Christmas Memories: our first VCR


I have vague recollections of watching Pinwheel on QUBE, but my parents canceled the subscription before I became a television-watching zombie. After that, we were one of the only families I knew that didn’t have cable. All my friends had cable, so I would orchestrate any opportunity to spend the night at friends’ houses so that I could get my television fix. Then, one year for Christmas when I was still a wee lad, my dad purchased for the family our first video cassette recorder.

It was a glorious thing: so modern and high-tech! I thrilled at the eject button, which opened the top-loading tape slot. I marveled at the faux wood panel. I listened in awe as the motors busily rewound the tape. This was the dawn of a new era: movies on demand, and the ability to watch something on our television without static!

In addition to the VCR itself, dad had also purchased a number of movie rentals. I think it was Curtis Mathis that we used for our tape rentals, but the years have blurred that detail, so I can’t commit to that claim. Nonetheless, dad brought forth a film for us to enjoy on Christmas Day. There we were, warm in our pajamas, faces aglow with the joy of freshly unwrapped toys, and we were about to watch a movie of our own choice in our family room, rather than suffer through whatever was being broadcast that afternoon!

Dad had rented Poltergeist.

I spent the bulk of Christmas Day, and all of Christmas Night, spooked out of my gourd. I was afraid to go upstairs to use the bathroom, insisting that someone come with me, and wait in the hallway until I had finished my business. I refused to go to bed. I was a wreck. Way to spread Christmas Joy, dad!

That VCR, though, lasted many years and provided countless hours of entertainment to the family. Poor first movie choice aside, it was a great gift!