80s collageYesterday my youngest daughter made a comment about my youth, referring to it as “The 80’s, when there were all those hippies.”

After a playful head flick and a quick history lesson, I thought about my childhood and deducted that I did most of my living, hell, the best part of my living in the 80s. It truly was my decade.

My daughter was partially right; having been born in 1964 I did live a large portion of my earlier life in the hippie generation. My preteen years were mostly in the 70s, where bell bottom pants would swish down the hallways in school, and you listened to all of your pop music on a crackly AM radio or huddled in front of the family’s hi-fi stereo with gigantic headphones on. And disco? You either loved it or hated it.

(I loved it.)

When the 70s gave way to 1980 I was a sophomore in high school. By the time 1990 rolled around I had lived the best years of my life. The best. I had graduated from both high school and college, had traveled to Europe twice, had my best job ever, had my best car ever, had become engaged, and then, unengaged.

Even if I try to forget the milestones of my life and just really look at that decade, I have to say I think the 80s were great. It was like the planet woke up from a long, dreary sleep and said “Rise & Shine! Let’s kick ass and take names!” Everything about the 80s seemed to go POW! Music, fashion, movies, TV; everything was brighter and better. Well, maybe not better, the 80s did give us Kirk Cameron.

The 80s brought us MTV. Hell, the 80s brought us cable TV and HBO, both of which were monumental to this young Jersey girl. Add to that the VCR, and I had a television trifecta. (Yes, I know the VCR & HBO came out in the 70s, but my family didn’t get either until the 80s)

cable remote

The old cable remote. I’m pretty sure MTV was channel 26 – first button, third click down.

Before cable there were 7, maybe 8 channels you could watch. After cable? It seemed like there were hundreds, but there were only 37 at first. Now I could watch stations out of Atlanta and Chicago – it was like the world was delivered to my television set. And HBO? If I wasn’t watching MTV, I was watching HBO. I’d watch the same movies over and over again. Except Eddie and the Cruisers – HBO played that one way too much.

Eddie and the Cruisers was another bad thing to come out of the 80s.

The 80s brought us the Walkman. Music was both portable and private. No more listening to music blaring from a tape deck. Alright, you still did it, but you didn’t need to anymore. I didn’t get a Walkman for quite a few years after they came out – they were too expensive. All the rich kids at my school had them, but I had to wait until they came down to a reasonable price. And the headphones? They were tiny compared to the giant cans we had used in the past.

albumsThe 80s brought us some great music. Ok, not all of it was great – I could go the rest of my life without hearing Cutting Crew’s “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” – but a lot of it was new and original. Madonna, Adam and the Ants, Depeche Mode, Bananarama, Squeeze, Human League, Cyndi Lauper, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I could go on and on.

Certain songs catapult me right back to college, walking along the paths of U of D with my headphones on. Songs like  “Don’t You Forget About Me,” or “Eye in the Sky.” “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and “Dance Hall Days.”

The 80s brought us some fucked up clothes, but I kind of liked it. Neon, graphic patterns like checkerboard and animal prints, slouched shirts with one shoulder bared. It was comfortable, I’ll give you that. It was also the last time I wore, or looked good in spandex.

playhouseHow about 80s television? Yeah, most of it sucked, I’ll give you that. Shows like Growing Pains, Punkie Brewster, Night Rider, Saved By The Bell, and Who’s The Boss polluted the airwaves. But it wasn’t all bad. The 80s also gave us Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Cheers, Family Ties and The Golden Girls. I have to admit to a few other shows I loved with some level of shame – The Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, and Rescue 911.

MoviesAnd 80s movies? Come on – there were TONS of good movies in the 80s. Back to the Future, Sixteen Candles, Tootsie, The Karate Kid, Mommie Dearest, Aliens, Scarface, Ghostbusters, The Princess Bride, Big, Die Hard, Caddyshack, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Poltergeist, and Raiders of the Lost Ark just to name a few. I must have consumed 4000 pounds of movie theater popcorn during those 10 years.

I know some of you out there will disagree with me – you probably think the 80s were mindless and vapid, filled with big haired bimbos and clueless dudes wearing headbands and pastel polo shirts. Yeah, they were all there.

But it was my time. I was young and things were new and exciting. There was stuff out there that my parents just couldn’t relate to, and I loved that. Things like MTV, Walkmans, and CD players were ours – innovations that had never been seen before and we were the target market. Yeah, I loved the 80s.

Like, fer sure.

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