The Old Gramophone

I am Mohammad, 64, from Iran; my wife and I have been in Glasgow since September 2015. When we came to Glasgow, we went to the Glasgow City Mission. I volunteered there and started to learn the English language. In 2019 I attended the Glasgow ESOL Forum and also, I could join in a photography class which always was my favourite.

Stay creative

Since I joined the Glasgow ESOL Forum, I learned a lot of things like the English language, photography, and book reading. In photography classes, I was so excited and got more experience and learned from the teacher (Gerry) and other learners about new styles and more knowledge and new ideas on how to take photos. If you get the camera and go to the park or a new area you can see from the small window of the camera how much beauty you can find along the way.
One of the best experiences was the book reading. I really enjoyed reading the books and it was the first time which I liked to write something. I deeply thank the Glasgow ESOL Forum and everyone who provided the opportunity. This is my first experience of writing a short story and poem:

The world is full of destruction
Not because of bad people
But because of the silence of good people

The Old Gramophone

I went to a museum a few weeks ago. As you know there are so many historical things in all museums, and I suddenly saw an old gramophone that took me back to my childhood. I was a very naughty and curious boy at the time, and my curiosity made me drawn to anything new I saw, and I thought it was a toy I should play with. It was then that I saw the gramophone for the first time, and with that big horn and its handles and the sound of the melody, I was convinced that this was a new toy, and I had to pick it up and make it sound anyway. 

My grandfather, who had just bought this new toy, was very careful. I did not know that my grandfather was watching this turntable from afar. When I was a kid, my family used to take a break after lunch. And I took the opportunity to quietly crawl into the living room where the old gramophone was, like a silent snake, but since I was little, I did not notice that my grandfather was watching. Glad to reach the room, as if I had conquered a large castle, proud and happy, I walked around the table to the old gramophone, which was an unknown toy to me. I looked at it with all curiosity and thought about it. I can play with it and hear its sound. 

I must have played with it and heard its sound. At that moment I did not even think that if the sound of a toy came, my parents and especially my grandfather would enter the room. After all, in childhood, the desire to play with it did not allow him to think. The grandfather who had seen me, worried that his favourite gramophone would be damaged by mistake, went slowly to the living room. He grabbed me from behind and lifted me off the ground. I was so scared and did not know what he wanted to do with me. Will he punish me? 

He, my kind grandfather, as soon as he realised that I was scared he suddenly lifted me from the ground from behind and hugged him, his kind and caressing hand on my head, and kissed my face and said: Do you like the sound of it? To hear? I nodded and said yes, I liked it and he helped and showed me how to turn it on. When the sound of the song came out of those trumpet speakers, which was very interesting and endearing to me, my grandfather was looking out the window.

The turntable had a large horn-shaped speaker and a large recorder and did not work with electricity, we just had to turn the knob to play the sound of music. The old two or three-speed tray had a big or small record; depending on its record I think the speed for the big record was 33. Historical things are very lovely and show us that time has passed and now everything has changed – we can only see that old gramophone in museums, now technology has changed, and you can listen to any song online.

By Mohammed Shemshadmehr

Our monthly flash theme for June consists of four themes!

This month, we’re celebrating Volunteer Week, Garden Wildlife Week and Adult Learner’s Week, as well as National Writing Day on June 23rd. Four themes, we hear you cry? Why yes! June is a month with lovely long days leading up to and after the solstice, so think of all those extra daylight hours you’ll have to write a flash submission (or two) for us:

  • Tell us about the creatures you find in your garden or your efforts to turn your outdoor space into a haven for wildlife.
  • Write something about your experience of being a volunteer and the joy you’ve found in volunteer projects.
  • Are you taking a course, doing a degree or training in something new? Tell us what it’s like to be an older adult learner.
  • Or, tell us something about your writing process, if you write regularly.

Entries will be accepted until midnight on June 30th and flash submissions can take the form of a poem, short story or flash memoir. The winning entry will be chosen by the Autumn Voices staff team and the winner will receive a copy of Louise Erdrich’s The Sentence which has been kindly donated by the Little Brown Book Group.

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