Avalon Town, the chamber pot and the Victrola

Memories of the Phonograph


As told by Frances Robinson Friday (McCloud, CA) for the Pioneer Press - Good News Edition 1998*


This event seems funny to me now, but at the time it seemed tragic.

We lived in the Old Parrot House, in Etna. Helen Friday, a high school friend, came down to do her ironing which was a lovely job.

My mother had the front room furnished real nice. There was a organ there and furnishings of the period. There was also a beautiful Victrola that belonged to the neighbor lady. She had moved and left it in our house for "safe keeping."

Helen settled down to do her ironing and I put a record on the Victrola called Avalon Town.

I sat down on the organ stool and Helen said, "Quit holding that low note. I want to hear the record."

"I'm not holding down any note."

We looked up and the light cord was on fire and making a low humming sound.

We panicked, of course, and started for the kitchen to get some water. I stopped and picked up the old chamber pot.

It had liquid in it since the toilet was on the back porch and my brother was too small to get there in the middle of the night.

We ran to the fire and Helen yelled, "Heave!" I can still see that body of water flying through the air, and where did it land? In the Victrola! But the Victrola kept playing.

I ran over to the Flour Mill and reported this to my Dad. He told me to watch the Mill, and he ran over to the house. I closed the Mill and ran over too.

The firemen had done their work. The entry hall was full of water and the rug was soaked.

The Victrola kept playing Avalon Town, so I knew it must be Okay.


LISTEN to Avalon Town, 1928



*Note: This story about a chamber pot and the Victrola captured first place and $75 in local newspaper contest in 1998. We have reproduced her story here and made her an honorary Friend of the Phonograph. Frances would meet her future husband Paul, the brother of her friend Helen.