Sappy story but I have to...
I fired up the tubes an hour ago so they would be warmed up this evening and I got to thinking about my first stereo. It was 1970 and I was about 10. I wanted a stereo really bad which is probably strange for most 10 year olds. Well, Christmas came and there it was! It turns out my Mom had been reasearching one for a while even though she had no interest herself. She picked out a Lafayette amplifier, 8 track and speakers not to mention 10 or so popular 8-tracks. Although the $150 could have been used for something more reasonable considering the financials, there it was! I guess you could say I started out with separates. The next year I got a turntable and two years later she upgraded me to a Lafayette 180 watt am/fm receiver. The local Lafayette store was considered pretty much the only audiophile class store for hundreds of miles. I was impressed that she would go somewhere like that when there were "cheap" stores around. That is how I got started with this stuff.
To this day I think about all the things she gave up along the way so I would have stuff that made me happy. The stereo was only one little thing on a long list.
You know, maybe I'll just shut down the tubes tonite and go listen to the old Lafayette. I could never bear to give it up so its upstairs hooked up to the original Lafayette speakers.