August 5, 2010


Last night I found myself teaching a history lesson to two unsuspecting and somewhat uninterested children. See, they discovered something. A very foreign object. Something they'd never before seen.

They found my Walkman. And it still worked.


It plays music. No, it doesn't hold any music. You see, you take a cassette tape. This thing. Yeah, it's about the size of my iPod but there's tape inside that contains recorded music. But it holds, like, ten songs not the ten thousand iPods hold. So, you pop the tape into the Walkman, press this big old play button, adjust the volume dial, put your headphones on then...rock out! Or maybe not rock out since the first tape I found is Hall & Oates' Big Bam Boom which isn't 100% rock and roll in my book. No, it doesn't play any games and you can't watch YouTube. Yeah, I know it's heavy. You just clip it to your pants enough to pull your pants down, huh?

They got tired of hearing me talk. So they broke out another pair of headphones, cranked up Method of Modern Love and struck a pose. How very 1986.


What's the most old-school piece of technology you've got?

Posted by Chris at August 5, 2010 7:30 AM

I was just having a conversation with my brother and I said "when I run I have to listen to my walkman."
()Of course I meant my Ipod)

He laughed and said "that is so 1988."

Posted by: William at August 5, 2010 8:12 AM

There's a gentleman (age late 60's/early 70's) who regularly comes to our local dog park and uses his walkman. We had to explain what is was to our teenage son! As for us, my husband has his very first Mac computer (also the first Mac available) kicking around somewhere, circa 1980's.

Posted by: Laineydid at August 5, 2010 8:41 AM

I've still got my turntable and Vinyl records! Yes, records! 45's 33's and 78's! Does it get used often? Hell, no!

Posted by: Maribeth at August 5, 2010 8:49 AM

That's adorable! Mia's pose is very 80s. I think the oldest thing I have is my first generation iPod, honestly. Grayscale screen, doesn't play video ... yeah. Oh, and the mister still has a Discman lying around somewhere. (Hee, "Discman" *still* sounds wrong to me.) I think all my entertainment technology crapped out on me before it became obsolete. It's a shame; I'd love to show it to my eight-year-old niece and blow her mind.

Posted by: Fraulein N at August 5, 2010 8:49 AM

"What's the most old-school piece of technology you've got?"

I still use fire every now and then ;)

Posted by: Kaz at August 5, 2010 9:09 AM

I actually have a record player...and records. The kids think it is one of the funniest things in the world. They love the way it makes the music sound scratchy.

Posted by: Kris H. at August 5, 2010 9:20 AM

Try to explain the reference "coke bottle glasses" to kids who have never seen a "coke bottle". . . Its just not the same with a 24 oz plastic bottle, even if they are the same shape these days!

Also, after years of only having CDs in our music inventory, bought vinyl because it was the only way to get this one band. . . and then attempt to describe how it works. My youngest wanted to know how the big black thing fit into the CD player. . . . (he was about 4) We also had to buy a turntable so we could listen (and digitize) the band. . so it was a good history lesson!

I love teaching this old stuff to my kids (and now grandkids)- sometimes I feel old, but mostly, we all come to the concensus that its just cool!

Posted by: 3jaysmom at August 5, 2010 9:27 AM

How about this: my mom still uses my walkman (circa 1995) when she goes out walking (bright yellow like yours). She also is in possession of my 1998 CD discman, but hasn't quite decided she's ready for that. We're talking about her skipping that and moving on to an iPod.

I've recently been converting tapes (only things you can't get on CD) to cds & mp3s for my mom and Grandpa, you know, since it's getting increasingly harder to find anything that plays tapes. We're working really hard to bring them a little closer to the present day :)

Posted by: Nicole at August 5, 2010 9:55 AM

I had that exact Walkman! But I don't have it anymore.

As for old-school tech, we still have a turntable and a VCR. Actually, two VCRs, because the little TV in the basement is a TV/VCR combo. And my husband's car has a tape player instead of a CD player.

Posted by: bad penguin at August 5, 2010 10:25 AM

I have a 1972 (or 1976) JC Penny cabinet stereo/record player/8 TRACK TAPE Player.

Damn thing still works, though the speakers have a short or something in them (will fade in and out if bumped). This thing is 6 feet long but really doesn't weigh that much. I have it sitting in our entry way. I bought some 8 tracks at a garage sale several years ago and even that part works though the sound quality is really really bad!

