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Time travel with music happens every second of every day. A song comes across the waves and we’re back in the day we first heard it from the first beat onward.


Unfortunately I never hear the first song I ever played on a guitar.


Down In The Valley isn’t on any Top 40 List. I think it was a love song sung from jail. I learned it during lessons at Jansen’s Music in the Pony Village Mall in North Bend.

Not long after I learned to sing and play Down In The Valley I had a law enforcement moment of my own. Along with a time travel theme.


My mom hung my coat up on evening and found a small notebook she didn’t remember buying. The reason she didn’t remember? I stole it from Payless Drugs. Shoplifting was a threshold to hang out with the cool kids in fifth grade.


Richie Northrup’s dad managed Payless. My dad had an office in the mall.


Not such good planning for a heist, but it was fifth grade.


After my mom found the notebook she asked where I got it. I said a friend gave it to me. My dad got in on the case and called my friends dad, who asked his son why he gave me a notebook.


The truth was hard to track that night. I wasn’t telling it, neither was the king pin of the cool kids. Until his dad beat it out of him. While I listened on the other end until I couldn’t take it and confessed.


Instead of my own beating, which seemed like a good possibility, my dad called Payless and he drove us down to meet the manager.


It was sooooo awkward. I knew Mr. Northrup from playing with his kid. I also knew I’d never be invited back. My dad tossed me into the justice system and instead of the calling the police, Mr. Northrup banned me from Pony Village for life.


No more guitar lessons. It was a tough time. I didn’t even get to keep the notebook to record how sad I was. Talk about down in the valley, I was way down.


My older brother was supposed to do the stupid stuff so I would learn what not to do. Instead I gave my younger brother the retail store experience.


I remember those days whenever I hear the Bobby Fuller Four sing I Fought The Law.


PS: I didn’t have to break rocks in the hot sun.


The inspiration for this post down memory lane was the UCLA men’s basketball players who were arrested and held for shoplifting in China. Peer pressure is my guess.
What will their time travel song be?
About David Gillaspie


  1. Absolutely a great story and theme

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Thank you, Rob. I felt the shame and indignity of facing up to my bad decisions early. It made what came later so much easier.

      A smart man once said, “If people had more capacity to be shamed and change, we’d live in a better world.”

      Well, I’ve always been a leader in that race.


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