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By J. L. GreenPublished 5 months ago 5 min read
Top Story - January 2024
Photo by Bruno Guerrero on Unsplash

Sitting on this dusty shelf, I wonder what I've done to deserve this abandonment. Wasn't I good to you? Didn't we share many wonderful memories?

People pass me by with a quick glance and a snicker.

"How old is that thing?" they say.

I find that quite rude. 50 is hardly old. It just grinds my spools, seeing that look on their face. I'm still holding strong! Just see how you feel when you're 50!

Sorry, sorry. I got a little heated there.

Was that one of the problems? I got too warm? I never ruined anything on purpose, never caught fire, nothing of the sort. I lived obediently on your mantle, just waiting to be used.

I still remember the day I was unwrapped. What a happy Christmas. The Beatles playing through the radio, the kids around the tree. I was a gift to Mother; Father set me up that same day.

The children wanted to watch their new copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Mother was happy to oblige. Curled up on the couch with hot coco abound, I was happy to be there.

Throughout the years I got a taste of so many different lives. Then, you started to stray.

I'm "outdated". I'm "old". "No one makes stuff for that thing anymore".

I didn't let those ugly words upset me. I was content; just happy to be there, waiting for another taste. Every now and then the grandchildren will pull out Anastasia, or Thumbelina. The whimsy is nice, refreshing.

My spools turn just as well as they did back when you first opened me. You were impressed by "how well it's held up". But I see the collection of colorful plastic boxes when the grandchildren pull them out. There are precious few things I can taste. I had hoped it would be enough.

My hopes were crushed on...that day. It wasn't Christmas or Valentines day; not an anniversary or a birthday. It was the day after Thanksgiving, of all days. Completely unprompted, Father brought in a newcomer.

Shiny silver and sleek with little buttons. Mother will need her glasses to read them. But what's this? It has a child. A smaller but somehow bulkier version of itself that sits beside you on the chair, or nestled in your hand. Mother can bring it up close to her face, turning it under the light just so. She doesn't need her glasses to read that.

"Now Jim, how do you work this thing?" Mother asked.

Father points to a few things, muttering, "Here, this one..."

Mother scoffs, handing it to him completely with an annoyed, "There's too many buttons."

"Now hon, just give it a chance. You may like it."

Like it you did. Just about everyday after supper Mother and Father would sit on the couch and give this newcomer a taste of life. I suppose I shouldn't be stingy, I had a good thirty years before they came. But that doesn't mean I don't miss it.

I'd almost believed that my time was done when Charles, the eldest boy, asked Mother to bring me to his house for Christmas so they could "reminisce". Oh, the joy!

He didn't have a good spot for me, so you just put me on the ground and spent hours letting me live. It was a Christmas miracle. It would be my last.

You forgot me.

Then Charles, wanting to clear the space and keep the house tidy upon his wife's insistence, put me "away". In the garage. In a box labeled 'misc'.

It was dark, but not silent. Everytime Charles left, I could hear the grinding of the garage door. I lived in that box for...well I don't know how long. But then there were voices. And my box shifted.

"This is heavy! What do we have in here?"

Light. Sunlight on my buttons. It is warm. If only...If only I could have one last taste of life. Of anything.

Charles stares at me, his hair graying at the roots and looking shockingly like Father, and tears form in his eyes. His wife gives him an odd look and rubs his shoulder.

"I remember..." he chokes out, and a sad smile curls his lips. "Mother begged for this. It was all she wanted for Christmas, something to play the home videos on."

The home videos were my favorite. Not only the taste of joy and beautiful occasions, but watching Mother smile as she sat with splashes of light and color playing across her face.

His wife had the traces of forlorn at the corners of her eyes before they wrinkled with a smile.

"I know! We should see if we can get them burned onto discs for her. Then we can find somewhere for this."

I didn't know what that meant. I'm all too aware that that was my final sentencing.

You got the home videos burned on discs as you had planned, and with no need for me, you took me away. This new woman that handles me has a kindly look about her; I realize with a jolt of sadness that she reminds me of Mother.

