This was my first record player.


It was from Fisher-Price and it played pre-formatted plastic “records” that sounded like tin. I loved it. The sound didn’t bother me as I had the freedom to play my music (all children’s nursery rhymes) when I wanted to hear it.

My mother bought me a real record player a few years later at a garage sale. This is the first album I ever bought:


OK. Stop laughing. I was 10. Disco—and this movie—was hugely popular at the time. I must have listened to that album a million times. Though I have to admit, with older siblings, my tastes quickly moved from The Bee Gees and into more sophisticated music:


This is the first CD I ever bought:


It was 1989 and I remember it very clearly. I eagerly anticipated the release of this CD, having been a Kate Bush fan through much of high school. At the time, music was still easily available to purchase in album form and indeed, I had the album Hounds of Love, her 1985 release.


While I can remember my first album and CD, I cannot, for the life of me, remember my first cassette tape. Which is odd since I was in high school in the 80s which means that overall, I did most of my music listening on this:


I note the historical ride through my instruments of music listening because now, I listen to music on this:


And this:


(OK, I admit that my MacBook is not nearly as new as this one but I am thinking Field of Dreams here: “If you build it, they will come.” If I post a pic of a new MacBook Pro, perhaps one will miraculously arrive on my desk overnight.)

As my listening pleasure has become a digital event, I realize that it is time to do something about the 7 boxes of unpacked CDs that have been sitting on my office floor since I moved here a year ago. Most of them are already ripped to my hard drive but I expect that once I actually open these boxes, I will find CDs I completely forgot about and it will feel as if I have a whole mess of new music.

I have prolonged this transfer of technology, however, because I think it will be very much like the way I felt when I made the leap from cassette to CD: as much as I loved the streamline of the CD and the larger format to read things such as liner notes and lyrics, there was something about that click of the cassette case, the smell of the tape, the need of the pencil to rewind the loose cartridge that I was going to miss.

And once I make that transfer away from CDs completely, I only have the digital version of “album art” which is small and not nearly as interesting as it was in the past. I am certainly a true believer in the betterment of our lives with new technologies and I support digital music otherwise I would not interact with it. But I will be melancholy when I sell those old CDs to a used CD store, especially Kate Bush’s The Sensual World. Just memories of the week I bought it and played it non-stop are special to my young adulthood.

What technology have you given up to move into newer forms? Are you sad to see it go?