Original Facebook post Sunday, August 19, 2018.
To My Grand Pals, Edison, Winston and Lucie,
Since you are all little right now, you probably won't be reading this until you get a lot older. And by then, I'm guessing that things like video streaming and the internet have been replaced by something even more advanced and mind boggling. If that's the case, then this post about the last Blockbuster in the world that I just saw on my road trip to Bend, Oregon will be really ancient history to you. But since it represents something that was very important to your parents and grandparents, I thought I should tell you a little bit about it.
Blockbuster video was started in 1985, just a few months after your Mom was born. By 2004, it grew to over 9000 stores worldwide and employed over 84, 000 people. What made this unprecedented growth possible was that Blockbuster offered something brand new for many of us - a place where we could drive to and pick from a great selection of top rated movies on video cassette to rent for the night. And by the way, your Mom's favorite video cassette was a movie called E.T.. She must have watched it at least a hundred times and made me watch it with her almost as many.
Now if you are wondering what a "video cassette" is, I'll give you a little background. Video tape was a digital format recording on a magnetic tape, which incidentally was the first time in history that we could see something immediately that had just happened. A company named Sony introduced the first video cassettes in 1969, which was the same year a concert called Woodstock was held in upstate New York. The video cassette movies weren't always smooth and sometime's the tape would break or unspool. But we were so excited about the fact that we could have a movie play on the bulky home machines we bought, we gladly put up with it.
With the rapid advances in technology, video cassettes were soon replaced by round metallic digital optional storage units called DVDs. Blockbuster began carrying them too, but many of us were weary of them. Eventually, we all caved in and bought home devices called DVD players that could play them. However, in 1997 a company named Netflix began doing what most of us thought was impossible - streaming movies on demand right to our homes over the internet. And once that caught on, the days of Blockbuster were numbered.
So with all that said, here's what Blockbuster did that made such an impact on us. For the first time ever, we could go down to our local store and rent a movie that we'd heard about for months. If we had cute little ones - like you three are right now - we could make some popcorn and watch the movie or cartoon as a family. And if Mom and Dad managed to stay up later, they too could enjoy a movie they might never get to see. So it was a great way to spend family time together.
In closing, I hope that whenever you are reading this that we still have those treasured moments to share in life together, no matter how technology brings them to us. Because in the end, it isn't about entertainment, it's about love.
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