Photo by Hakan Dahlstrom, feature photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Goods team is looking for your stories about the “ultra-modern” tech toys from the past you thought you couldn’t live without.

It was turquoise, and it was tiny. Sometimes I wore it strapped to my wrist, sometimes hooked to my belt – it was almost more of an accessory than a music player. And the selection of tunes available was strictly controlled.

By Apple? Hell no. This was before the iPod Nano was a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye – that thing’s really just a rip-off of Fisher-Price’s Pocket Rocker, anyway.

So the Rocker couldn’t “shuffle” or have a “menu.” So it wasn’t “durable.” Does the Nano allow you to wear your mini-cassettes on a chain around your neck that also happens to show off your house keys and a Cherry Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers? Nope.

I had two mini-cassettes – each of which came with two tunes – that I listened to until major warpage occurred. One was the Ritchie Valens tape; I sung along perfectly with La Bamba and convinced myself I was fluent in Spanish, then I’d flip it over and yell “Tequila” in all the right places.

But my favorite was the Tiffany cassette. To this day, when I hear I Think We’re Alone Now, I know every word up until halfway through the second time she sings “running just as fast as we can!” That’s when the tape warped and I’d have to rewind to the beginning, which somehow took longer than the actual duration of the song. (I’m pretty sure the tune was about a whole step or so too low after a month, too.)

If you were born after the glorious, fluorescent, spandex-covered decade that was the eighties and this all seems like the ramblings of a madwoman, here’s what I’m talking about:

Really, the Pocket Rocker was my introduction to portable music. My eighth and ninth years of life are sort of a blur – probably due to an over-exposure to colors with names that include the word “hot” – but I’m reasonably sure I jammed the Rocker before I even had my own Walkman.

Now we want to hear about your favorite retro, old-timey, outdated gadgets from back in the day. From cameras to clunky car phones, tell us a story about the “super-advanced” toy you had to have once upon a time.

Send submissions to lola at and/or michelle at To learn more about writing for Matador, check out our submissions guidelines.