According to automotive experts, the last car to be factory-equipped with a cassette deck was a 2010 Lexus. As that final model—a Lexus SC 430—rolled off a production line somewhere, a bit of our childhoods faded away. Or did it really?
Being a child of the late 1980s, I now struggle to recall a time before CDs, MP3s, and iPods. But the reality is that there were plenty of long car drives during which the only thing keeping me from succumbing to utter boredom was humming along to a good tune blasting from the car speakers—something playing from a cassette tape.
There would be stacks of carefully recorded, perfectly organized mix tapes which were safely contained in plastic cases, decorated with bright stickers, and tucked in the glove compartment and center console of my dad's car. Those cassettes had been traded between friends and crushes before finally earning a spot in the road trip rotation. They were certainly part of some amazing memories.
I think back to those long completed road trips sometimes and more often than not I can't help but marvel over my inability to recall the moment when I finally tossed aside my beloved cassettes for something shinier and newer. And that makes me smile more than any bit of nostalgia over a gadget from my past—because it means that everything else about those journeys was more important.
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