October 1985. My sweet 16 birthday. It was sweet alrighty.
My mom gave me an all-in-one dual cassette, turntable, and AM/FM radio player. Gone would be the days of putting my single-used portable cassette player in front of my mom’s large radio system trying to perfectly capture the latest greatest hit by Springsteen, the Eurythmics, or Wham!. And then going back to my room to transfer over a song from a record album to be the next tune on the mixed tape. Then back downstairs, and the cycle would continue. I was in “Heaven” – Bryan Adam’s #24 Billboard hit for 1985 by the way.
Fast forward to August 1988. Heading off to university, I left behind that same piece of stereo equipment with my mom. She had started to use it herself to copy cassettes she liked of friends, and play her Doris Day, Tony Bennett, and Slim Whitman records. I was off to bigger, better things – buying myself a Walkman as soon as I got a job. We were both in heaven.
Fast forward again to May 2011. My kids and I had traveled up to where my mom had lived before she died a few months earlier for the internment of her ashes. It was a “Family Affair” and many friends of my mom were there as well to join in the backyard holler (my mom’s name for a BBQ party) we held to celebrate her life.