It took 41 years and eBay to reunite me with my first love. I was 13 when I saw her and I was instantly smitten. She had graceful, subtle curves and a long slender neck and weighed just over seven pounds. This relationship was with a guitar. It was an entry-level electric -- a 1970 Gibson Melody Maker, similar to the iconic SG which had famously been used by Eric Clapton and Duane Allman. It was hanging alongside Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters but this chocolate brown mahogany Gibson was destined to be mine. My parents bought her as a combination birthday/Christmas gift (the curse of being a December baby) and we soon became inseparable. I barricaded myself in my bedroom for the next two years, getting to know all her nuances.
Then, In July 1972, I made a mistake I'd regret over the next four decades. I was at a local music store and I saw an upscale version of my guitar that proved dangerously enticing. My lust won over my judgment (lack of judgement) and I traded my guitar for this newer, fancier Gibson. I regretted it almost instantly. But I learned my lesson. I still have have that guitar (my #2) hanging in my home. While I rarely play it, I will never part with it because of it's sentimental value. I have spent most of my life with that guitar, but I never forgot about my first -- the one I let slip away.
Fast forward to 2000. I began using eBay, which allowed me to digitally scour stores and check sellers around the country for used guitars. I added a permanent search for "Gibson Melody Maker" into my profile on the remote chance that my first guitar was still out there in one piece and that it might actually come up for sale. Over the next thirteen years, I waited and watched. Finally, last week, it happened. I received an email alerting me to a new listing. When I clicked on the image I was stunned. I was looking at my boyhood crush again. Everything was right -- the unique headstock (made only that one year), color and dual pickups. And there was the "ding." I still remember the careless turn into my nightstand that left a mark front and center. IT WAS THERE! My heart started pounding and I quickly clicked the option for "Buy it Now."
When it arrived my wife texted me and waited for me to come home. I walked in and she watched with anticpation while my son held his camera and hit record. I slid the case out of the shipping box, set it down, and took a deep breath. When I released the latches and opened the case, I saw my old friend. I gingerly picked her up. When I strummed a chord, I smiled. I quickly changed the strings, cleaned and polished her and then plugged her in. I can't objectively prove this is the same guitar, but I know it in my heart. Consider it a leap of faith. More than forty years after I let her go, certain that I would never see her again, my first love and I were reunited, thanks to eBay.