As my wife and I drove the nine miles from our house to my daughter’s dorm I said, “I hope that rug is gone. It’s not even ours.” I was in my organizing mode: how to pack up my daughter’s things as efficiently as possible and get them home in our car, including a small refrigerator. The rug belonged to my daughter’s roommate. She had moved out the night before and had offered the well-used industrial gray carpet to my daughter as a parting gift. Right. I know that ploy: pawn off the hard-to-move stuff on your roommate as a gift. I lived in a dorm. Some things never change.
It was a perfect day to move. The day before had been wet and rainy. The next day would be hot and humid. But today was perfect. My mood lightened as we drove the Beltway. We listened to the ’60s on 6 station on the radio. Friend & Lover’s Reach Out Of the Darkness was playing and suddenly I was standing on the roadside waiting for the Greyhound bus to take me to Detroit. It was June of 1968. I had just finished my last final exam and was on my way back to L.A. for the summer. Thoughts of the beach had replaced the angst of studying. And I couldn’t wait to get out of the Midwest. As my wife and I drove to the college, once again I felt that anticipation —moving from one world to another.
Moving out of the dorm was a one man job back then. My parents were in California. It was all up to me to pack. I was pretty efficient even at 18. I had two piles. Things I was bringing with me on the plane and things I would be storing at our family friend’s house in Detroit. Two trunks for storage. Two suitcases for my clothes and my Sony Sterecorder 230.
The Sony Sterecorder 230 was also a marvel of efficiency. By 1968 standards, its footprint was small and the speakers became the cover when you were ready to take it wherever you were going. It was a reel=to=reel dual track tape recorder. I could record hours of music on each tape. Philips had invented the cassette tape in 1962. But the quality was mediocre at best in the 1960s. My Sony allowed me to record much better quality and it was easy to lug around. Sorta.
So, I stood at the bus stop with my two trunks, my two suitcases, and my portable tape player. After dumping my storage, our friends delivered me to the airport. My Sony was much too valuable to check in as luggage so I took it as carry-on on the plane. I laugh now. Can you imagine? It was 1960s portable but it wasn’t small. However, it did fit under the seat in front of me. Barely. I’m sure it wouldn’t be allowed on today, let alone fit under a seat.
The rug was laying there when we arrived at my daughter’s dorm room. I took a deep breath. It was not coming home with us so we dumped it with everyone else’s rugs in the trash. But the refrigerator fit. Barely. My daughter, apparently inheriting my efficiency by osmosis, had done most of her packing and with the help of her boyfriend, we got out of there in record time. No trips to storage. No trips to the airport. She had her laptop and iPhone neatly tucked in her backpack.
I still have my Sony Sterecorder 230. It’s in the attic with my portable Selectric typewriter and those college trunks, now full of decades old term papers and “stuff.” There’s nothing like being efficient.