Posted by: sherri at August 5, 2010 10:26 AM

ummmm, My record player? OH! A rocking chair that DOESN'T recline. lol
Your kids are awesome possum!

Posted by: Cri at August 5, 2010 10:31 AM

We just got my mom an mp3 player for her b'day so she could stop using her walkman. She complained at first - said she didn't need it. Now she LOVES it.

As for our oldest technology - I just made my husband give it away. His very first apple computer - with about a 9 inch screen and a separate battery pack that was probably bigger than the screen!

Posted by: Traci at August 5, 2010 10:44 AM

I think the oldest piece of tech I have is also a walkman. My mom still has a record player (and way too many LPs). My hubby still has a ZX Spectrum (I think that is what it's called) stashed somewhere. But other than that, we are thoroughly modern ;-)

Posted by: Delia at August 5, 2010 10:46 AM

We actually have a turntable and actual records. And we must listen to the Elvis Blue Christmas record every Christmas...and yes it must be the records. Something about hearing that little scratchy sound playing with the music makes me feel like a kid again!

Posted by: Jean at August 5, 2010 11:04 AM

We have a Sony Trinitron TV circa 1985 that still gets a terrific picture. When it finally warms up :) The case the TV in is blue...

Posted by: Sue R at August 5, 2010 11:40 AM

Hmm...I have my 1985 Silver BOOM BOX. About 100 cassette tapes...and I refuse to get rid of my 1980's (packed up and in basement..but still) Tandy 2000 computer! Oh and my 3 swatch watches are in keep box too! I totally ROCKED!

Posted by: CHERYL at August 5, 2010 11:49 AM

I have my first cell phone, circa 1995. My kids were shocked when I told them it *GASP* only made phone calls. I also have a plethora of cassettes and records but nowhere to play them.

Posted by: kali at August 5, 2010 12:06 PM

I have a turntable and actual records ("We Are The World" 12-inch, BOO YAH), and a CD boom box from 1990 or so with a dual tape deck beyotch. I use it to rip my tapes to mp3's.

I had a walkman like yours, too. Don't know where it is.

Posted by: Brooke at August 5, 2010 12:18 PM

I have a turntable and records, a VCR, a walkman, an old school boom box. AND - the most amazing thing - a 1910 candlestick rotary phone.

Posted by: Mindy at August 5, 2010 12:47 PM

cute pics :)

Posted by: kati at August 5, 2010 1:09 PM

Atari 2600, baby! ;)

Posted by: mingaling at August 5, 2010 1:31 PM

I got nothing. We really purged in our last move. Now, my parents. They still have a working Bakelite phone left over from ye olden days when Ma Bell rented phones. They have a Technics record player that they still use almost every day. They have an awesome album collection. They also have a Commodore 64 from... what? 1983? We used to play Jumpman for hours on that thing.

Jumpman? Anyone?? I still think Jumpman was the most fun video game I ever had, no matter how prehistoric the graphics seem now.

Posted by: Laura Gato at August 5, 2010 1:56 PM

AHHHH! I had that exact Walkman! Mine is in a box at my parents, I believe. I wonder if it still works...

And look at all that sass on Mia. Lol.

Posted by: caleal at August 5, 2010 2:52 PM

My film camera, I guess :) And I have my 2nd gen (?) iPod as well, with the grayscale screen and such.

Posted by: Heather at August 5, 2010 3:03 PM

I've got a turntable and some records and have no plans to get rid of it. The Beatles Revolver and Bob Dylan Blood on the Tracks just sound so much richer in that format. We also still have (and don't use) two VCRs, but that's just b/c we're lazy about recycling them/moving them out of the entertainment units they sit in.

Posted by: Beth at August 5, 2010 3:12 PM

First, I can't get over how light Owen's hair is! And Mia's're going to be in serious trouble with that beauty.

We have the original Nintendo. And it still works, provided you jam a Jenga block on top of the cartridge to make sure the game stays in the machine.

Posted by: js at August 5, 2010 4:15 PM

I have a 1924 camera and a slide rule (both gifts -- I'm not THAT old). I don't know how to use either of them.

As far as things I acquired myself... two walkmans (not sure either of them work), cassettes and an old boom box, records (but nothing to play them on), several film cameras, a VCR, and a 13 inch TV that is probably depeer than it is wide. I also have a corded phone that isn't all that old but seems old school! My lack of new school tech is probably more impressive (no cell phone, no digital music on the computer or any device).

