Thursday, August 30, 2012

Remembering my old friend Ted Spangenberg on what would be his 95th birthday.

 Remembering my old friend Ted. I met Ted as a young man of 16 or so and knew him till the days of death. He was a wonder. A person that you rarely meet. He loved people and people loved him. He was not the cleanest, neatest, or well groomed person you ever met, but as far as I am concerned that had no importance at all.  He was to me a guardian angel who helped me through rough periods in my life. Because of him I am here today.

 It is also the anniversary of his death this month and I wanted to remember him as he has been gone now 18 years. Yet I still can hear that wonder laugh that was his and sense the ever powerful presence that was always his.

Dear Ted you are gone, but not at all forgotten...You will be with me till I assume room temperature. 

I found this wonderful article by another old friend i have not seen in ages, Lee Munsick.  Lee was a good friend too and part of the coterie that was in Ted's old piano shop. I  do not need to mention it as Lee does a wonderful job of explaining the times and the people who were there.  This piece was written 10 years ago but it is joy for me to read and remember all who are now long gone.

Ted Spangenberg, Player Piano HQ in Boonton, NJ
By Lee Munsick

Ed Chaban asked about this great little store on Main Street in
"Boonton USA" (the only Boonton there is).  "Ted" was Theodore
Spangenberg.  Originally he and Carl Thomsen were partners in the
store, until Carl passed away and Ted reigned unilaterally.

The shop sold player rolls, and used and rebuilt player pianos, and
parts.  But generally Ted was occupied with repairing and rebuilding
players, many kinds of talking machines, and often old radios.

Ted adored people, and loved to have a lot of them around.  Saturdays
were Open House time, and friends of Ted -- mostly in the player hobby
or business, but many just friends from many walks of life -- would
come for a little while or for hours.  They drank beer or soda, sang,
listened to the players or Ted's large collection of old recordings on
original machines, or joke around.  And laugh!  Ted's loud, infectious
laugh reverberated through the happy throng.  Like yawns, they were
quite contagious!

Every Autumn, Labor Day would see the big firemen's parade down the
street right in front of PPHQ.  There would always be a big crowd
in the store and on the sidewalk to enjoy the parade, and spend the
afternoon in conviviality, if not sobriety.  Christmas, New Year's Day,
Independence Day, and other holiday weekends would be the same:
a good excuse for a grand reunion.  Would that we could have another.

Ted Spangenberg had many friends and instigated many friendships.  I am
still in contact with many whom I got to know or know better there.

For several years in the 1970s, after the closing of our Yesteryear
Museum, many of our volunteer workers opened the Yesteryear Nostalgia
Shop.  It was next door to Player Piano Headquarters and across the
street from Olde Tyme Music Scene, run by our friend Don Donahue,
another lover of music and players and himself a bon vivant, wit,
and all-around great guy.  This conclave was a mecca for lovers of
recordings and mechanical music.

All are gone now.  Lost forever but long remembered is this marvelous
opportunity for many friends to congregate and enjoy the company of one
another.  I for one miss them all.

Ed, thanks for the memories.  Hope this fills you in and provides some
pleasant recollections for other readers who may have experienced
similar friendships and get-togethers in their own areas.

Lee Munsick