My family is originally from Ecuador. We don’t make the trip back to our family there often, but we have done it a few times over the years. The first time we went back to visit was in 1988. My siblings and I were still quite young and my father wanted to give us something to keep us occupied for the long journey. He decided that a tape player would be the perfect way to do this, and bought all of us our own walkman to listen to during the long plane ride.

I still have it for a number of reasons. It did keep me company on that trip and subsequent long trips afterwards, and it was my most treasured possession for a long time. I used it throughout the 1990s and well into high school. I also have vivid memories of using it during the 2003 blackout and the 2014 ice storm. I suppose you might say it is an item of comfort during bad times, at least in terms of weather.

Funny enough, I never bought music tapes for it. I only ever bought blank tapes and copied off of other tapes or from the radio. All of my tapes were made of random mixes of the top hits for that time.