What the 90's were to me.

A story about growing up in the 90s.
May 26, 2010
Well, were can I begin? After all the 90s were a very fond time for me. This is a story about what this decade was to me and how important to my life it still is. It's something I fondly remember because it was a time when I was happy.

I grew up in a town called Spokane, WA. I lived with my mom and my brother, since our fathers didn't really give a damn about us. Mine was no where to be found. I was the only child my mom had that was born out of Spokane. She was in the navy when she had me. She was stationed in Portsmouth, VA. It was November 28th, 1987 when I had been brought into the world. My brother was born in Spokane, obviously. Except he's always known his dad, which he isn't really fond of to this day.

I can't really remember my first three years of age except two things here and there; one, being stung on the back of my neck by a bee, two, my mom having a VW beetle that I remember being in, and finally one of my mother's boyfriends who scared me so badly, I hid from him. My fourth year is very hazey but from 5 on I remember alot. I guess I'll start there. I was living with my mom and brother in a house on Joseph street around 1992-1993. My mom and her boyfriend were living with us. I think it's first real time I had a basement. That was really cool, but I never went down there because it creeped me out.

I also remember being in my mom's car by myself. I was in her front seat, because I swiped the keys off the table and started the car. That's all I can remember from that instant. According to my mom, she says she went looking all over for me, and found me in her car trying to put the keys in the ignition. Haha. It was also a time to remember pain. I slammed my hand in her car door that same year. Ouch.

Around that time was the first time I actually stole something. It was around the time McDonald's had their Batman Returns toys. My cousin had the really cool Batmobile that launched the Batmissle while I had the really lame catwoman and penguin car toys, so I took it from him. I "borrowed" it until it broke. Here's the commercial for it:


I LOVED Batman. It broke because the locking mechanism inside got ruined from firing off the missle so many times, so I was sad...until christmas that is...


I got the best Batman toy ever!!

It was the Batmissle Batmobile! I was SOOOO stoked! So happy! Like, screaming happy. This was my thing. This was MY Nintendo SIXTY-FOUR!!

A couple monthes later we moved into another house, this time it was on Nettleton (or however you spell it). This is around the time when my stepdad entered the picture. He was an asshole, at first. Still kinna is at this point, but he's alright. My uncles had gotten us a Sega Genesis around this time. We also had a Super Nintendo and NES for awhile too. They both also resided at my grandparents' place, too. Both systems were equally fun in my opinion, but I was always waiting to see what else Sega had up their sleeve.

I did always like the occasional "GENESIS DOES WHAT NINTENDON'T" advertisements. What shaped me the most though, was Sonic the Hedgehog. Sure, he's gotten such a bad reputation in the last decade or so, he's still my hero. To me, he's still awesome. Awesome enough that I'm waiting for Sonic 4. Anyway, I was mostly for Sega though, until they didn't make game systems anymore. I was wowed when they came out with the second version of Sega CD, and when they came out with the 32X. When the Saturn came out I thought that was awesome too, but the parents wouldn't buy it. Now, I'm kinna glad they didn't. However, I did want a Dreamcast, even when that one did poorly as well.

This decade is responsible for molding me into the kind of gamer that I am today. I play newer games that come out, but my heart always belongs to the classics. The games that made me a gamer. My uncles were also involved in this too, since if they didn't play games, good chance I probably wouldn't be today either. I think the first game I ever played was Super Mario Bros on the NES my grandparents had. This was the one that had Duck Hunt on it, too. That was loads of fun, except I sucked horribly on the clay shooting. I still suck at it! Ah well, Duck Hunt was cooler anyway. The first game I actually completed though would have to have been Sonic 3. That game was pretty fun. I even remember going to Toys R Us with my coupon from the Big Book and grandmother in tow to buy it.

I hate the fact that people can't buy a game unless they've heard good reviews on it now instead of just going to buy a game back like in the day simply because it looked cool. I judge by boxart. Always have, always will. Unless it's a sequel to a game that I thought was good. I miss those days playing nothing but Star Fox, Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island, Super Mario All-Stars, all the Sonic games and Mega Man day in and day out.

Video games were my thing and still are. My gramma played video games with me as well. She liked playing the Mah-Jong on Shanghai II, Yoshi's Island, and Super Mario World and All Stars on the SNES. She also played Sonic games with me like my uncles did.

I would rent alot of games because they were always so expensive. I actually didn't know how much Genesis and SNES games had cost back in the day. I know a game I definitely remember flipping over though, and it's responsible for getting me into the whole Mega Man franchise. That game was Mega Man X.

