Full Circle  

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I remember when I was in my freshman year of High School the big deal was Sony Walkman. It was a very cool thing to be able to carry a cassette player (bit pre ipod here) and a head set to listen to your favorite music whenever you wanted. A few of my friends had one. They were rather expensive and so the families with the cash were of course buying them for the spoiled kids they were raising. I say this with a memory of the envy I felt. I always wanted to be one of the rich kids that had everything whenever they chose.

Christmas came around that year and under the tree was a small rectangular box. I had no idea what could be in a box so small. Since I didn't wear jewelery (a lot of guys wore gold chains back then, not my thing) I hadn't a clue what it could be. I opened it a bit slowly trying to figure out what it could be before the package was revealed, but without the slightest luck. It was a plain brown box, no identifying features on it. Having decided that I couldn't figure it out I tore open the box and what could be in there but a cassette player just LIKE a Sony Walkman. This particular one wasn't a Sony though. It was an emerson and unlike the cool silver case that came with the real deal. This one had a leather carrying pouch. Now by my adult self standards, this one would absolutely be better than the crappy plastic cased silver walkman. Unfortunately I wasn't judging by adult standards, I was judging by teenager standards. I didn't say anything for a couple of minutes. My dad was immediately apologetic as he explained about this cassette player he bought me. He tried to tell me how he understood that it wasn't the fancy brand, but it did all the things that the other one did, and it even had a few features that the cool one didn't. I could see on his face that he wished that he could afford the fancy name brand. I could feel inside that I really wanted the fancy name brand. However this was far more important than some stupid cassette player. My pea brained 14 year old self realized that too. I told him it was just about the coolest thing I could ask for. I immediately ran into my room and found a cassette (AC/DC) and started playing it. The smile on my dad's face was a great as if I would have received a brand new car.

The hard part was bringing the player to school the following monday. I knew that there would be other kids with new Sony Walkman's and mine was just not cool. I didn't care that much and was determined to bring it and in fact use it at school. I got to my first break of the day and pulled out the player and sure enough there was a couple of other kids with the cool name brand, BUT there were also a couple kids looking at me carrying the same player that I had. Relief washed over me in a matter of seconds. I was at ease and those kids and I had formed an unspoken bond right then and there. We ended up seeing each other at lunch and talking about what kinds of music we liked. I made 3 new friends that day. We aren't the best of friends now, but we still see each other from time to time and still talk.

I find myself at my fathers junction now. My kids wanted a certain game and I just think it's a bit expensive and they are still pretty young. So I bought them a knock off version of it. I got it for them for no occassion other than I wanted to get it for them. In many ways I'm still a kid at heart and this is one of those little pockets of proof that I'm not grown up yet.

My kids saw the game and realized immediately that it wasn't the one they wanted. They didn't bat an eye though, they were all smiles and managed at least 5 or 6 thank you's as we opened the box and got all the wires plug into their appropriate places. Now granted the games are a lower quality than the real thing, and the selection is a bit less, but for the money it's a pretty good deal.

I overheard my middle son talking to his friend on the phone. He was explaining that they had a new game at home, that dad picked up for them. I heard him tell his friend "We don't need the other one, this thing is cool, and besides dad likes it so it's probably better anyway." My son gave me that same smile that I gave my dad all those years ago. I don't know if he said that cause he knew I was listening or not, but it doesn't even matter. Either he really believes that what I like is good enough to be awesome, or he believes that my feelings are enough to be saved with a little white lie. I think my parenting is coming full circle with my childhood and it's a pretty good feeling....

This entry was posted at Wednesday, January 06, 2010 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


That's a really cool story. Some things were quite expensive when we were kids when you think about it. Case in point.

Nintendo's back in '85 when they came out were $200. The Wii costs the same right now. Games were $49 for the Nintendo. Games are $49-$69 right now. Considering inflation, that's not all that bad.

Shoes like Air Jordans and the like were $100-120. Now they go as high as $160.

