When I first went to college, I lived in the dorms at a school that was about an hour’s drive from my friends and about a two hour drive from my family. I would make those drives every single weekend and every single holiday for about two years.
That stretch of highway was long and boring. There is absolutely nothing of interest on Highway 287 between Fort Worth and Wichita Falls. Nothing. And many times I was driving at night, with the windows down, my tunes cranked up and singing into the wind. Or listening to the music, letting it wash over my mind as I contemplated things both sacred and profane. Mostly profane.
My company on these long drives were my cassette tapes. Ninety minute Memorex cassettes onto which I could usually record a complete 45 minute album on each side. I probably had about 25-30 of them. Different artists, different styles, all in my beat-up faux-leather tape case that I would take with me wherever I went. Steppenwolf, Elton John, Steve Miller, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Metallica, The Beatles, Queen, Jim Croce, James Taylor, Phil Collins, Huey Lewis and the News, and much more! (I sound kind of like an old K-Tel ad…).
I recorded the albums from friends and family that had CD collections. Later, I would end up getting rid of the cassettes in favor of upgrading to disc. But those tapes kept me sane and happy during a very lonely time.
They were my friends and companions. And I miss them.