I recently conducted a scientific study in our living room. I’m calling it electronics archeology. The focus of my study was an ancient temple, known as an entertainment center. This ’80s artifact was made of Cherrywood, with convenient slots for our TV and electronic devices. We bought it from Krader-Wolf, a defunct furniture store that stood at Circle and Madison for a century. 

After dusting off the topsoil, so to speak, I uncovered a tape cassette player in one of the slots. I remembered when it used to play my vast collection of classical tapes, before developing a strange appetite for eating them. I have been buying music in various formats going back to 78s. These heavy platters were replaced by 45s, 33s, 8-tracks, etc. Now, like many, I stream my music. My classical station plays my favorite piece every 10 minutes. 

On another shelf, I found a VCR. It was once hailed as a miracle machine, allowing us to view Hollywood films and the dance recitals of our daughters. VHS seemed like the ultimate format back then, but recently a friend was telling me about an action movie he watched — on his phone. 

Below the VHS device, was our DVD player. It was even more miraculous than our VCR because it could also play music CDs. The centerpiece was our TV, with an enormous tube protruding from its back. The picture was so bad, we couldn’t see the puck and had trouble following the football. When I asked my wife how much we had paid for it, she recalled we won it at our bowling league.

What? The long-gone Ballbuster League at Circle Lanes, where we went to escape our young kids on Saturday nights? We agreed it was time for an upgrade. Fortunately, winning TVs runs in our family and my son was giving us a TV he won in a raffle, to replace the tubular one. 

So it was time to untangle the web of wires and empty the temple. After I removed the devices from the slots, I emptied the drawers of all the DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes. In checking the CDs, I was shocked to find some in their correct cases. In most instances, the cover didn’t match the disc. There were some pleasant surprises, though, like finding Earth Wind & Fire, hiding under New Kids on the Block. 

Then I went through the DVDs. By the end, I had three hefty bags of discs and tapes to throw away. What to do with the survivors? Old School Records was still buying used CDs and DVDs. I spent a pleasant hour there, while Pete went patiently through our collection. I walked out with some cash.

Next, we needed to recycle our electronics. The village has shut down their site but Best Buy in North Riverside said they would take everything but the TV. So does anyone need a TV with a giant tube? 

It’s great for watching basketball.

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.