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A Strange Story by Marie de Benoit
My first owner’s name was Henry Cord. He was an extremely gentle man. He had a magic touch that made me shiver each time he touched me. His eyes were very keen, sharp. He never did a wrong move. He placed my needle exactly in the right place every time, as if he had done that all his life. It must be said that Henry was a man of experience and in his prime when he purchased me or, should I say, adopted me.

It was in the nineteen thirties, eight months after my being created, that he discovered me. I was conceived in a small mountain village in Switzerland. My destiny was, of course, to be sold. During the first eight months of my existence, I was placed on a workbench in a charming little shop in the village. Many people wanted to buy me, but I was a bit too expensive. I was so bored there, alone on that workbench with nobody to make me play.

But then, one day, Henry opened the door to the shop. It was love at first sight. I did everything so that he would take me with him. He was discussing my price with the shopkeeper. During that time I winked at him, tried to charm him to make him yield. The shopkeeper gave him a special price, a reduction of one hundred Francs. Thus Henry took me with him. I was a bit annoyed with the price reduction nevertheless. Frankly, I was really worth the initial sum, probably more. But Henry made me forget all that because he was so perfect with me…

It was true happiness. He placed me in the living room, well in sight of all who came to visit him. Every night he made me play. It was marvelous. Also, when there were festivities such as Christmas or anniversaries, I played all day long. I could watch all these joyful people, smiling because of the sound that I produced. They were the most beautiful moments of my life.

But then one day Henry became ill. He seemed to get better after a while, but something had changed. He still enjoyed my sounds and I could see they relaxed him, but he was getting weaker by the day. I was giving him the best of myself so that he would not let go, for him to continue to play me… but what had to happen, happened. He died.

After that tragic event I was left alone in the apartment. Nobody ever came by to take care of me. I missed my Henri so much.

Then one day, Henry’s nephew, Paul Cord came by to clear the area. He took me and placed me in an attic, as if I were just a useless thing! Among the dust and the spiders. It was terrifying. I had never known such a dirty and smelly place. I remained there for a good twenty years and I got weaker and damaged. Paul came regularly to add objects to his attic and threw them one on top of each other. One day I was even smashed by a pair of shoes. I thought my end was about to arrive. A horrifying experience. Death seemed so near.

Then, luckily, luckily for me, Paul died. His children came by to sort out the attic. They decided to organize a sale of all the useless stuff. And yes, I was part of these useless “things”….

It was thus, in 1994, that I happened to find myself on a sidewalk full of other things. There was a lamp – very nice and warm -, and also a book – very knowledgeable –, and some silverware –borderline arrogant. It is not easy to make friends when you are an object …
Then, a man with a passion for sound and phonographs came to stroll around the sale, “just to have a look,” he told his wife!
He saw me, looked at me, put his hand out to touch me. I felt a wave of emotion filling him. His decision was taken. I was to become his. The trip to his house was full of expectations. He placed me in a big car with a bunch of other objects found at the sale. At first, before arriving to his home I thought he was living in a museum… but no, this man who’s’ first name is Pascal, lived in a pleasant apartment near a lake. He had a special room for his phonographs. Oh what joy! Beings similar to me…. For the first time in my life, I saw other phonographs. Bliss! He placed me in that room with them.

Since then, I’ve been here and I’m fulfilled. I have a room full of friends. At night, concealed, we tell each other amusing stories. We try to be discreet so that nobody hears us and giggle a lot. Now and then Pascal makes us play and tries to repair us. Yes, because we are old…. We all had strange lives. My story is quite a happy one compared with some of my friends’. Maybe one day, depending on the circumstances, I will tell you their stories.

If I am telling you all this, it’s so that you won’t forget that even objects have souls and feelings. Please don’t leave us just anywhere. That may harm us.

If one day you don’t know what to do with your phonograph, give it to Pascal!


This is a story specially created for Pascal Frioud – a phonograph fan – by Marie de Benoit on 12.09.07.
http://www.compagniefraisebleue.ch/

  •   See also


  •   Phonograph echo
What does one know about the Phrynis mark?
Soundbox Phrynis
Show Room
A tribute to Ruth Lambert by Elisabeth Jobin
The mythic Exhibition soundbox and the Swiss copy
How many times can I use a needle ?
Duropic or Everplay
News
Small Swiss brands
Noël 1932 - étrennes 1933

Expo Baud Museum, L Auberson
5'147'276e visite