My parents still have a turntable stereo and use it often. They also still have a rotary dial phone -- oh my gosh, it takes FOREVER to dial! If you have to call 911, waiting for that 9 to rotate all the way back around feels like an eternity.

Posted by: Sandy at August 5, 2010 4:26 PM

Funny that you bring up old school... My son has the song "Our House" by Madness stuck in his head. He heard it on the radio this afternoon and can't stop singing "Our House... in the mittle of the tweet." :-)

I still have a walkman myself. Used it until 1994. Maybe I'll give it to my kids.

Posted by: AL at August 5, 2010 4:29 PM

Just remembered that I have a 40 year old professional Minolta 35mm camera. Was given to me by my aunt before she died 5 years ago. She also gave me the hand held meter that went with it. Would love to use it if I could get my hands on some film.

Posted by: AL at August 5, 2010 4:41 PM

I still have my "My Sony" tape recorder. It's red and it's rocking. I also have an old school Snoopy suitcase from 1971 or so. Every time I'm mad at my husband I tell him I'm going to pack up my snoopy suitcase and split. I also just found my childhood Viewmaster last night in a box of stuff.

Posted by: Kristy at August 5, 2010 5:53 PM

I accedentaly found my old blog , and when i went thru it i remebered I used to read your blog. So now I have to read all that I have missed.

I used to have a walkman youst like that. I thnk I have an old comandore 64 in the attic. I am also thinkin of getting the old nintendo again:)

Posted by: Anette at August 5, 2010 6:33 PM


And the reason this is my iPhone case:

Posted by: alektra at August 5, 2010 9:35 PM

It's not mine, but my wife still has a Toshiba laptop from 1992. It doesn't work anymore, but the little man likes to bang the hell out of it.

Posted by: Rex at August 5, 2010 10:18 PM

M-E-T-H-O-D-O-F-L-O-V-E ... I think it qualifies as bad...

Before The Boy discovered the walkman, he discovered the box of cassettes. And he discovered how to open said cases... and he discovered how to pull the magnetic tape out of the cassettes. It was like a modern art installation -- just with more yelling.

Posted by: Nat at August 5, 2010 10:39 PM

I do things like this with my boyfriend's daughter. I think we need to explain to kids what rotary dial phones are, pay phones, walkmans, VCRs, 8 track tapes, records, etc. I'm drawing a blank on something and it's annoying me that I can't remember what it was. I just emailed my boyfriend the other day about something we should show to his daughter that she wouldn't know about because of her age and now I can't remember what it is!! Damn brain fart!!

Posted by: Rose @Dozenroses13 at August 5, 2010 11:48 PM

We've got a turntable - our kids think it's hysterical. "What are you DOING with that frisbee??" We sometimes rock out to Olivia Newton John or Ratt... yeah - not the greatest Vinyl collection ...

Posted by: Kim at August 6, 2010 9:38 AM

Yeah--you, too had a yellow Sony Walkman? Back in the day I used to deliver newspapers (yes, I was a huge geek) and I used to steal my brother's said yellow Sony walkman to listen to my Pearl Jam and Soundgarden tapes while on the road. Try hiding that monster in your pocket!

Posted by: Laura at August 6, 2010 9:49 AM

Mia's only two leg warmers away from being in the wrong decade.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at August 6, 2010 3:45 PM

Oh wow! I haven't seen a walkman in ages! You just transported me back to the 80's! I haven't touched a cassette tape in ages too! I love the bright yellow color!

Posted by: Mom To A Four Year Old at August 7, 2010 2:05 AM

does a Teddy Ruxpin count? lol

Posted by: corinne at August 7, 2010 11:06 PM

I don't think I've commented here using my name in...ever? Idk. HELLO! Anyway. E (who is not mugged in London, btw) wanted me to tell you that she has a laundry basket of tapes she has yet to sort through and listen to. I imagine that will take...quite awhile. I honestly think the oldest piece of technology I own, at this point, is my discman. It's my fifth or sixth one (I was notoriously hard on those things) and about 6 months ago, I opened it to make sure there weren't any leaking batteries in it and I found my copy of Parachutes. Amazing!

Posted by: Rhonda at August 8, 2010 3:05 AM

The oldest piece of technology I own... is either my dad's old negative cutter, or else his old Konica SLR camera. Both are so old they don't even take batteries (the camera is manual focus, manual f stop, manual everything -- doesn't even have a light meter in the viewfinder).

Do they still count if they don't have batteries?

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