Wednesday 1 March 2017

VHS Tapes, Goodbye

    Things stay pretty static in our house.  I guess Joan and I don’t like change too much.  Anyway, yesterday, a small change was made.  Change often causes a cascade effecting which causes other things to change.  That happened yesterday, when Joan wanted to clear a space in the lower part of the table behind our couch.  This mean’t moving all of her cookbooks that had taken up residence there.
    Of course, all those cookbooks needed a new home.  The logical place for them were the two shelves on our book case that had been used for storage of our old VHS tapes.  We haven’t watched a VHS tape on our tape deck for at least a decade, so there was really no reason to hang on to them and I began taking them from the bookcase and putting them into two trash bags for disposal.
    I always feel bad about chucking things away, thinking it is such a waste, but despite my feelings I filled the bags with the video tapes and put them into the back of the truck destine for the dump.  
    I am sure this operation has been carried out in most North American households many many years ago, but up in our little corner of the world things move much slower.
    As I took out the tapes and looked them over, it struck me what an important part of our lives they used to be.  Living in our isolated valley in BC, we were far away from mainstream culture.  We could read and hear on the radio and TV about what films were popular, but we had no movie theatre, and only a few TV stations; we were starving for culture and entertainment.
    When video recorders first hit the market, I immediately saw the value of them, and when I saw one of the then rare machines in Prince George, I bought one and was one of the first people in McBride to have one.  They were terribly expensive at the time.  Having a VCR didn’t really solve our problem though, since there were no places in little McBride where you could rent a movie, and so we had to rent them whenever we drove up to Prince George  and send them back by mail after we viewed them.  
    Even getting a blank tape to record TV shows was a problem.  One McBride store did get a few, but it was selling a blank tape for $40 each, way more than I was willing to spend.  Fortunately as time passed, other people in McBride bought video recorders, thus creating a market for tapes and movies.  Several places in town began renting movies on tape, but the selection was very small.
    We depended heavily on my brothers in the US to record more obscure films and send them too us.  We enjoyed being able to tape TV shows when we were away from the house.  We often invited friends without VCRs over to watch movies with us on our tiny 14 inch Sony TV.  It seems ridiculous now, but everyone was disparate to see films.
    VHS tapes were soon replaced with DVDs and now they are being replaced by internet downloads and streaming.  The page has turned on VHS cassettes, and now these once valuable items are headed to the dump.

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