That stereo over there was my pride and joy when I was 9 years old. I got it for Christmas and I played it practically every day until I got a bigger one when I was 16.
This model, from JCPenney, had a tape recorder, a record player, an 8-track, and an AM-FM radio and two speakers. It also had a microphone jack, which I used often while singing along with Olivia Newton-John and other stars of the early ’80s. I would rock out with my permed hair, my headbands and legwarmers. And I have pictures to prove it.
Once I upgraded to a two-tape-deck stereo (bye, bye 8-track), this one was relegated to music duty in the shed, where we shot pool, roller-skated and played basketball.
A few weeks ago, Riley and I were at my parents’ house and saw that they had cleaned out the shed and rescued the stereo. Miraculously, 30 years later, it still worked. We played Charley Pride and Merle Haggard records and Alabama cassettes. We didn’t have any 8-tracks around the house, but maybe we can dig one up somewhere. Only one speaker works; the wire on the second one was likely gnawed by mice looking for dinner.
After leaving the stereo at my folks’ house for a couple of weeks, I finally brought it home with me. It now gives the guest room some character and some tunes. And still looks pretty good.
What was once a 9-year-old’s symbol of growing up has now become a 39-year-old’s symbol of childhood. Funny how that works. Rock on, y’all!