Visiting and Reminiscing Over a Box of Stuff

Greetings from Sudbury: The frozen snow-covered Nickel Belt of Northeastern Ontario!

Visiting family and friends feeds and recharges the soul. There was plenty of reminiscing about the “good ol’ days” which included visiting with my sis. Alot of laughs. Good times! Going home and receiving boomerang gifts also keeps visits interesting… You know, the stuff you left behind when you moved out, but that now that you are out of the house and established in your own place, the parents seem to find tchotchkies and wimwams that were once yours, and BOOMerang! they hand you a box full of random crap to take home with you so you can pitch it. It had been awhile since I got one of these from my parents…I haven’t lived at home in 21 years. I’ve been married 14 years. What could possibly be left? Dust bunnies from 1991?

Visiting my parents is always a good time. They’re elderly, and have been retired for years. My mom looks great and is in generally good health in comparison to other women her age. My Step-Dad is near-deaf and has an infectious sense of humour. Between the two of them, it’s fun to engage in an innocent story with them, that easily degrades into a yelling match because my Step-Dad can’t hear you. Hilarious! We always have a good time with them. I’ve known him most of my life and sometimes I think he still sees me as a 10 year old. He was present pretty much during the awkward formative and gawky teen years. He always takes an opportunity to remind my older sis and I of some of the old times we had as kids. Embarrassing and not. This visit, he was full of surprises.

To start, I used to have a huge Archie comic collection. When my Step-Dad heard that Archie Andrews was going to die in a up-and-coming comic book, he presented me at Christmas with the Death of Archie comic edition! He made a point of going to the local comic book store to pick up that edition for me. What a surprise; I’ll be cherishing it!

He then found my sister’s Game and Watch handheld Mario Bros. game in a random drawer. My sister bought the little video game in France in 1984 when she was on an exchange, so its instructions are in French. This arcade game has Mario and Luigi in a bottle factory, and I remember it being a ton of fun. My sister gave her blessing to gift the game to the hubs, the big retro game collector, which was generous and awesome! Thank you, Sis!

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Then, my Step-Dad surprised me with a box full of my 21-plus year old crap. BOOMerang!

Here – he said. You’ll want to take this home.

It was a shoebox full of cassettes – full albums and cassette singles, to be exact! 22 in total.

Paula Abdul’s Straight Up, Milli Vanilli’s Girl, You Know It’s True, even Zappacosta’s Letter Back, a song I have no memory what it sounds like, nor do I recall buying. I know some of these are my sister’s. Some albums include my sister’s copy of Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual, Canadian 80s sensation Candi’s album and Power Station’s self-titled album (that wound up being sans cassette, liner notes only).

I also got returned to me Linda Ronstadt’s Lush Life, a BeeGees cassette, and the soundtrack to the Travolta / Newton-John classic film, Two of a Kind. Runner up for greatest cassette re-gift goes to Hooked On Classics! which was my mom’s go-to jazzercise musack in the 80s. Some of these albums were obvious re-gifts to us as unsuspecting kids by adults who didn’t want The Merrymen of Barbados stinking up their collections. Most of those were never listened to, or maybe my kid self made it past the first song; otherwise rotting away in our cassette case rack.  I don’t know what I’ll do with any of these (except some gems). I honestly thought I had thrown these away. I mean, Milli Vanilli? Eh.

I also was gifted a sh*te photie of myself swimming in 1991. In panorama. Eh.

Included was a couple of keychains – one emblazened with my real name, and one that says, “This girl really knows how to party!” (Not). Hello, Sudbury landfill.

Anyway, the shoebox ensued a lot of laughs and reminiscing which is never a bad thing. Thanks, Step-Dad! Some good times spent with family on Christmas.

Hope you all had a great Christmas Day with your family!

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39 comments

        1. Last xmas, my dad inlaw found a Panasonic walkman, and it still works. But, I don’t really listen to cassettes anymore. We did have a teac tape deck but I think it has since bit it.

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          1. I have a bunch of tapes still too, mostly due to nostalgia, but I have no idea if any of them play anymore. I’ve since replace most of them with CDs or vinyl anyhow.

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        2. I knew a guy here in town who had done that, replaced all of his cassette with CDs. He was ditching his tapes and I got them for nothing – they all still played! He gave up a lot of great music that day! OK, some shite too, but that’s personal tastes.

          Mike Lebrain says tapes always stretched on him, but I only ever had that problem on one cassette in all of my years, and that was my old copy of U2’s Rattle And Hum and I played the hell out of that – it had no right lasting as long as it did! I’d wager your tapes are just fine. If you ever miss the tape hiss, players are cheap to find!

