I’m at my parent’s house for Christmas and I’m staying in my old room, or what is now referred to as the “spare room”. It’s quite a bit different from when it had my name attached to it. Back then floppy disks doubled as a decretive trim around the door and now stacks of suitcases are the motif. Neither one makes much sense.
I turned tonight, as I usually do during my rare overnight stays in Sturgis, to the basement and the crawlspace in this bedroom. Both are storage spots for all the items I would never want to throw away, but don’t have room for on a daily basis. The basement holds the most recent items - with more added before each move to and from Chicago. The really dated memories that surprise me when seeing them are always in the crawlspace.
They range from over a decade to around 7 years ago. My first computer, tons of 8-track tapes I bought during high school for some reason, old Punk Planet, PC World, CMJ, and Alternative Press magazines. Better yet, the zines I was making myself during those confused high school years: Nine Ton Beefhead and Free Verse, plus all the submissions that were given to me for both. Behind those treasures, tucked way in the back of crawlspace so that only I would be able to slip through and find them, are the manila envelopes.
These are the madness. Most contain nothing but receipts and papers. For a period of time I thought that this was a fabulous way of memorializing time periods. I would collect things from my day like show flyers or business cards. Then I would empty my pockets at night into a giant bowl that would be emptied into an envelope when it was full. Actually, I still like looking though things like this. It brings out the memories that normally slip by, like the Kids in the Hall movie I went to see in South Bend, the lines of computer code I copied out of Byte magazine while fulfilling a Saturday school detention for unauthorized copy machine usage, or the band lineup at the first Michigan Fest I ever want to. These are the artifacts that bring out the rest of an experience which might otherwise have stayed hidden. My memory needs clues.
The best unexpected find was a cassette tapes labeled “Emily and Tanda Karaoke: 1/19/1994”. Emily is my sister, and Tanda her best friend at the time. I remember the scene of the taping perfectly. They were down in my room in the basement of the Robin Hood Trail house in Sturgis. Being in my ultra geeky audiophile phase I had recently hooked up surround sound speakers, a microphone, and a radio shack mixer into my stereo system. I don’t remember what track it was, but I believe it was the audio only b-side of some cassette single I had that they decided to sing along to. Having a blank tape already loaded I slyly hit record as they began. I never told them I was recording it, I just clearly labeled it and tucked it away with the hopes of embarrassingly revealing it later. Of course I forgot about it until today.
I haven’t listened to it yet, but tomorrow after presents are opened and after nearly a decade in storage, the tape will debut.
# December 25, 2003 02:55 AM