Leg warmers, mullets, and neon-colored spandex – welcome to the 80s!
My time as a kid growing up was rather safe, or so we thought. Compared to today’s bubbles last, health consciousness and political correctness mindsets, we would not have been able to do much when I was a kid. Most things we attempted to do would have triggered calls to child protective services.
Please understand, my parents did a great job and I had a wonderful childhood, but some things we did as kids were absolutely not safe 🙂
Yet we survived to be home alone and drinking water from the garden hose.
When we arrived home from school, we unlocked the door to an empty house as both parents might have been at work, and then we did homework … if we had any.
Not something we necessarily wanted to do, but we had limited choices as both parents were working and if we wanted to go somewhere, it was on the two-wheeled horse.
We spent the next several hours outside, playing in the forest, garden or with the kids on the road where we lived. I was not allowed back in the house until we had dinner, normally around 5.30pm, and then it was TV for max an hour watching American mini-series dubbed to German.
I have vivid colorful memories from my childhood where we biked everywhere – and no helmets – and we did some bizarre offroad biking through the forest on conventional bikes. Nobody had BMX bikes yet.
My own kids would look at me with a different perspective if they knew some of the stuff we did as kids, and when they realize what gadgets we did not have.
Talking about what cool gadgets we had and what we did, well here are a few gold nuggets and blast from the past for all you 80s kids. Some cooler than others, but they gave us lasting memories.
It was gnarly being a kid and teenager in the 80s
I remember getting a walkman for my 14th birthday, with a few tapes with Paul Young and Limahl. This was the gadget to own and allowed you to bring music with you. My parents soon realized that this was a bad choice, as they could not reach me when I was playing loud music.
I spent many hours making ‘mix tapes’, carefully recording cool songs from the radio and my records, and bringing these to friends’ places. Sometimes we caught a little ad or the DJ talking, but it was the coolest thing we had and we just enjoyed the music.
In school, you talked to the girls you liked by sending them notes in class. Not text messages, but actually handwritten notes with some corny phrases and then the mandatory selection boxes for ‘yes’ or ‘no’. You would hand the notes to classmates asking them to pass it along to the intended target, hoping no one would open the note. People mostly respected passing notes around to potential girlfriends without reading it. If the mates did read it, then we would have a little smackdown in the yard after class, and then become friends again.
During the weekends, when hanging out with friends, we would bicycle down to the local Blockbuster to rent some shitty horror movies or the latest movie releases. If we didn’t have a VHS player at the house, we would rent one of those too. Blockbusters were the place to be. It was lit and kids went there to hang out at times. It was amazing if you managed to get a job there too, then you were really cool.
If we didn’t rent movies at Blockbusters, then we would play Space Invaders on the Atari. Not the awesome graphics as we had today, but it was cool. Failing that, and if you didn’t have the Atari, we might play Commodore 64.
We didn’t use the words cool, but “gnarly” became shorthand for anything and everything considered cool and/or exciting.
For the more hardcore cool kids, we wore ripped knees in jeans. It was a struggle to put on these contraptions as your foot or toes would always get stuck in the various rips. It was like an obstacle course to put these pants on. Once on, you suddenly changed personality and appearance.
We were the outcast and cool dudes. We had mullets, ripped pants and walkmans.
I had a blast growing up as a teenager in the 80’s Watching ‘Strangers Things’ was like watching home videos from my childhood, except the monster and strange occurrences.
We had friends. We spoke to each other. We hung out at cool places. We biked everywhere and our parents did not wrap us up in bubble wrap. We survived the 80s and became grunge kids in the 90s.
Welcome to the heavy 90s!