I was born in 1982. I suppose that is the best way to start this article, since the timeframe is quite important. This writing is, for all intents and purposes, to share with you what I remember about growing up, and how those memories have affected my present, and surely will affect my future.
Although I was very young for much of the 80's, I had a brother who was five years older than me that introduced me to many things I may not have experienced otherwise. Lets face it, our early years back then were pretty much engulfed in Fisher Price products.
There it is, the toy I was most enamored with as a young child. This was not just an airport, it was an entire world in my mind. People flew in, people flew out, they did their business and went about their daily life at this hub and it didn't matter where else they went. Of course there were others,
but the Little People airport remains at my grandparents house, tucked away, and always brings back memories that I hope will someday be paralleled by my childrens'.
Now I know that some of this article will be very similar to other articles, but hey, somethings are bound to be "coveted" by many people. So it's no surprise that starting out a day, what I wanted for breakfast was not different from what other children wanted, especially whenever a company released a cereal related to the pop culture of the day:
Let's face it, people, the choices that we made for some of our favorite foods was not necessarily influenced by our taste buds,
but by how popular the product. Yes, we were shallow, materialistic little snots sometimes, but we were kids, and we demanded satisfaction with no responsibility!
Most of my childhood is remembered in a timeline of toy introduction. During my young years, my aforementioned older brother and his toys were the objects of my very one tracked affection. I am sure all of you who had an older brother can remember the emulation and adoration you may have had for this "all knowing" sibling, and I was no different. I wanted to be just like my brother, hence I wanted his toys. Most importantly, the big four:
These toys and their corresponding TV shows and movies still affect my life today. How can you find more imagination in Star Wars? The original trilogy had everything: Action, comedy, romance. It taught me so many life lessons, especially "Do, or do not, there is no try". Thanks Yoda. In fact, you could have subtitled the movies Star Wars: A New Hope (and you learn a little about yourself too). Transformers and He-man offered little in the way of lessons, with the exception of if you want to be an evil overlord, don't send your nemesis to another dmension, just kill him...looking at you, Skeletor.
G.I. Joe, however, gave you the PSA's that gave us so much! Don't take medicine unless given to you by your parents? We don't even NEED the Mr. Yuck stickers
Of course, I won't forget the ladies, after all, my girlfriend wouldn't approve unless I added Jem
which also had those all important PSA's (that ones for you, Allyson, and my big sis as well).
Yes, I won't forget the things that my sister brougt to the table. Don't act like you ignored everything that sisters were wrapped up in. My Little Pony, Barbie, Rainbow Brite, I dealt with it all. Oddly enough, I don't recall ever complaining. I mean, I love my sister, so I was cool with bringing my toys along for a crossover special. The cartoons? Well, while they lacked the maniliness and violence I preferred, I put up with them.
The most important thing about being a child was imagination. So many of us tend to ignore that very important life recipe as we get older. Sure, while playing we couldn't recreate the woodland battle ground of the forest mon of Endor, and who was lucky enough to have a creek nearby to have a water fight? Most of us had to settle for a puddle in our backyard, but our minds turned it into a scene right out of a movie, rivaling a Michael Bay movie, but with better storytelling.
I want to take one second to bring up my favorite snacks of the time that I still think about to this day:
...that's it. Pizzaria chips were it for me. You don't like it? Fine, here are a few others I KNOW you will relate to
There are a few others, and they ALL deserve to be brought back...take the hint, you corporationy corporations (and I know they are not all gone). My father loved the Hostess Fruit Pies, and the pudding pies, so we always had those around. Doritos were a delicacy to my brother and I, and a bag was NOT safe within a 50 foot distance, especially when HBO was playing Ghostbusters or Fright Night, as we intently crowded around the TV in my Grandparents' basement, which was also the site of our many "hide and seek" games. I'm pretty sure my hiding spots were the worst, but who DIDN'T try to hide under the couch cushions? Don't judge me.
Later on in life as we got older and my brother grew out of toys and playing with his annoying little brother, movies and the products distributed with them controlled much of my time. In fact, some of my favorite memories with my brother and my sister were gettin dropped off by my aunt at the mall in Minot, ND, which housed the two, count 'em two, movie theaters for the town. Since those were some of the last moments of childhood where we actually enjoyed eachothers company for more than ten minutes, I hold those memories pretty high. We would even get the guts to sneak into another movie afterwards. Didn't my aunt ever question the 4 hour movie time span? Not really. In those times, especially in North Dakota, you didn't have to worry about your kids getting nabbed by some pervert. Or at least you just DIDN'T worry, regardless of if you should. But I digress. These movies played quite a roll in my life
Here were four movies that stick out most in my mind. Believe it or not, I actually saw Arachnaphobia by myself (my siblings, I believe, went to Father of the Bride), and I have never had a fear of spiders since. Top Gun directly influenced my decision at that young age to join the Air Force. And before you start telling me Top Gun was about the Navy, it had planes, and that was enough to fascinate me. It was just that later I realized I would rather spend time with planes on the ground than on a big boat. TMNT and Batman kicked off my love for anything vigilante, and also which toys I would play with for pretty much the rest of my childhood...okay, and some of today.
Turtles were the bees knees, and you know it. I still have most of the original action figures, and the party wagon. I had the complete Batman series figures, although they are all gone now. There were always miscellaneous toys I would play with, Battle Beasts, Starcom, Captain Power, but none of those matched the power of Batman and TMNT (probably because those toys didn't have blockbuster movies associated with them).
Later on in the 90's I grew out of these toys, as I gravitated more towards sports and, of course, girls. But I haven't forgotten any of them, and I still get the same feeling of nostalgia from the toys and the movies, especially as I walk into my attic and come across the toys, or as I upgrade my favorite movies to blu ray. All of these things make me who I am today, at least partly. And as I sit here writing this article in a vintage Optimus Prime shirt and Zubaz pants (not kidding), I can recall all of those special memories like they were yesterday. The bond I had with my siblings, the new world that would open up only when my friends and I would bring our toys together for some outside play time, or the magic I felt going to the movies and being taken away for 2 hours. Not all of these memories happened like I remember them, but I don't think that is what is important. We hold these memories so high for a reason, and we should never lose sight of that. Because once we do, we lose a great deal of our childhood imagination, and the world needs that from us now more that ever. Besides, how are we supposed to show our kids how cool we were, and teach them to be just as awesome?