1. MTV. We got cable in 1984, right as MTV was figuring out what to do with itself. It was part of my life all through the 80s and into the early 90s when things started to change. Do you remember videos from the 80s? They were spectacular, fabulous, awesome.
2. Sesame Street. It isn't all TV on this list, I promise. I watched Sesame Street from the mid-70s into the 80s when my sisters were little and I would catch bits with them. . It felt so real when I was little--and my mother could watch with me because there was a second level of humor above what the standard 3 year old would catch. It was culturally diverse before that was a thing that people did. Characters had character. It felt like...it felt like how I remember the 70s, frankly. Back when swingsets on playground had rusty chains and everyone wore a parka from KMart or Sears. Now it is pablum served up on a BPA-free plastic spoon.
3. Parkas from KMart or Sears. This reminds me of my post about Kids' Winter Coats. Today's coats for kids suck. Or they are $250. Maybe the 70s were colder, too. But my coats were hand-me-downs in 1976. And handed down. And handed down.
4. Playgrounds that didn't all match each other. I like that Rocketship playground in the county is still its own thing, but so many of them are cookie cutter replicas of each other (some with more doodads than others). I remember see-saws that you could adjust so you and your sightly smaller brother could ride them together. Swings with long chains. Those nauseating spinning things that terrify me as an adult and just made me sick as a kid. Ah, those were the days.
5. Croquet. We played croquet in my backyard starting in about 2nd grade or so. We had a set with 6 mallets but only 4 balls, and most of the wickets were made of hangers. I would play with my brother, with neighbors and friends, and by myself, creating complicated courses as a sort of meditative practice.
7. Record players, especially 33 1/3 records played on 45 or 78 rpm. I loved to take "disney long playing records" and make them really short playing.
8. Tan m&ms.
9. Phones with cords. Not that I liked them back then--I just wish I had them again. I do have one, in my room, in case of a power outage but that doesn't work anyway because our phone line is digital and I think that means when we lose power we will lose phones from now on. Not sure yet (we've been lucky with the outages the last few years). Not only for power outages do I wish I still had them, but also because our cordless ones are constantly getting lost. A certain 11 year old takes one up to her room and it dies there. Private phone calls can be private, when back in the 80s and 90s they were in the kitchen or possibly on the back porch. In the 5th grade room I subbed for last Tuesday, a child brought over a book written in the 60s and pointed to a sentence. It read something like "Henry ran into the kitchen to phone the police." He was puzzled and couldn't articulate why. I thought it was "phone" as a verb, instead of call. He shook his head. "If it was an emergency, why didn't he call right there where he was, why did he go to the kitchen?"
10. Plaid uniforms. Or any uniforms. I loved wearing uniforms to school. Everyone was the same. Sameness is freeing--it encouraged me to be unique in different ways than what I wore, which was good since most of my clothes had been worn already by my cousins or kids belonging to my mom's friends. How I wish I could don a uniform today (without working a check out line I mean). I stick to denim these days, with a black t-shirt, but I can't wear that to teach. I'm having a hard time determining how to build a wardrobe for work that is also a uniform. Jake manages it--dockers and a button down. I guess I could do something similar. But plaid skirts and oxford cloth shirts were far easier...no thinking.