- Family and Parenting
Kids These Days...and things they'll never see - Part 1
Things we had no idea that someday we'd wish our kids could experience. Yeah, they have the Wii, the Internet and yogurt in a plastic tube. But we had these:
Yes sometimes you needed a pencil handy in order to get these to work.
Kids today will never know the pleasure of the tape recorder. It was amazing that all you had to do was push the big PLAY button and the little red REC button inside it and you could talk into this rectangular machine, then play it back and hear it again. The fun of hearing you or your friend say something wise and earth-shattering like "Fartfartfartfartfartfart" would entertain you for hours. How about hiding it somewhere in the dining room and recording the parent's inane dinner chatter, then secretly listening to it before bed, chuckling at your cleverness and their ignorance.
Getting a cassette deck in your car was one of the happiest days of an 80s teen's life. Now you could play what you wanted in your car (or your parent's car when you whined enough to get them to give you the keys.) The art of fast forwarding or rewinding to your favorite song while driving was a rite of passage.
And do not deny the pleasure of making a mix tape. Cueing up a cassette on one player, cueing up the blank tape in the other, a finger on each of the pause buttons, and the rush of releasing them at the same time, hearing the song starting perfectly and knowing that art was just created.
You know who you are. You who waited for the newest Madonna song or Duran Duran ditty to come on the radio. Sure, you got the dopey DJ introducing it, maybe a lousy weather or traffic report with it, but you didn't care. You just recorded "The Reflex" all for yourself. Pure musical magic.
Ah, so much fun. I guarantee the pencil industry has not been the same since the demise of the cassette tape.
The mall bookstore
Nearly every "expert" is predicting the demise of the book. E-readers and online reading is swiftly sending the printed page by way of the dodo bird and the VHS tape (which we'll get to later).
Bottom line is, who really knows?
One thing is lost for sure though. Gone are the mall bookstores. Yes, here and there, one might be found. A Books-A-Million here. Another odd one there. But Waldenbooks or B. Dalton's? Gone.
How great was it to get an Orange Julius or an Auntie Anne's pretzel, go to the bookstore and just wander through the different sections? Local Interest. Humor. Computers. Social Studies. (Yes, there was a Social Studies section). Do you have the new Grisham book? When is the next Dark Tower book coming out? R.L. Stine had his own section. So did Sweet Valley High. So did Garfield. The triangular sale stickers in the upper right corner of the front cover offering 20%, 30%, even 40% off the retail price. Looking through the bargain section at things you have no intention of buying but dang, it's fun to look. Leafing through magazine after magazine after magazine.
Gone gone gone. But hey, the put a new sneaker store in it's place. The mall doesn't have enough of those.
Before Angry Birds, before the Nintendo DS, before Game Boy we had LCD games.
And man, they were awesome.
Sure they were simple. Usually the video guy or car only moved left or right. You either had to catch something or avoid something. And there was a limited amount of places to move the little guy: left, right or center. Plus the sounds consisted of two: a beep when you scored or a beep when you lost.
But at the time, these were fast paced video games. Dodging a falling bomb or a moving car took quick eyes and quicker thumbs. Plus hiding these little pocket games from the teacher during math or history was both unnerving and joyous. Parents had no idea what to do with them or how to play them (much like today actually.) Playing in the cafeteria when you should be eating always made lunch so much more fun.
And top it off, the game had a built-in clock. Dad liked that part.
Stay tuned for Part 2