Well let’s save that for a moment. Back to the ‘base exchange’, or BX . Our Dad, had access to this special shopping place reserved for the elite.
These special groups of people were military members and had access to the post or ‘base exchange’. What a privilege to shop there back then. You could save so much money – if you only got it paid to you. Those members stationed in an overseas area, got even better deals.
While Dad was serving in Viet Nam, in his very limited spare time, he began collecting hundreds of recordings. He would laboriously record at ‘real’ time from either another reel to reel or even a plug connection for a phonographic transfer. This was huge. It made portable the hundreds of hours of music on a reel-to-reel.
This tape would be very carefully threaded in and out of wheels and sprockets – just right, manually. Then, finally, the tape would be wound onto a collection reel. When you had the tension just right, again, being very careful not to snap the tape you finally would push the ‘on’ button and the music would come forth. If you used pure music, you actually did not hear the scratch and rustle of the needle scraping the plastic vinyl record.
Of course, this technology was fraught with its own set of problems. You had to have clean new tape to record, Then you had to have your musical selections in an order that made sense. Plus, there is no chance of figuring out where it was on the reel. Your favorite piece might be next, but if you missed it you had to hit the rewind button and bring it back.
Be careful with the tape! It could mysteriously fold on you and twist. Never could figure this out. You could break the tape or worse yet, you could forget you had your science magnet in your pocket from school that day. Erasing hundreds of hours of tapes could really spoil your backside. And loose you your magnet!