I was watching a show on the National Geographic Channel entitled “The ’80′s! The Decade That Defined Us.” The first part of the show was about how America changed in the one year that was 1980. From the United States winning Olympic Gold in Hockey to the election of Ronald Reagan.
I was 12 that year. I remember the hockey games very well, I have watched both Winter and Summer Olympics every airing since I was probably old enough to climb into a chair on my own. I remember that the attitude of the Untied States started changing after the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. There seemed to be a resurgence of patriotism. But after the election of Reagan, the entire country seemed to move into consumption of electronics, home work-out videos boomed, and everyone seemed to start to pull away from each other with the advent of not only hand-held video games, but the Sony Walkman burst on the scene. (Yes I had one! I ADORED IT! Made long bus rides just go by real fast.)
Rock and Hip-hop merged with the release of the song “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith and Run DMC. We had a president that was once an actor. Computers not only changed the way businesses were ran, but they started entering homes. An upstart little cable channel, MTV, hit (believe or not) Wichita KANSAS before it hit New York City! Back in those days, we didn’t have shows on MTV, they played music videos 24/7.
Back in the 1980′s, cable was mostly out in the rural areas that didn’t have broadcasting stations like Dallas, Texas, Chicago, Illinois, etc. So today, when I think back and realize that in the small town south of Dallas, Texas (that I grew up in) got MTV before New York City, it’s amazing and nothing short of really wondering if it was fiction.
Un-employment was high, mortgage rates and interest rates were through the roof. But yet, everyone still had an endearing sense of optimism. Seems like no matter how awful day to day reality was in that time, the American Public as a whole seemed to march to the beat of the old song “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
It just seems odd now that I am looking at the threshold of 45, that I look back on the 1980′s, back when I went from pre-teen, to in my early 20′s, that I don’t understand how everyone, myself included, could have just blindly gone to the mall, bought more and more shoulder pads, teased our hair to heights that today is reminisced in movies from that era. It was a time of being focused on the “ME” but at the same time looking at the world around us. One phone call to Germany would forever change our telecommunications. Suddenly, everyone had a cell phone. Ok, so back in the 1980′s, the cell phone resembled more of a suitcase with a regular phone handset attached to it, but if you had one, you were LIVIN!
In 1982 17,000 businesses failed. But that was the year that brought us Brooke Shields in Calvin Kline Jean ads. And just like that, if you were a teenaged girl in the sub-burbs, you HAD to have the Calvin Kline jeans, or the Gloria Vanderbuilt, or Sassoon jeans.
Attached to this blog is a picture of me from 1987. I was 19, and yes, that is a Russian Blue Fox Fur that I had on. PETA, please don’t protest me now for it, like I stated, it was 1987 and the entire country seemed to want to live in opulence and for most of us, that fur was the status symbol that many longed for.
Well, the National Geographic has two more nights of this special series on. I’m sure that as I watch more of it, I’ll remember more and where I was when ________________ happened.
Until next time!