New computers back in the early 90s were close to $5,000 and they were pieces of crap, but that's all we had.

No cell phones. The only people who had them had to pay per minute. There were no "plans".

It's really something when you think about it. My son is only 3, thank god and not asking for a $400 PS3 and a $200 Rock Band game for example.

My days are numbered and they are coming. I know it all too well.

You have at least one older kid that I know of. I feel for you in this aspect and have a great deal more respect for my parents looking back.

Great post, as always.

January 6, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Well Bendigo, I think this is an amazing post. I really love it when you talk about your kids. You're a good guy and that's all there is to it! Just shows that you can still bring kids up to have feeling and courage and intelligence despite society's best efforts to destroy those things.

January 6, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Bendigo, are you actually saying that my sony walkman is no longer "in"?

January 6, 2010 at 2:43 PM

Great Story...thanks so much for sharing.

January 6, 2010 at 3:48 PM

That's a really good story Bendigo, that applied I'm sure to most of us. The brand on an object is important when young, but in the end, making your parents smile is better.

Thanks for sharing!!

January 6, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Ian you are so right...(especially about the crap computers back then..ha ha). I'm sure that you will get that moment when you realize your kid learned right, just like I get sometimes ...

Tina well thank you I'm hopeful that I'm bringing my kids up right..So far So good..

Jan..by no means is your sony walkman outdated unless of course you are a freshman in highschool :)

Spee..thanks I'm glad you liked it :)

Sarah...I think so...I think that making your loved ones realize you love em is far more important. I'm just glad my kids are realizing that as well...

January 6, 2010 at 5:43 PM

I gotta say this brings me back to memories of getting knock off Barbies from family or gifts at birthdays. Sure, I would play with her but usually Barbie was mean to her. She became the whipping Barbie, in a big way... seriously I would butcher her like Dexter.
I too wanted a Sony Walkman. I got a small pink random brand one but I was able to play my Bangles "Different Light" in it so it was all good.
What a great post!

January 6, 2010 at 6:08 PM

I remember getting those gifts that were knock offs. It was the best my parents could afford. I think it helped us appreciate their efforts. This was an excellent post. I love your attitude and your children sound like they have been parented well. Good job Dad!

January 6, 2010 at 7:28 PM

Well I will say that my children are parented with love...(not sure how well but i'm tryin )

They are good kids and I like to think that it starts at home :)

January 6, 2010 at 7:52 PM

You've got such cool kids, wise beyond their years like their father was. This was an awesome post in so many ways -- thank you for sharing!

January 6, 2010 at 8:05 PM

This is definitely a great story. You've had a few now where your kids "surprise" you, yeah?

I think it may be time to understand you're obviously doing a wonderful job... and less surprised about it ;-)

Thanks for your kind words at CYM.

January 6, 2010 at 10:37 PM

Lisa Marie..Whipping Barbie..that's friggin great!!!

Thanks Kristy, I think you are right I do have pretty cool kids :)

Ha ha Dayne, you may be right...I think at this point, I'm more proud than surprised. And you are most welcome, they were comments worth making about your post.

January 7, 2010 at 11:33 AM

First of all, that post brought tears to my eyes!

Also, you must have been a pretty damn good kid not to throw a temper tantrum when you didn't get the name brand walkman as a kid. I wish that more kids had that kind of understanding that you did years ago.

I also think that to have raised your kids to be the same way, you must be a tremendous father.

January 7, 2010 at 7:23 PM

They have a pretty awesome mom and we are a close knit family...I think it helps...

January 7, 2010 at 9:37 PM

What a great story! How old are your kids now?

I have a 4 year old and a 2 month old and I'm still enjoying the 'Daddy is the greatest man in the world' status.

Your kids must really love you!

January 9, 2010 at 10:14 PM

I have 3 boys...they are spaced pretty good...17, 12, 8...They are great kids... :)

January 11, 2010 at 10:30 AM

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