"I hope you remember us and the fun times we've shared whenever you hear this tape," wrote my friend Alexis on the inside cover of one of them.
You bet I do.
I remember the long drives to school, riding shotgun in Alexis' old white station wagon, listening to the radio and singing along, except when it was Mariah Carey's cover of I'll Be There. When that song came on, Alexis would promptly turn up the volume and we would both listen, rapt and starry-eyed, while everyone else in the car politely kept quiet. When the final, soul-charged note died away, we would simultaneously release a long sigh, volume turned back to normal, and conversations resumed.
It was like a little piece of heaven on the traffic-clogged highway.
My cassette player is old and clunky, and I guess all those old songs are available in digital format these days, but these mix tapes are keepers. A lot of love went into them, and you just don't throw that away.
Thank you, friends.
Here are my picks from the combined playlist - have a listen and see if they don't bring back yesterday once more. (Some of these were retro even for us back then!)
November Rain - Guns N' Roses
I'll Be There For You - Bon Jovi
Love Just Ain't Enough - Patty Smyth
Theme from Dying Young - Kenny G
Theme from St. Elmo's Fire - David Foster
Foolish Heart - Steve Perry
Friday I'm in Love - The Cure
All I Want - Toad the Wet Sprocket
Anything for You - Gloria Estefan
End of the Road - Boyz II Men
So Far Away - Carole King
Sweet Baby - Stanley Clarke and George Duke
Save the Best for Last - Vanessa Williams
Best of My Love - The Eagles
Biggest Part of Me - Ambrosia