A Found Treasure of a Lost Childhood Joy by Carrie Aulenbacher

The following is a heartwarming ‘Found Treasure’ story from Carrie Aulenbacher.  Please leave comments for her below and visit her website; as if you love this story, you may find yourself lost in others over at Carrieaulenbacher.com.   

found treasureWhen I was young, I absolutely adored my grandparents and our weekly visits to their house.  After a family dinner, my grandfather would let me play his records in the front room.  For a young girl just discovering a world of music, it was a favorite treat.  From his vast collection, one in particular that stands out in my memory was my favorite, Tom T. Hall ‘Country Songs For Children’.  Country music was big in our house and his funny songs fit right in at the time I grew up in the mid 80’s.  I’d often find myself singing them during the week as I waited for the weekend.  They were sweet, funny, easy to remember…

As time went on, it got lost and I outgrew it. I discovered Johnny Cash through my father.  Over the years, I forgot the title of that early album by Tom T. Hall. I had convinced myself years later it had been a Johnny Cash album ‘Everybody Loves A Nut’.  It was an equally light-hearted album of silly simple songs.  Ever have one of those memories of yours get crossed with something else in your mind?

Upon cleaning out my grandmothers estate many years later, all the vinyl in their home was given to me.  Eagerly, I quickly scanned the titles in search of that old Johnny Cash album I’d wistfully been sure was from my childhood.  But it wasn’t there.  Polkas, Sinatra, Brad Swanson were all there…but no childhood album.  In the midst of hundred of titles, however, was a well loved Tom T. Hall record.  It didn’t look familiar and I only put it on for a lark.

I was shocked to listen to it a lifetime later.  ‘Sneaky Snake’ and ‘Little Baby Goat’ flooded my mind and reminded me that it hadn’t been Johnny Cash after all!  To sit and listen to it all over again was as if I’d gone back in time.  I truly felt like I had gotten back a forgotten memory by going through those children songs.  There, in my den, I yipped along to ‘Mysterious Fox Of Fox Hollow’ like I was seven years old again!

When I got to ‘I Care’ the tears began to flow.  My father used to sing it to me when I was young, but he would change the words to ‘Hi, Care’ because my name is Carrie.  After a long day, he would come home and that would be the first thing he’d say to me.  “Hi, Care!”  In a sing-song way, just like the Tom T. Hall song.  I can barely type about it without getting wistful and hearing it, to this day, causes a tear to come to my eye.  There, in my hand, finally, was the link to that memory and how it all began.

I got back such a treasured memory through that old vinyl record.  I learned that Tom T. Hall has been an earlier influence on me than Johnny Cash, and maybe even a more fundamental one at that.  I was never as glad to have been mistaken over a memory as the day I found my favorite childhood record.



Thank you for sharing your beautiful and heartfelt memories, Carrie.  Gifts like those are some of the truest treasures.  I’m so glad you found the album, and that it continues to bring such joyful tears!  There are certainly days we need those.  Thanks again for sharing. 

Please visit: Carrieaulenbacher.com for more of her writings and adventures.

And if you have a Treasure Story to Share, please let me know!  (more info here: Share your Treasure Story)


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32 Responses

  1. JL says:

    Carrie thanks for sharing. Amazing how a song can take us so far back in time in just an instant. Some of those are my favorites also. Streets of Lorado by Marty Robbins and El Paso are some of my favorites.

    • Carrie says:

      Glad you enjoyed, JL! As the years pass and things change in life, I find I cling to that music more and more. I must have ten Marty Robbins albums in my collection as well. Now you’ve got me singing ‘160 Acres’ in my head!

  2. Twingem says:

    Years. Beautiful memory that has come full circle. Thank you for sharing with such grace and vulnerability. Happy Holidays!

