.ImageSome things in this world have changed radically in the past fifteen years. Facebook, Twitter, and similar social networks didn’t exist back then. People exchanged videos on VHS tapes since most used dial-up services. E-mail and newsgroups were in use but many folks still used the postal system for letters.

Via my electronic music hobby, I befriended a Japanese couple named Art and Tomoko. Through the medium of VHS tapes, they showed me their apartment in Tokyo and their Harlequin rabbit, Lap. They also taped various cultural events.

I returned the favour by sending them videos of Gideon and gave them a tour of my home. Likewise, I taped the Klondike Days bath tub race and scenes of downtown Edmonton. The couple enjoyed the music I sent them so much that Tomoko drew Gideon’s picture for my next album cover.

When her colourful drawing arrived from Japan in my mail box, I took it to a rubber stamp company and had them manufacture one for me. That made it easy to make my album covers at home, stamping each cassette and CD-R j card with Gideon’s image.

First I cut up old manilla file folders, which I scrounged while working at the Government of Canada’s Airports Branch, into four inch squares. Then I folded them so they would fit into the clear plastic cases. That red ink I used on the stamp made Gideon’s image stand out nicely against the beige paper.

Once I had decided the order of the tracks and the information I wanted to put on the j cards, I printed the texts from my computer on scrap paper. Gluing the texts to the card stock with rubber cement made the covers look less home made and amateurish since I could just rub away the excess.

All my efforts saved me printing costs plus I had plenty of stamp pads and ink which the government also tossed out. Because my former employer was so wasteful with supplies, and since they let me take unwanted used stock home, I had ample stationary to choose from.

Though I’ve lost contact with my Japanese “keyboard pals,” I still have the stamp and Tomoko’s drawing. It reminds me of her and her husband’s kindness to me. I hope they still have my CD-Rs and my videos to remember me by.

I’ve written about my adventures and misadventures with house rabbits in a book called When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living with Bunnies). Please visit my Bruce Atchison’s books page for more information about it as well as my other writing activities.


Author: bruce Atchison - author

I'm a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of three memoirs and scores of articles. Contact me for details.

One thought on “A GIFT OF A DRAWING”

  1. Hi Bruce, I’ve never exchanged videotape letters, but I exchanged cassette letters with friends for many years until the 1990’s when I got e-mail. My husband Bill and I still exchange cassette letters with a couple of friends who don’t have Internet access.

    Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of
    We Shall Overcome
    How to Build a Better Mousetrap:
    Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

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