Here’s something kind of different: 49 years ago today, I bought a tape recorder. I already had one that my parents bought me for Christmas 1971, but I decided to purchase the latest and greatest. So, I scraped together $32.88 + 4% sales tax and went down to the local Snyder Bros. Drug store to purchase a Panasonic Take ‘N Tape!
Immediately upon returning home, I installed batteries and a blank cassette. Then, I went out to “interview” the neighborhood kids. This was back in the day when kids could be kids: just hang out on the street, ride bikes, talk about underwear, build forts in the vacant lots, or whatever.
The first sound you hear on Saturday, April 27, 1974 is the roar of Marx Big Wheels. These were extremely popular on our street, often ridden in convoys. Then, the voices of myself, Dana Durigan, Michelle Kirby, Lisa Kirby, George “Scooter” Maurer, and Lisa Hansen.
Exactly 5 months later on Friday, September 27, 1974, we celebrate Michelle Kirby’s 8th birthday at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Burnsville. For a kid growing up in the mid-1970s, this was THE place to have your birthday party. Great pizza, all the soda pop you could drink, and a live banjo band that would sing “Happy Birthday” to you!
If one of the kids wasn’t celebrating a birthday at Shakey’s, there would be a party at their house. These were major events which everyone attended! Patrick Maurer’s parents hosted such a party in July, 1974. Of course I recorded it. The infamous “Patrick’s Party Tape” will have to wait until another day since I do not yet have it digitized. But Tracy Monro sure remembered it! Tracy was my “Kooky Canooky” buddy who lived kitty-corner from us. I called her this because of the shirt she used to wear all the time. Wasn’t Kooky Canooky a Canadian cartoon? Anyway, on Friday, September 6, 1974, she gives us a brief synopsis of the neighborhood parties!
Michelle’s little sister Lisa liked to tell jokes. On Saturday, September 7, 1974, she shares a few of her favorites with us!
Here’s the earliest neighborhood tape. Predating my Panasonic Take ‘N Tape by 2 years, it was recorded on the Spartan Atlantic unit I mentioned at the beginning of this article. Each summer from 1971 through 1975, my parents would let me take over the garage and set up my “headquarters” out there! Fully equipped with portable TV, multiple radios, record player, and of course a tape recorder, it quickly became a hangout for the neighbor kids. On a Saturday evening in June, 1972 (exact date unknown), Carol Lofsness, Gail Lofsness, and Maria Schutz joined me to watch “Mouse Factory” on Channel 5. After the show was over, I turned on the recorder and passed it around for commentary!