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PUBLISHED: 11:34 AM on Wednesday, February 1, 2006
Trashed the cassettes but VHS tapes are another story
So, what's everyone doing with their collection of VHS tapes?

Mine are sitting in a big cardboard box in my spare room, waiting in as much suspense as a box of movies can muster while I decide their fate. While I've long moved on to the DVD chapter of my life, it's hard to just kick a collection of my favorite movies to the curb. I mean, there's some really good stuff in that box. Oscar winners such as "Gone with the Wind" and "Babe," plus plenty of less-acclaimed yet personal favorites such as "Urban Cowboy" and "U2: Rattle and Hum."

Do I keep all these gems despite their dwindling format because of sentimental attachments? There's not even shelf space left on the TV stand for my rickety VCR that makes crazy rewind noises, as if some elf was sprinkling gravel into it.

While it's nice not to have to rewind and all that on the DVD, it is sort of sad to part with the movies you carefully chose over the span of a decade. So many memories and inside jokes tied to each, it's a little like tossing your photo albums because you now file digital pictures on your Shutterbook page.

I hadn't thought about the casualties of technology upgrades since I decided my sun-bleached cassette tapes wouldn't make the cut of things to pack before my last move. I remember the walk to the trash, clutching the pink, plastic cassette carrier filled with yesteryear's treasured music. This sacrifice to the great Walkman in the sky came in the days before I had the equipment or know-how to download music, and I had intense second, maybe even third, thoughts about tossing such albums as The Bangles' "Different Light."

I knew the day would come when I would really want to listen to "Manic Monday," and I wouldn't have that option.

I guess I could have bought these albums on CD, but does nostalgic love for such ballads alone justify coughing up that dough? Probably not. It was music from a different time, loved by a person I'd outgrown.

It hurt nonetheless to surrender Cyndi Lauper's "She's So Unusual," an album my friends and I danced and lip-synced to all night at my first slumber party.

I think many people struggle with what to do with their cherished media collections. I never owned any vinyl but have seen plenty of friends' dusty crates of records in closets and storage rooms. My parents' records are flat stacked in a generally avoided closet at my mother's house. The record player was easy enough to junk without a second thought, but the music is another story. Perhaps beloved albums deserve better, but what is the option? Crammed in the 25 cent bin at a thrift store, doomed to become part of some hipster's framed album art collection?

The cardboard box will remain for a while, the impetus for many toe-stubbings. I'll keep it until I'm sure I want to dump them.

Even if it means holding on until my grandchildren treat them like kids today treat 8-tracks - thumping them on the floor, laughing at the dated photos, in total wonderment that anyone actually played such a contraption, much less struggled with whether or not to part with it once its format was all played out.

Capitano is a columnist for Morris News Service.


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