My Father's California Gold : Daydreaming A trip by Day to Day to the pawnshop remindeds Alex Cohen that gold had something to do with getting her to California--gold records, that is.
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My Father's California Gold

LONDON - APRIL 26: A Gold Disc belonging to Stevie Nicks is displayed at Christies before auction on April 26, 2007 in London, England. Photo by Stuart Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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Photo by Stuart Wilson/Getty Images

Reading about Shereen and Madeleine's trip to the pawnshop reminded me that gold had something to do with getting me to California—gold records, that is.

Though I like to consider myself a California girl, the truth of the matter is I was born in Manhattan. When I was about 8 months old, my parents took me on a trip to the beach in Key Biscayne, FL. As my mom recalls it, "we were sitting on the beach and I was watching you play. I realized that it was winter and I didn't have to stuff you into a snowsuit and then into an elevator and down to the street where you'd be eye-to-eye with the winos along Broadway & 72nd street. The realization that there were places that didn't have winter or elevators became really appealing."

As luck would have it, there was a job for my Dad at A & M records in Hollywood. Thinking that the warmer weather and safer environments of southern California would be a better place to raise me, my parents packed up all their stuff (including several cats and a St. Bernard) and headed west.

Some of my earliest memories are going to the office with my Dad and all of the crazy folks he worked with in the record industry. My dad did A&R and he fared pretty well at it. Over the years he amassed quite a collection of RIAA Gold Records.

I think my personal favorite was Styx's Return to Paradise... "Come sail away! Come sail away! Come sail away with meeeeeeeeeeee!" (Remember folks, this WAS the 1970s!) But mostly I just loved the way those records looked.

But eventually Dad grew weary of the record business—and of the gold records, too. One weekend we had a garage sale and he sold them to a guy who owned a record store in the San Fernando Valley. A collectible gold record can fetch over a $1000 today, but my father's all went for just a few hundred bucks.

To this day, I just wish I had been old enough to convince them to hold on to the gold records. Not to sell; I would have gladly hung them in my house.