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  1. What a great read. That game and watch must’ve been a cool suprise. I don’t have much stuff from my childhood left – which is why I hunt for it so fervently now. My dad died when I was 16 and we sold our home a few years later. I have some things, but not a lot from my childhood. I met my wife just after my dad passed away and started what seems like and entire diffent life from then. It’s as if I’ve been divided into two people – the dad years and the Tara years. Your story evoked some memories and emotion in me, so thanks for sharing. Anyway… I’m glad you had a great holiday. We did too! Happy new year to you and Kevin.

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  2. What a cool time you’ve had!

    Oh man, I hear you on the Boomerang gifts. My parents have done it to me twice: When I started dating my lovely wife, we moved to Montreal together (for two years) so she could do her Masters degree there. Then my job moved us to Saskatoon. After four years in SK, we moved back to Ontario and bought a house (our second). Being only 1.5 hours from my parents’ house, they saw this as opportunity to dump ALL of the stuff I’d left behind on me. Old writing, pics of old girlfriends, yearbooks, my G.I. Joes, all of it.

    And then, the second time was in 2009 when our son was born. My parents had kept all of my old kids toys (Fisher Price, Tonkas, you name it) from the 70s and 80s in a box in the attic for all of those years. When our boy arrived, boom. Here ya go! It’s cool, though, to see my son playing with the same old jagged-edged metal Tonka dump truck from the 70s on the same old beach where I did all those years ago.

    The cassettes are definitely cool, a time capsule of your past coming back to you. I have a Milli Vanilli cassette single or two here, somewhere. No shame in it! Cassettes are still a viable thing, you should play them! Oh man, an Alanis cassette single! That’s gotta be WORTH SOMETHING!

    I had no idea Archie died in a comic! Shows how out of touch I was with all of that (though I did have a stack of Archies)! I did know Superman died in a comic, but not Archie!

    The game wouldn’t be as cool to me, but since this is Caught Me GAMING, it’s a cool time capsule for sure!

    It’s pretty easy to think “meh, I don’t need this shite,” but I take it as a circle of life thing when things from my past wash back up on my shores. It makes me think of who I used to be versus who I am now. And I don’t often throw things out. They’re just things, but they’re chunks that’ll get forgotten if they go.

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    1. For awhile there, every time K and I returned home, we’d get the ol’ “Here – You’ll want to take THIS with you”, where we’d be handed a box of stuff. K’s parents would off-load about six boxes of his shite every time they came for a visit. Once he was boomeranged all of his Catholic tchotchkies from his christening to first communion. The Christening stuff is cute, but the communion stuff? MORBID. Sorry if there are the religious reading this, but he was given a holy water reservoir you hang on the wall of JC all bloody. Or JC on the cross all bloody. I didn’t want that in my house. Off to Good Will with you! I was raised Ol’Time Religion Baptist, so a lot of this morbid Catholic iconography is unfamiliar and disturbing to me. No judgment to anyone who gets the feelies for it. I just can’t.
      If you go to VV and see a sea of Catholic stuff, it’s everyone off-loading their first communion stuff because it’s MORBID.

      The cassette boomerangs were kind of surprising. Before K and I moved from Barrie to Stouff, we got rid of most of our cassettes. Anything Hock Shop wouldn’t take went into the Barrie landfill (which was most of it…I can hear Mike’s heart breaking). Really, though, the memories are only meaningful to the beholder. I don’t listen to cassettes. To me, CDs were always far superior to cassettes in terms of how long they lasted, how they played, etc. I welcomed CDs.

      I’ve been so out of the Archie loop, I didn’t know he died either!

      The toys for your son is a very cool boomerang!

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            1. We have it. K loves it. He has just finished Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze – it’s hard. The two I mention are Sarca proof, and crowd-proof too LOL

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            2. What makes a game Sarca-proof?

              Good to know. I’ll see if I can get over to her place while I still have holidays and see what games she has.

              The problem with me and the Wii is, I found myself ONLY playing Wii Ware games. I kind of thought I was missing the point of it all.

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            3. I always loved the original Mario Kart. My favourite racing game of all time was Top Gear Rally for the N64. By today’s standards, kinda lame, but I still remember every detail!

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  3. I love this. Nothing like finding a box of treasures from the past. It’s like a time capsule. And one very definitely buried in the 80s by the looks of it.

    I think the real gem is that Tone-Loc cassingle.

    Okay, you and Mr. 1537 have inspired me. I’m going to start digging for childhood treasures.

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