While most kids my age were roller skating, riding bikes and climbing trees, I was over at my best friend’s house begging her to crawl under her house to retrieve this little gem…
Her parents owned a dictation machine. Now I had no idea what dictation was, but I knew this little beauty would record my voice and let me play it back.
Using a very basic microphone, the machine recorded sound on reels of tape housed inside a cartridge (who knew I’d be creating mix tapes on the next iteration?!).
At the time I was obsessed with a commercial for Combantrin—where a mother goes to a chemist to buy a worm treatment for her son. It involves a hilarious discussion of worm scenarios:
Mother: my boy has worms
Chemist: what worms?
Mother: I don’t know what worms he’s got. How would I know what worms he’s got. What worms are there anyway? Fat worms…skinny worms…worms with glasses…worms that go bump in the night…
Or something along those lines. It was tricky to voice both characters and increase the speed of the read as the mother gets more and more frantic.
I would do take after take to try to get it just perfect.
It all went pear-shaped after the tape stretched from overuse. We could no longer record on the stretched tape and there were no spare cartridges (at least that’s what I was told!).