One Dad’s Early Work

Two months after Roseanne Cash was born, her dad released his very first single with Sun Records. But before that, Johnny Cash was a refrigerator salesman:

During my mother’s pregnancy, my dad made half-hearted attempts to work as a salesman for the Home Equipment Company on Summer Avenue in Memphis. He was also studying to be a disc jockey. My parents lived in a tiny, bare apartment within walking distance of Dad’s workplace. His lackluster performance as a salesman may have had something to do with his reluctance to cajole or manipulate a sale. He once even talked a potential customer named Pat Isom out of buying a refrigerator in the store because it was “too expensive” and didn’t carry a good warranty. Pat was so impressed with Dad’s honesty that she engaged him in conversation and found out that he and his pregnant wife, Vivian, needed a new apartment that didn’t have stairs. Dad was afraid my mom might fall in her delicate condition, so Pat offered my parents half of her duplex at 2553 Tutwiler Street in mid-Memphis. It was also a short walk from the Home Equipment Company and about five miles from Sun Records, though at that time Dad didn’t know how large Sun would figure into the next few years of his life.

I love stories like this, mostly because I like to imagine my child waxing romantically one day about how I used to blog from bed without pants on, having NO IDEA HOW FAMOUS I WOULD SOON BE.

In all seriousness, Rosanne Cash’s essay about growing up in Tennessee, and leaving, and coming back, and leaving again is really lovely.

Photo: edenpictures



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