R.I.P. Walkman

First, it was the Polaroid camera. Now, the Walkman is the latest archaic piece of technology to be retired by its creators. Twenty years from now, we’ll probably laugh about the fact that we ever owned smart phones.

I was pretty bummed to learn about the Walkman’s demise.  What’s so bad about the Walkman?! They always came equipped with a convenient clip so that you could attach them to your shorts and listen to all the songs you taped off the radio while going for a nice jog.  Maybe the Walkman ate a tape or two, but nobody’s perfect! My iPod freezes more often than that.

As a proud owner or several amazing Walkmen, it’s hard for me to grasp the fact that the Walkman is even that old.  When I entered college in the fall of 2001, I actually brought my Walkman with me.  On the first day of college, my freshman seminar took a field trip to Art Institute of Chicago and you better believe I brought my Walkman on the bus so that I could listen to my “Summer Before College” mix tape.

Perhaps my most beloved Walkman was the yellow, Sony Sport Walkman.  The best part was that it came equipped with two holes for earphones which was perfect for my sister and I.  On long family car trips in our youth, the Sony Sport Walkman saved the day as my sister and I could both listen to our favorite Wee Sing tape at the same time while my parents and older brother rocked out to Paul Simon’s Graceland. Everyone was happy!  Later on, in my early high school years, the same Sony Sport Walkman of my youth survived a near drowning during a Lake Winnipesaukee canoe trip.  My canoe capsized, catapulting the Sony Sport Walkman into the throes of Lake Winnipesaukee’s waters.  Not only did the Walkman stay afloat, but it continued to work as it always did–like a dream.

I’m sorry to hear that future generations will no longer have the option to  rock out with the Walkman.  I’ve always been a proponent of being old school and using convenient technologies instead of staying up with the latest gadgets.  Like I always say, if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  I raise my glass to you, Man of Walk!

The Walkman's convenient pants clip.

When You’re An Adult, You Get to Do Kid Things

I still can’t believe it’s been a solid month since I left on vacation with my sister and dad to return to our beloved family camp on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire after an eight year hiatus.  Post-college, it seems like time passes a whole lot faster and so I’m still in disbelief that a month has already passed between now and then (my partially still-packed suitcase can attest to this.  Sorry, Mom).  I’m still trying to get over the fact that I moved away from Boston over a year ago and that I can’t really use “Well, I just recently returned to the area” for an excuse for anything anymore.  

One of the best parts about returning to Lake Winnipesaukee was picking up where I had left off with old friends, eight years later.  Last time we had been at camp together, we couldn’t even buy our own booze.  Gone were the days of relying on older siblings/friends to pick us up a case of Sublimes and nonchalantly shoving them into duffel bags. 

Another highlight of returning to our camp on Lake Winnipesaukee  is seeing all the familiar landmarks.  There are the actual landmarks on the grounds, such as the ice cream store, the beach, our special hidden beach, the barn, the White Mountains, and all of our secret pathways.  Then there are the landmarks along the highway.  The McDonald’s at the edge of a hill, JoJo’s Country store, and Funspot.   

Funspot touts itself as the World’s Largest Arcade.  The kind of place where kids beg, plead, and bargain with their parents to take them and parents pretend they don’t hear their children’s cries of “Please take us to Funspot! Can we go to Funspot?!” 

Even as twenty-somethings, my friends and I still possessed a deep yearning for someone to please take us to Funspot.  We wanted to experience the world’s largest arcade and we wanted the prizes to prove our adventures.  One rainy evening, towards the end of the week, it dawned on us that we had the power within us all along to take ourselves to Funspot. 

Take ourselves to Funspot we did and we experienced the depths of the world’s largest arcade.  First, we bowled with adult beverages (but not in the actual alley, thanks to New Hampshire state law).  Then, we turned our twenty-dollar bills into coins and played as much Skeeball as we possibly could manage.  Another treat was the archaic arcade games area which allowed us to play Duck Hunt and other old school Mario Brothers games, and the original Pac-Man.  Unfortunately, some of the machines hadn’t been repaired since their glory days, so coins were lost. 

One of the unlikely favorite machines of the night was the ticket dispenser.  We put our stacks and stacks of tickets into the machine which would count all the tickets and spit out a receipt with our ticket count.  The anticipation of how high that number was so exciting that we found ourselves chanting, “Machine! Machine! Machine!” in hopes that it would give us a high count of tickets. 

"Machine! Machine! Machine!"

 

After our tickets were counted, we found ourselves in Prizeland.  Talk about tough decision-making.  What on earth could we possibly get with all of our tickets? Should we get a souvenir pint glass? A stuffed animal? Candy? Googly-eyed rings? Swedish fish? Bracelets? Should we spring for a large prize or settle on handfuls of small prizes? We opted for the handfuls of small prizes that way everyone could leave with something.

When we returned to the camp with all of our prize rings, souvenir Funspot pint glasses, bracelets, and a little bounce in our step, a young child could not help but notice all of our new loot.  Her curiosity leading the way, she asked us, “Where did you get all of these things?” 

My dear friend replied, “Why, we won them at Funspot.”  Her eyes widened at the mention of the sacred arcade. 

“You went to Funspot?!  No fair!” Many people know of Funspot, few have actually set foot in there.  Especially kids without their parents. 

“Well you see,” my friend began.  “When you’re an adult, you get to do kid things.”  Dumbfounded, she bumbled off to bed as we went to enjoy our Swedish fish under the stars.