    • Carrie says:

      Thanks for checking it out, Twingem! 🙂 From the perspective of adulthood, I see now that not everybody had experiences like that in their own childhood. It makes me appreciate my family so much. Wish I could share that feeling of being loved and nurtured with all the hurting inner children we hide inside ourselves…

  3. pdenver says:

    Great story, Carrie. Thank you for sharing this treasured memory with us.

  4. ROLL TIDE says:

    Ahh yes… who could ever forget The Storyteller.
    I love little baby ducks, old pickup trucks
    Slow movin’ trains,
    And rain.
    It would be hard to pick a favorite song from him. he had some good ones. Funny, I quoted Faster Horses on a thread just a few days ago.
    I suppose Old dogs and Children and Watermelon Wine
    and Clayton Delaney would be my two favorite.

    The year that Clayton Delaney Died, is storytelling at it’s finest, imo. Every time I heard it , it would somehow make me feel I was right there.

    • Lia says:

      Spallies…No luck for me either with establishing database connection at dal’s. They don’t allow me to post so I don’t visit much anyway.

      Warmest wishes to everyone!

    • Carrie says:

      My 3yr old took to ‘Faster Horses’ because his Papa sings the line ‘more money’ in a humorous voice! All these years later I can see how he helped me fall in love with music by making it fun. That he has the chance to do it with my child now just makes my heart want to burst!
      Thanks, ROLL TIDE, we sure need more storytellers in today’s music industry. That’s for sure!!

  5. Nate Beck says:

    This is cool/ I’ve been a life-long (so far lol) Johnny Cash fan, and feel the same way about his influence in my life. Music is a powerful thing.

    Fitting, though, that Johnny and Tom T. Hall actually did some numbers together!

    Thanks for sharing Carrie, and Jenny 🙂

    • Carrie says:

      Thanks for the comment, Nate!
      I’m not sure that they did songs together (although there is this YT clip of a medly they performed at one point)

      And his website says he wrote songs that Johnny Cash recorded…but other than that, I’m not finding where they did stuff together ‘together’. Although, if my memories of the two records can get intertwined, maybe someone somewhere can digitally get these two together somehow!

      Nice to meet a fellow hardcore Cash fan, btw!

  6. ACE says:

    Nice story. Thanks for the share Carrie.

  7. Hunny says:

    Carrie and Jenny, thanks for sharing!
    It’s so special when you find a connection like that to your grandparents and your childhood!
    Jenny, LOVE this site!

    • Carrie says:

      Thank you for the comment, Hunny!
      Nice to have that song to take me back, seeing as how the house is sold and they are both in heaven now.
      Tom T. Hall helps me be a time traveler! 😀

  8. Bailey says:

    Thanks Jenny and Carrie,
    One on my favorite memories is a Ray Stevens record my grandparents would let us play. They would “let us” play it. So funny. Just to give you an idea about my grandparents, my grandmother became her church’s organ player at age 16 and never missed a Sunday for 50 years. 1946 thru 1996. She finally got so so sick they held her down and she missed a Sunday playing. I was a big deal for her. My Grandad was really hardcore though. Navy man. Gunner on a Battleship. Shot down a lot of Zero’s and didn’t like to talk about it. Anyway, they would let us play a Ray Stevens and it was a really big deal for them. Very Racy. We laughed so hard I guess they couldn’t resist it. To this day, when me and my oldest brother talk on the phone, we begin with “It’s me again Margret, are you naked” or “How did you get that big ole Harley up there on the high dive Roy?’ These are Treasures. The lyrics to the silly songs we grew up to are treasures. Jenny knows it. That’s why she is dynamite. (and a treasure)

    • Carrie says:

      Bailey, awesome story! God bless your grandparents!
      Those kinds of inside jokes with a family member are the best – after a rough day, to slip into a Ray Steven’s line like that must make things feel even just a little bit better. 🙂
      It’s a shame some of the kids growing up today don’t have things like that to create their own memory treasures.

  9. Bailey says:

    “Everybody loves a nut” Carrie. Great story. Thanks.

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