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Postcards from Travel Near and Far by Jia-Rui

08055, Medford — Musical Time Capsule (and a Book Report)

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My First Mix Tape

Today I attacked the book shelf where I kept old tapes and school papers. These mix tapes were the emotional currency of middle and high school in the late 80s through the 90s. Did any of us know then that the equipment to play them would be obsolete so soon? Here’s what I put on that very first mix tape:

Playlist of my first mix tape

So I’d have to date this to early 1988, given that Jodi Watley’s “Some Kind of Lover” and Tiffany’s “Could’ve Been so Beautiful” both came out in 1988. But I have to say I was moved to go find Whitney Houston’s “So Emotional” on Youtube, so here it is for your reminiscing pleasure:

I’m pretty sure this mix came next, though it’s undated, too. (I guess my librarian need to catalog didn’t kick in yet.) This is the movement into what I’ll call the “mood” mixes.

Bliss Mix Tape IMG_2770

Thorough Googling and radiocarbon dating put this one c. 1991. I was just another tween girl with a crush on the ABC lads (who were, I guess, a little younger than me, but so, so fresh). Watch this video for “Iesha”: (“We ate cereal …”). I know I discovered “American Pie” in 1991, when I first went to nerd camp (also known as CTY). This started my mini-fad of mixing the oldie-but-goodies with the new stuff.

This next mix is funny because the graphic I drew underneath is so early 90s. Also, I guess I was learning vocabulary words that made me feel deep.

Genuine Faux Eclectic Mix IMG_2759

And then, in 1993, I was 16 and feeling the full brunt of teenagehood:

Angst Mix IMG_2746

I don’t know why Monty Python’s “I’m a Lumberjack” had any relationship to angst — I probably recorded it off the sound part of the TV, which was easiest to do at the beginning of a tape rather than somewhere in the middle. But, oh, how “Living in Oblivion,” “Wish You Were Here” and “Forever Young” stoke those smoldering adolescent coals of longing and frustration. This Anything Box video with a guy with Fido Dido hair makes me want to find my trench coat:

And what were my friends listening to at this time? Well, my friend Shannon made me this mix:

Shannon's Mix IMG_2757

As a bonus, I also include this picture that shows the teacher comments at the bottom of a book report I wrote about “Anne of Avonlea” (the sequel to “Anne of Green Gables”) when I was 12. I was breathlessly in love with Anne and Prince Edward Island at the time.

Too verbose

In case you can’t read it, the important part says, my report “is a bit verbose. You’re writing a book report, not another novel. Try to cut it down.” Well, I had enthusiasm anyway.


Author: postmarkhere

I'm a journalist based in Los Angeles who has always said that writing postcards for a living would be a dream job. The posts -- short enough to fit on an actual postcard -- chronicle recent travels near and far. I could blab on about being inspired by epistolary novels, the short poems of Emily Dickinson, and the New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" pieces, but I'll just say that I'm aiming to give you a sense of flavor of a place without boring you to death. Wish you were here!

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