I’m driving down Memory Lane while listening to a cassette

By John Toth
Bulletin Publisher

One of my high school pals I still keep in touch with via Facebook posted a question a while back, asking if he is old-school because he still has a cassette player in his car and listens to cassettes while driving.

I bought an older car recently (because I always wanted one like that but could not afford it brand new) and it also has a cassette player. My minivan has one, too. There are many of us like my Facebook friend.

To answer your question, dear Facebook friend and old high school buddy, you’re not old-school – just old. Just kidding. Don’t zap me, bro!

I grabbed some of my cassettes and asked my daughter which ones she thought would be a good idea to keep in the car.

“What’s that?” she asked.

These are cassette tapes. You stick them in a cassette player, and if they don’t jam, you can listen to recorded music. I have about 100 of these. I used to belong to the Columbia Record Club back in the day.

It’s my fault, dear readers, for not making the children more downward compatible tech geeks so they could better appreciate older forms of recorded music. I have failed to introduce them to the record player, reel-to-reel tape, cassettes and even the eight-track tape player.

I never owned an eight-track. The one in my friend’s car kept jamming, so I stayed away. All we had left after that was the AM radio.

I also never owned a reel-to-reel tape deck, although as a kid I always wanted one. They were so darn expensive, though. Plus, you had to thread the tape through the player and then onto the other reel, which is why it was called reel-to-reel.

There were so many buttons on those tape decks that I doubt anyone really messed with all of them. That was before the invention of the button that sets everything.

I also had a bunch of transistor radios, which eventually all faded away, to be replaced by better radios.

Had I kept them, I could probably sell them now on eBay for a pretty good price. Who would have thought that 35 years later someone would invent eBay?

I did buy a bunch of records as a teen-ager – still have a lot of them. I used to go through the Woolworth dollar rack and found some pretty good ones, like The Beatles “Something New” album. It is actually a rehash of everything old, but still pretty good, and it includes “Hard Days Night” in German.

I still have that one. Every once in a while I’ll crank up the old record player and listen to some albums.
They are in darn good shape for being three decades old, or older; on some days in better shape then their owner.

Kids today don’t know what they are missing. Half the fun of listening to an album is to watch it turn. In the 1970s that enhanced our musical experience.

Then I heard that if you play the Beatles “White Album” backwards, you’ll hear in a devilish voice that Paul is dead. I never figured out how to play an album backwards. My record players didn’t have a reverse button.

So, I am driving my used (new to me) car and listening to a cassette. Music brings back some good memories because we take those memories and make them special through enhancement, over statement, and careful selection.

Wait, the tape is jamming. I hate that. There is tape all over the place. I saved it.

All I need to do is roll it back manually with my finger, and then it can play again. There, but now it’s a little scratchy. The heck with it. Switching to CD. That’s better.