, you had to save up your money. That took a while because I loved spending my money on the 45s the best, and it was hard to be patient for an album!
Donny Osmond, Bread, Jackson 5, The Stylistics, Aretha Franklin, Motown records, Kool & The Gang, Beach Boys, Tommy James, The Eagles, Chicago, Carole King, Bee Gees, Simon & Garfunkel, Bachman Turner Overdrive...oh my goodness! I wanted them all.
Sweet Sixteen - my record player ran non-stop when I was in my room! I can remember very clearly that there was a surprise sweet 16 birthday party that my dad refused to let me go to, and my friend Pam had to convince him otherwise. The stress of that day still remains with me to this day.
But, my dad gave in, and the party was extra special because it was when my first love asked me to go steady. When I got home that evening, love songs played over and over until I fell asleep. I was over the moon!
Months later, my first heartbreak would come when my steady told me he no longer loved me.  My record player soothed my broken heart with the saddest songs I could find.
The record player? Well, he spun the records depending on my moods. He carried me through that first heartbreak - playing music over and over to calm my tears. Music has always spoken to me that way.
When new love came along, the record player played a stack of 45 love songs...telling me in magical ways that above all else, even when you feel unworthy and rejected, music will lift you up and bring light and love when it is most needed.
That record player was my comfort in good times and bad. I loved the sound of each record as it played...the words so meaningful and true. As I mentioned, I did have a tendency to play the same record over and over, especially when it was a new purchase. I must have driven my parents nuts doing that!
Today, it is rare that young people would have a record player. In fact, most would say, "What is THAT?" Modern technology has brought all kinds of electronics into the world.
For me, though, I enjoy my CDs and YouTube, but my goal is to get myself a record player - and some records! It is my idea of quite the adventure! I hope to get some of my old-time favorites from the 50s, 60s and 70s and use that time for writing, and to stir up forgotten memories of my high school days.
I think back, and no matter how hard I try to remember, I have no idea what happened to that record player, or my record collection. Somewhere along the line I must have outgrown the need to listen to sad love songs, and I moved into adulthood and more important things.
Sitting in the rec room is my mom's and dad's old stereo that I used to play mom's old "Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass" album on, and I am bound and determined to see if I can get that in working order once again, too.
At this time in my life, I like to call up the things that made me happy and sad, for all of those things made me into the person I am today. My teenage years were a little rough - there was a lot of sadness and hurt - but there were also some very lovely and beautiful things that happened in those years...special people I will always remember.
And, although that record player was just an old piece of equipment that sat on a stand - it made the most beautiful music, and I was able to rise from the ashes of a broken heart and find the courage to become a woman, a mother and a Nana.
Thank you, Mr. Record Player, for the music that touched me, that encouraged me and kept me company in the darkness when I believed no one would ever find me worth loving.