That game kicked total ass. I rented and played that game over and over and over and over again, even though I had beaten it several times. I even had it on my computer at one point when it was out for PC. That's when I got my first gamepad for my PC as well, since it came along with it. I collected everything in that game every time I played it through. I'd get all the parts, sub tanks, and heart tanks so I'd be awesome. I didn't get around to X2 or X3 for awhile, but now I've completed the X, Battle Network, Star Force, Legends, and Classic series'. Not much of a fan of the Zero and ZX series' but I'll give them a try eventually.

A majority of my youth was spent hanging around my grandparents and my uncles. My grandparents pretty much raised my brother and I since the days we were born. Our uncles loved and cared for us very much. Anyone from Spokane who might read this will know what I'm talking about in the subjects to come. Anyway, another cool thing about them was we were around them when the whole grunge scene bursted out of Seattle. Spokane was the next place to be affected. We always had the radio going in the car, wether we were with our parents, or uncles...it was on. No questions asked.

The three songs I remember hearing the most on the radio growing up were Two Princes by Spin Doctors, Connected by Stereo MCs, and When I Come Around by Green Day. I still listen to all of them today. I also remember the occasional Faith No More's Epic and Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. Music was something that I could not live without. I had a fascination with any kind of cassette or CD. I would record stuff alot on blank cassettes, including VHS. I remember one time I had recorded an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures or some other show I liked, and one of my uncles taped over it with Epic...><
I liked hanging with them around the downtown area, since one of them worked at Riverfront Park, along with my gramma. Apparently she also worked for Washington Water Power, long before it was called Avista. Another thing we did alot around town was visit comic book shops. They loved comic books. They had mountains upon mountains of comic books whenever I'd walk into their rooms. They also had the trading cards that went with them. They had the golden holofoil cards of characters from X-Men and the like. My uncles also had the two collector cards from when the Death and Return of Superman arc of the comic was going on. Really wish we didn't sell them at a yard sale...

A comic book shop they visited frequently was the one that was near the Burgan's that is now closed down, but is now on Division. We'd also watch movies with them from time to time. Like Wayne's World, and Encino Man. We had gone to the Garland Dollar Theatre (when prices were still 1.00 for admission and now it's like 3.50 to get in) where my aunts also worked at. We watched Encino Man there shortly before it came out on VHS.

My grandparents' place was on Calispel street right down from it. It's the first two story house on the block on the final intersection before you get to the fence that overlooks the downtown area. That's my favorite part of the neighborhood. That whole Garland area up past Franklin Park and Wellsley and the Hemlock area near 5 mile is what I'll always consider to be home. There are other parts of town that make me feel that way but I could go on and on about those. So I won't, haha.

One movie we sat and watched alot was Back to the Future. We saw that movie soo much that we knew the words. We'd sit and record ourselves reciting the lines from the movie. Sometimes I actually recorded the audio from the movie with my tape recorder. Since I'm on the whole recording subject, I also got one of these badboys, or should I say Talkboy!

It was BEYOND awesome for me. I loved how you could slow your voice recordings and speed them up. I played with it for hours and hours.

Another year I got a Nickelodeon water color board or whatever it was called. Y'know, the one that had the black area you could draw on after you filled it up with water and the drawings would be all rainbow-like? The following year, I got the Batmobile from Batman Forever. I thought the movie was alright, but they didn't have to go and replace Michael Keaton(then again, Christian Bale does make a better Batman, hehe)!

My parents totally pulled one over on me though. They had already taken the Batmobile out of the box and taken it to the living room, while in the box was the movie! I was about to cry, following someone showing me where it was, and my eyes lit up! Legos were a big thing that I was into for a long time. I had tubs and tubs of Legos that we eventually sold...I still wish I had them because I've seen what people can build when they spend enough time on a project, and I get envious! I had tons of Pogs too. My uncles and my brother collected them. I don't remember what we did with them though, sigh...I consider it a lost opportunity.

This decade is also important because it fuels my love for all things Japanese. Here's somewhat of a breakdown of it all; first there's the video games I love soo much that were made in the land of the rising sun, Sonic and Mario! Sega and Nintendo! I loved the slow and steady platforming of Mario games while I also enjoyed Sega's Blast Processing when it came to Sonic the Hedgehog titles. Just being able to zoom from Point A to B was thrilling enough for me. Then there was Power Rangers, which I was also into for awhile. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wasn't made there, but that's where ninjas come from! Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing, and Sailor Moon (some of you have probably figured out that I was a Toonami watcher) are the first animes I started watching then, and now I can say I'm a full blown otaku now!

That's not all. In the fifth grade my class had penpals from the Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute over by Spokane Falls Community College. It's still there today, now I'm looking at those ladies for a different reason! My penpal's name was Akiko (didn't know her last name).
Since I was heavily into Pokemon at the time she had brought me back all this swag you couldn't get here! I was in total awe! I'm also trying to learn Japanese at the moment. I know a few things about their culture, since it comes with watching ALOT of anime. The fondness of puns, to the cliches of a schoolgirl falling in love with a childhood friend. I want to go there. I will someday, and it will happen. It's my dream!

