Monday, December 16, 2019

Is it live? Or is it Memorex?

Back in the 70s and 80s, owning a video camera was definitely a luxury we didn't have.  My parents had the means to buy a camcorder if they wanted to, but they didn't see it as necessary.  (How times have changed with everyone now having a camera at their fingertips 24/7!)

My Dad made do with what we had:  a cassette recorder.  It was his way of capturing the moment.  He'd pop in a blank tape and press record while we were doing ordinary things.  He'd ask me questions about my day.  We played games.  We sang songs.  We looked at books.  All while the tape was turning.  It became part of my routine too, as over the years I'd record endless doll playing sessions and sleepovers.  Sometimes we'd just be silly and talk to the tape recorder.  I recorded myself singing and playing my keyboard.  I even recorded the noisy cat we had.   

After my Mom died, my Dad told me he'd lie in bed and play some of the old tapes at night.  I guess he couldn't sleep, so he'd go back in time.  Days before he died, he told me the best time of his life was when I was little and watching me grow up.  I can see why he made the tapes.  

I hadn't forgotten about the tapes, but they aren't something I think about often.  Out of sight out of mind basically.   In the middle of clearing out some stuff to make room for our new furniture, I ran across one of the boxes of cassette tapes.  

Ironically, the first tape I listened to just happened to be Christmas Eve.  From what I sound like, I'd say it was 1975 and I was three.  I was taking a bath, getting ready to go to grandma's house for our family Christmas gathering.  Then we move on to opening gifts. I got some books - Bambi and Cinderella.  I still have them. Its an odd feeling hearing voices of ghosts from the past and moments that I have no recollection of.  That's me with the little girl voice.  A much younger Mom and Dad, doting over this little kid.             

Something I had forgotten was the name I had given myself.  I don't recall doing this at all but my Mom told me often.  I've mentioned before that my Dad's name was Jack Russell.  Little kid me would refer to myself as "Melanie Jack Russell Frances."

It's going to take quite some time to listen to all of these as I probably have a hundred cassette tapes.  Quite honestly, I don't even know if I can.  


  1. kasetler çok güzeldi. O zaman kolleksiyon yapardık

  2. Oh wow! This was so neat to read. I'm sorry you lost both parents when you were still young (young i.e. before 50 years old). I can't imagine how it must be to listen to their voices but wow what a wonderful idea your dad had done. I never thought of anything like this, just camcorders, but never with the taping like this. Very clever!


  3. When we were growing up, we recorded our voices through tapes, pretending interview or singing the favorite songs.

  4. That's sweet that your dad had a cassette recorder and used it when the kids were little. I remember my brother watching Nel when she was about two, and the conversation was so cute. I think I still have it. That must bring back so many memories for you listening to them. What a nice and thoughtful thing your dad did for his family.


    1. It was only me - there were no other kids!

  5. I remember getting a cassette recorder for Christmas sometime in the 80s and how I loved to record everything. I don't know that any tapes survived (if they did, they must be somewhere in my mom's house) but they would be treasures if they did. My dad died almost 30 years ago, and I realized this year that I don't really remember the sound of his voice.

  6. I remember my elder sister getting a cassette recorder as a reward for passing a school exam. It was our very first recorder! I think it was in 1974!