Celebrating 90 Years – Charles Cross Talks Music, Mugs and Cheap Furniture

by Charles Cross
February 12, 2013

When I began attending the University of Washington, and attempted to set up my first home as a student, I couldn't afford much. I furnished my entire apartment with items from Goodwill. Since I lived in the U-District, that meant carrying my dining room table onto the bus and hauling it from Dearborn to University Way. I got an odd glance from the bus driver, and the other riders, but no one was about to argue with a determined 19-year-old with a glare in his eye.

In the late seventies, vinyl albums were in abundance at Goodwill, and super cheap at twenty-five cents apiece if I remember correctly. At only a quarter you could take a risk on an LP you didn't know of, and that was how I was exposed to much of the jazz, folk and blues that didn't appear in my college buddies’ collections. Goodwill's selection, and prices, widened my appreciation of music and in a way made me a better critic.

Some of the cheap furniture I bought back then eventually came apart, but a few items still remain over two decades later. If you come to my house for tea, you are likely to be served your drink in a "1978 Drug Abuse Conference" mug. As a college student I found these castoffs, purchased in Goodwill for ten cents at the time, both hilarious and economical. I bought twenty of them, and two of them still sit in my kitchen cabinet, having survived ten moves and countless mugs of chamomile tea.



Charles R. Cross, journalist and author, is based near Seattle.  He was the editor of The Rocket, the Northwest’s music and entertainment magazine, from 1986 through 2000.

Cross is the author of eight books including 2005’s Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix and Heavier Than Heaven: The Biography of Kurt Cobain which was a New York Times-bestseller.

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