She doesn't scoff when she sees me. She places a little bright pink sticker on my top and puts me on a slightly dusty shelf beside others of my kind.

And here I live, alone, frightened-

A newcomer. Small. Young. Her eyes are the deepest brown and light-up with intrigue.

"Mama, whats this thing?" she asks, tugging at an older womans sleeve. She's looking at 'extension cords', but she stops and gazes over to me.

"I haven't seen one of these in forever!" she says with a laugh, stepping closer.

"But what is it?"

"It's called a VHS player, or VCR, and this used to be how we watched movies as kids."

The child pokes at the flap of my mouth, peering inside.

"Where does the movie go?"

Mama shakes her head and pushes the prodding hand away.

"Careful, don't break it. Movies used to be like big boxes and they go in there." She pauses, her equally dark eyes looking up to the ceiling before she smiles. "You know what? I think Nana might still have my old Disney collection." She picks me up, blowing dust off my head. "You go look at the toys, I need to make a call real fast."

She leaves me as the child eagerly bounces away.

Do...Do I dare hope? I shouldn't.

But wait. She's back! She picks me up with a bright smile on her face.

"We're going to swing by Nana's real fast, then we can go get some pizza, make a fort in the living room, and watch some movies. Just like when I was a kid. How does that sound?"

The child jumps in delight and claps vigorously.

"Yes please!"

"We're going to start summer break off right!" Mama says.

This must be Heaven. I can hardly believe my luck. Finally, after so long, I will get another taste of life.

Thank you, Mama, for giving me this chance.

And thank goodness for nostalgia.

Short Storyfamily

About the Creator

J. L. Green

I've been writing for fun since I was a preteen and haven’t stopped since. I tend to favor the darker/angsty/thriller type of themes. Here’s to hoping readers enjoy my work, and those that don't find something they do.

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Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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    Well-structured & engaging content

  1. Excellent storytelling

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Comments (12)

  • ayesha nadeem14 days ago


  • Great story! This reminded me of a delightful ode “Down in the Bathroom” about a worn out toothbrush… Australian singer Peter Combes wrote this and lots of kids’ music.

  • Thank you all for your kind words and support! I'm so glad you enjoyed the story. All I could think about when writing it was watching all the old VHS tapes at Grandma's house.

  • Margaret Brennan5 months ago

    congratulations on TS. This story is incredible. We still have our old VCR. Doesn't work any longer but we just couldn't get rid of it - yet. Now, I wonder if I ever will. (Oh I still have my grandmother's old flip toaster. It must be about 90 years old - and it still works!)

  • Test5 months ago

    Terrific work! Keep it going—congratulations!

  • Cathy holmes5 months ago

    Great story. Congrats on the TS.

  • Chris Irby5 months ago

    bruh!!!!! my stuff fr

  • Kendall Defoe 5 months ago

    This is really hitting home with me (where are my old VHS tapes, anyway)! 😉

  • Dana Crandell5 months ago

    Wonderfully written! You managed to make me feel sympathy for the old VCR and the nostalgia definitely kicked in. I held onto mine far longer than I should have. Congratulations!

  • Catherine Dorian5 months ago

    Nostalgia certainly saves lives. I can't help but think that creating memories for our children inspired by nostalgia, as this mother does in the end, is perhaps the best education on recent history that we can give them. Beautifully done and well-deserving of Top Story.

  • Rasma Raisters5 months ago

    I loved this it brought back many memories. I still have a video/TV player combination and many old videos. When I get in the mood I pop in a video lose myself in the movie and return to yesterday. I have many home movies on video that always make me misty-eyed so glad I still have a player.

  • Jennifer David5 months ago

    Phenomenal! I was wrapped in your story from beggining to end. You grabbed my interest with a clear sense of nostalgia-- I love Anastasia, by the way. Made me wonder if I watched it on VHS as a kid but I can't remember. Then your words never let me go. I loved this from begginng to end and was so immersed in the story that I was almost in tears with the main character.

J. L. GreenWritten by J. L. Green

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