On New Year's Day, 1984, less than two months before my father would pass away from cancer, he wanted to buy me a color TV for my bedroom. This would be the first color TV we would buy in our house.
I was a young adult living at home. On that day, I drove my dad and my mother up to KMart in Wayne, NJ and chose a 19" TV with rabbit ears. It had a faux-wood plastic casing and a dial channel-changer. No remote control, as that would have been an added luxury at that time and would have added to the already steep price of about $250.
We brought it back home and since my father was very weak and couldn't carry it, my mother and I brought it into the house and got it up to my room by sliding the large box up the stairs.
There were no complications with cable connections or even a VCR, (recorders were still a few years away.) I just plugged it in, attached the rabbit ears, and voilà -- I was watching seven whole channels within in few minutes.
In those days, the purchase of a new piece of modern technology was a special event. But some part of that experience has not changed. Be it a new flat screen or tablet, it’s still a thrill to open the box and find the product perfectly packed in molded Styrofoam. You’re sure you can actually smell the fresh plastic as you take it out, put aside the instruction books, power cords and other accessories and behold your new item for the first time.
Hopefully, we have not become too nonchalant about these expensive items that have become far more common in this digital age. Undoubtedly, some of the fond memories I have surrounding these presents are the loving intention with which they were given. My wish is that today’s youth understands that these gifts are special and I hope they get the same thrill from opening those boxes as I did.