I also got my first computer 1997. It was a Compaq Presario. I don't remember which model it was, but it was cool! It was also cool because it was PC and not a Mac (but I totally liked Macs more than PCs when I was a kid. I honestly think that Mac is trying to call me back though...) I hear some people now that say that they're getting their first computer. They say that "I think you have to grow up with them to be able to understand how to use them" while I tell them "My grandma was 53 when she learned how to use a computer!" I collect films nowadays from the 90s as well as music I used to hear on the radio during that time. My collection is big, and keeps on growing. I also take time to learn about major events that took place during that time. I know a bunch of pop culture references from being a kid and some I didn't know when I was that age. A part of that collection includes I Love The 90's. If anyone can find Part Deux anywhere on the internet, I'd be extremely grateful!

So, since I've sidetracked a bit. Time to recap. 1993-1994 we lived in a house on Nettleton when my stepdad entered the picture. He's the only dad we've ever really known to be there, and both my brother and I still think he's still somewhat of an asshole. He was kind of rough, but whatever. In late 1994 we moved into my grandparents' place since they moved into an apartment in Brown's Addition with our uncles.

The house on Calispel has been sitting there for more than 100 years. I want it to be mine one day, since it's an important part of who I am. My grandparents then moved out into an apartment during the early part of '95 in Coeur d'Alene. One uncle was with them and the other was out attempting to further his drawing skill to eventually turn it into a career. Unbeknownst to me for a little while, finally learned that uncle had been diagnosed with cancer, and my mom was pregnant.

On January 28th, 1996 my brother and I received two new siblings. A boy and a girl. They enter high school this year, and already I feel old! Yes, they were the brood of a stepfather I am not very fond of, but I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. Even if one's totally awesome and the other is a drama queen. We needed more space, eventually so we moved out to a house on Magnolia street with our grandparents in tow. They were kicked from being the managers in their apartment for my brother and I staying the night there on several occasions.

I think a couple of monthes later Ice Storm '96 happened. I remember being together in the living room listening to the radio until we went to bed since power in our area had been down all day. I was bummed because I couldn't play my video games! Then the next morning it all came back on! Woohoo! Christmas time was especially important. For it was one to remember.

My uncle had be getting weaker and weaker from all the chemotherapy, and I had also learned that his cancer had gotten worse and gotten into the bone marrow. My grandparents moved out of the house and moved into an apartment right across from his. He started to look like a living skeleton until June 6th, 1997 he passed away. I was devastated. Someone who I had spent my whole child life with, creating such fond memories with me, playing video games with me, who wanted to see our younger siblings grow up, was gone just like that. It still hurts to this day, and I keep him in my heart because he was important to me. He was one of the people who made me who I am today. I'll never forget him.

After that we moved into another house. It's the house I currently reside in on the corner Cleveland and Regal, but it's where I spent the rest of the 90's and some of the new millenium in. My brother and I got our Nintendo 64 that year that we had been begging for. I remember playing Super Mario 64 for the first time. I played it at my cousin's place. I held the controller like all the controllers I held before it. I looked like a retard trying to stretch my thumb to move the stick from where I had it on the D-Pad. I learned how to use it once we got Star Fox 64 which was totally badass.

We also started renting games and movies from Blockbuster at that time. We frequently rented games like Crusin' USA and San Francisco RUSH. While playing CUSA we'd purposely crash into the school buses while yelling "SCHOOL SUCKS!" waiting for the people in them to scream, heehee. Then in RUSH my uncle and his best friend were playing and he somehow managed this retarded looking front flip that his car was doing and I laughed so hard I actually pissed my pants! I played Bomberman 64 religously on that console as well. BEST. GAME. EVER. 1999 had finally rolled in and something new had caught my eye. Something-Sega-new.

DREAMCAST! It was sooo badass! I wanted it soo bad, but my mom said no. The thing eventually bombed anyway. I do like the occasional Street Fighter III: Third Impact, Jet Set Radio and Sonic Adventure 2 since the first one sucked, IMO. My elementary school days had already come to a close that year and off I went to middle school. The 90's were definitely fun, but considered too new at the time. Now I'm writing this article. It's 2010 and it's time for 90's trends to come back!

I hope you enjoyed my article. I've been meaning to write it for awhile. I never would've written though if I had never come across this site. Retrojunk.com is the best site ever made. It gives me hope to keep on going in this world because I know I can always come back to these memories. They're something I want to show when I have kids of my own. All of the people who poured their heart and soul into this site had only one thing in mind; these memories aren't just memories...they're our lives. They're important to us, so let's keep them alive. Y'know what they say, the past is what makes us who we are today.
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