On my seventh birthday, we finished dinner, had cake, and my parents gave me my presents. Weirdly, seven is a birthday that I remember better than any other birthday as a kid. In fact, it may be the only one that I remember the specific presents. I don’t remember what my parents gave me, but my dad’s parents sent me a Little Twin Stars towel set (and let me tell you- I used the bath towel and washcloth til they were threadbare. I think I still have the hand towel somewhere) and my mom’s mom sent me a Cinderella dress.
After all the hubbub was over, my dad, who for some reason was wearing his jacket inside the house, said “You have one more present. I have it, but you have to find it.”
He had put something in every pocket. His shirt pockets, pants pockets, jacket pockets- all of them. Things like a rock, or a key, or a piece of paper. Things that were not my present. I put my hand over his right breast pocket, and there was a cassete tape in it. I took it out and printed on the front, in my dad’s careful all caps handwriting, was “JUDY’S TAPE”.
I had children’s records, but I’d never had a cassette tape of my very own. (keep in mind this was 25 years ago now…) I don’t think my older sister had one either, because she was really jealous. It was very short, only part of side A of a 60 minute tape, but it was probably about right for my attention span at the time.
Over the years I listened to that tape so often that I eventually wore it out and it broke. The saddest part about it breaking was the loss of side B, where my friend Jason and I recorded our eight year old selves being silly. At one point I was Dr. Jonny Fever; we tried to get his cockatiel Cracker to talk; and at one point his little sister was screaming in the background and there was the awesome “That was Emily screaming”. You probably had to hear it for any of that to be funny, but anyway…
I don’t have it anymore but I remember every song, and almost the order:
I’m Being Swallowed By a Boa Constrictor
I Have a Song to Sing-O
Grandma’s Feather Bed
Day is Done
(song that I vaguely remember but don’t know the name of and my dad doesn’t recall)
Annie’s Song
American Pie
Puff the Magic Dragon
Take Me Home Country Road
I could be missing a song, but I’m not sure.
This year, my dad made me a CD. It is Made Of Random, but they’re songs he loves, some of which he knew I liked (Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, White Rabbit, Flying Purple People Eater), others I’ve never heard of (Tan Shoes with Pink Shoelaces, Please Mr. Custer, Tennessee Bird Walk), and he wanted to share them with me. It’s been in the CD player in my car for 10 days now.
Every once in a while someone asks “What is the best present you’ve ever received?” and I think the answer has to be the tape when I was seven, with this new CD coming in close behind.

3 thoughts on “

  1. Heather

    I love everything about this. How sweet of your Dad to think of something like that! I think those things are absolutely priceless.
    My mom used to sing us silly songs as a kid, and I am thinking of asking her to record herself singing a bunch of them so I will have them for my kids even when she isn’t around.
    And now I’ve made myself sad by thinking about a time when my mother will be gone…
    Thanks for sharing the sweet memories!

  2. Caryn

    That is so cool. I mean, it was totally sweet that he did that when you were a kid… but then to remember how much you loved it and then make you a CD 25 years (ish) later… makes me want to hug him. 🙂

  3. Michael

    “Tan shoes with pink shoelaces/
    A polka-dot vest, and, man-o-man/
    [S/He] wore tan shoes with pink shoelaces/
    and a BIG PANAMA with a PURPLE HAT BAND!”

Comments are closed.