Keeping it Reel

Tonight was the first of what promises to be many…well….fun nights with my dad.
If any of you remember me from highschool, you’ll recall that my relationship with my dad growing up was eh…strained at best.

These days I’ve come to have a lot more respect for some of the shit he’s gone through (and is going through).

So last time I was over at my parents…Easter I think…Dad mentions these reel-to-reel tapes. On one of them is a May 5th, 1970 broadcast of Armed Forces Viet Nam (AFVN) radio (from the Delta to the DMZ). That’s the day after the Kent State Shootings. I still haven’t found it yet.

One of the few vivid memories I have from a very young age (and there aren’t many) are of my dad and older brother trying to coax me to speak in to the microphone. Well…as fate would have it, we found that tape tonight (it was actually a tape that I almost chucked because the leading 2 feet were mangled, but Dad said “just cut it”…so I did….and threaded it up…and bammo…it was the right tape). The really weird thing is…I was a baby on this tape. My dad still called me Andrew. And I had to have been only 1 or 2…there’s no freakin’ way I should remember that. But I clearly do. There may be another tape some years later where the incident was replayed…but so far that’s the only one. Weird….

The AFVN tape from July 4, 1970 is very interesting,too. It’s interesting to listen to the world news. 37 years later, the news is….the same. They names have changed, but the actual news is…pretty much the same.

So, this whole reel-to-reel kick is pretty much in full swing now and I remembered two crates of tapes that Ian had given me to hang on to. So Dad and I started going through those. The first tape I pulled out was labeled “WATTS 1965…..Studs Terkel” and I’m like….’Watts….1965….?’ And Dad was like…’That has to be about the riots.’ So we put it on. And sure enough. It was a tape of a call-in radio talk show discussing the Watts riots. I mean-talk about a time machine. It was very trippy.

As I dug through more tapes in those crates, I found a lot of tapes that could prove very interesting in as far as getting a glimpse in to what our country was going through in the 60’s and 70’s. There’s 2 tapes from 1963 on segregation and civil rights shit in Birmingham, Alabama. I think it’s safe to say that if my kids have any class projects dealing with the 60’s I can make sure they get some extra credit.

I’m also kicking around the idea of copying these reels in to MP3 format. Is that something you all would be interested in? If so, let me know.

And, with a functioning reel-to-reel deck, if you or your relatives have any old broadcasts or family reels that you want transferred, let me know.

Alright….gotta head out now. The deck is calling. Gotta figure out what Dad and I are going to listen to next week.


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