Saying Goodbye


Friday, I said goodbye to a dear old friend. I wrestled with the idea of just keeping this relic for sentimental reasons, but all the sentiment is in my heart and memories.

For over 40 years this Sanyo radio cassette player was my trusty companion. It has faithfully continued to work and so I've kept it. Sometimes it would live in the kitchen with me. Other times it would reside in a bathroom or bedroom. I've taken some grief from friends during my many moves urging me to get rid of it, but I could never do it.

It was about 1975 when my father took me to the Sand Point Naval Base PX to get a radio for my room. We picked this Sanyo. By today's standards this is a huge, clunky eyesore. In my 9 year old eyes, this was the most high tech, beautiful thing ever. I excitedly took it home, unwrapped it and put it in my bedroom. It became my partner in loneliness, longing and dreaming - singing, putting into words and glorious music what was in my soul. This is where Ann Wilson first sang "Magic Man" to me. This is how I was introduced to Led Zeppelin, Boston, Eagles, Journey, Triumph, Foreigner, Styx, Pat Benetar, Def Leppard, and later Duran Duran, Adam Ant, B-52s, Berlin - the list goes on. They were all available to me, ready to help me escape the torment of adolescence and to help pave the path of my future musical journey.

I would hide away in my bedroom and listen to KISW in Seattle and industriously record the radio, timing my button pushing perfectly to exclude the DJ talking. Later, this would play the first mix tape a boy made for me. Even later this would serve as my first studio recording my attempts at playing and singing other artists' music and eventually my own.

It finally stopped working last week. I went to turn on the radio and nothing was there to accompany me cooking in the kitchen. In some ways, it was like an unnecessary and cruel reminder that my father is dead. It was also another whisper that all things come to an end - that nothing lasts forever. As I approach my 50th birthday this year, this has become all too evident and weighs heavy on my mind.

I didn't want to let it go.

I didn't want to part with it. Sending it to the Recycling Zone seemed an unjust end to such an amazing relationship. My father would tell me to get rid of it. It's just an old piece of equipment that has served its purpose well. And so I did, but I hold near and dear to me each and every gift that that simple gift has given me for over 4 decades. Thank you, for everything.