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Nostalgia reigns alongside vinyl on Record Store Day

A group of people who waited hours outside of Jet Age Records in Newport is finally let inside on Record Store Day.
Jolene Almendarez
A group of people who waited hours outside of Jet Age Records in Newport is finally let inside on Record Store Day.

I'm first in line wearing my Taylor Swift cardigan at 4 a.m. in front of Jet Age Records in Newport. An hour later, more Swifties join me to wait in line on Record Store Day. We pop out camping chairs and blankets and wait for a chance to buy a limited release of Swift's two-sided, 7-inch vinyl of "The Lakes," my favorite song from her 2020 album folklore. Only 10,000 copies were made, and Jet Age Records landed 10 copies — more than many other shops in the area.

In the age of immediacy — online concert queues, drones delivering groceries, and meals just a tap away — waiting in line for hours to get a coveted item feels like a thing of the past. But people do it every year trying to snag limited editions of vinyls.

Jennifer Enscoe said it reminds her of standing in line for concert tickets in college. She remembers waiting hours to get tickets to a Prince concert and spent part of a spring break in college lined up to see Train.

"I think there's an appreciation that happens ... from the experience and from giving up hours of your time or getting up at 4 a.m to come wait in line for something," she said. "The work that you put in — and just like anything — when you work for something, it's a little more special. The experience adds something to the event."

It's an experience she's passing on to her daughter Braylan Enscoe, who's 17, and the reason they're waiting in line for a Taylor Swift record.

"There's a feeling that you get when you get something for the first time and you hold it and you have in your hands and it's this instant relief that like, 'Oh, I got it — finally,' " she said. "And it's not [the same as] waiting for it in the mail or getting it online, which is not as special, for sure."

Jolene Almendarez
Jennifer and Braylan Enscoe waited in line three hours to get a copy of the limited release vinyl "The Lakes" by Taylor Swift on Record Store Day.

For the next few hours, we're joined by more Swifties and others looking for different exclusive records by artists like The Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell, and The Ramones.

Just before 7 a.m., co-owner Mike Schraer walks out to get a feel for the crowd, congratulating the Swifties who made at the front of the line and chatting with some of the shop regulars.

That includes Tony Phillips, who was in line a little bit after 6 in the morning. At 55, he still remembers some of the first vinyl records he listened to growing up.

"That's where my love of The Beatles started. I remember having the single of 'Yesterday.' I also remember lots of Four Seasons. My siblings are really into The Four Seasons," he recalled.

He went back to vinyl years ago after moving through cassettes and CDs.

"I rediscovered the joy of listening to music and the whole joy of finding the album, buying the album — the feel, the smell of the album, the sound of the album. And so, now I'm pretty much exclusively vinyl again," he said.

Hear from Jet Age Records Co-owner Kevin Schraer for more on nostalgia.

Shortly after Schraer checks on the crowd, he opens the door. I accidentally rush right past the Taylor Swift release and have to circle back when the Enscoes find it first. They hand me a copy and look through other records for their collection.

More people file through and the distinct flap of plastic covered albums being flipped through fills the shop.

As of Sunday, the Taylor Swift limited release was being resold online for $150-$1,000. But I and the first dozen or so people in line Saturday rushed home to hear our new vinyls play with the occasional pop.

For those who like to dabble in the world of nostalgia, there's another chance to queue up for the things you'd love to have soon: Free Comic Book Day is May 7.

Jolene Almendarez is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants who came to San Antonio in the 1960s. She was raised in a military family and has always called the city home. She studied journalism at San Antonio College and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Public Communications from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She's been a reporter in San Antonio and Castroville, Texas, and in Syracuse and Ithaca, New York.