Mix Tapes, Casey Kasem and Long Distance Dedications…

A conversation I had today made me think of my younger years.

I thought about how much my life has changed from those years which I consider the preface to the book of my life. Chapter one was my married life up to the point where my husband transitioned. Chapter two is where I am now. This weird place where I am my own person. I am not someone’s wife. This thing that I am stumbling and stammering and bumbling through.

Most days I don’t feel like I am doing it very well. I do my best to get through it with a positive outlook. I don’t accomplish holding that for long. It is mostly work related. When you are put down for doing well, it takes a toll on you.

But today, I was in sort of a reminiscent mood. I thought about my teen years and believe me, I don’t have the wild party stories to tell. I was the one who went home with a friend in order to go to a school dance and my parents came and pulled me out of the dance and made me go home because I failed to mention that the dance was involved. Both I and my friend were grounded by our parents.

I was the fat girl. The girl that if a boy found out that she had a crush on them it was the most terrible thing that could have ever happen to them.

I thought about how I would spend my Saturdays. I have always been a music fanatic. So at 8:00 am every Saturday, (when it wasn’t basketball season, because the basketball game my sister played the night before would be on), you tuned into Casey Kasem and American Top 40. You would have your stack of cassette tapes ready. You wanted to try and get it all.

You would sit in your bedroom or on your porch if your had 8 D batteries it took to power your boom box outside. You would draw hearts with your crushes name in it and listen.

About midway, it was time for the long distance dedication. This was back in the day before text, instant messaging and Facebook.

People actually sat down and wrote a letter to the person they love or they missed or the pined for. All across America, we would sit and listen to Casey read this gut wrenching declaration hoping that he would say your name “Here’s your long distance dedication.”

In the afternoon, you would turn over to the country station and listen to Bob Kingsley’s Country Countdown. Oh those days before crossovers.

Those were the days. The days before CDs and music downloads and playlists.  When if you wanted a song, you would buy a whole cassette. The rest of the songs would totally suck but the most recent one hit wonder somehow justified the 9 or 10 bucks you paid for a song. If you couldn’t find or afford the song you wanted, you would sit by a radio for hours with your finger poised right above the pause button just in case that song you were wanting would just so happen to be the next one.

You would have false starts and have to take the tape out and rewind it with your finger or a pencil because you didn’t want to cut off the front few notes of the song while the leader of the tape was running through.

I know to some of you this seems prehistoric. The thing was that you had to work for it. Not something known by teens now days. We live in an instant gratification world.

I miss those days when rewinding a tape was a pain. Those days before we knew heartache, before we had to grow up and get jobs that suck the very life out of us, before we were the ones paying the bills and our parents were worried about their sick parents, now we worry about our parents.

Time moves forward not backward but sometimes it just does your heart good to look in the rear view mirror and remind yourself of life before we had to adult.


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