Childhood 1985 to early 90's
Reflections of Childhood from 1985-through early 90's
By: Dustin A. Erickson
Well this is probably the umpteenth article about someone's childhood memories but hey, isn't that what Retro Junk is for? This one is mine, all mine (muah ha ha ha ha!) Ahem! Being born in the early 80's I still remember a lot of what was going on despite being very young. From countless hours spent in front of the Television watching cartoons, making a mess with Play-Doh to playing outside pretending to be He-man or a Ghostbuster, the 1980's and early 90's were a great time to be a kid. So I guess I am going to start at around....oh...1985. I was 2.
The earliest memory that I have is getting the greatest toy(s) for boys ,at that particular time, at Christmas, He-Man action figures and Tonka Trucks. Not the crappy plastic Tonka Trucks, I'm talking about the heavy as hell, rust in the rain, bad ass metal ones. I used to run around the house with my figures and switch their arms because it was so easy to do. It was easy to loose the limbs too. I had Man at Arms, Skeletor, Prince Adam(He-man before he was He-man for all you youngin's), Hordack from the She-Ra series and countless others. I never had the castles or anything else He-man related at that time but I didn't care. I made due with what I had.
Now as far as those Tonka Trucks are concerned, man those things were great. I had the dump truck, a crane and two graters. I used to tear up my grandparents' yard with those things until they got me a sand box then it was Tonka war in the sand. And boy did those poor trucks take a beating. Running them into each other and or trees and curbs too. It was great fun until you pinched your fingers on the dump truck and if you left them outside and it happened to rain they would rust. I myself am guilty of that. Then they just disappeared. I think my parents gave them away.
Another staple in my early childhood was Ghostbusters. That franchise ruled my childhood like a communist government. After I left behind He-man, Ghostbusters is all I wanted to be. My grandmother would let me rent the movie every time I came over for the weekend. There were a lot of weekends that included Ghostbusters. So much so that she eventually bought it for me and I was in heaven. Anything Ghostbusters I wanted it. Even those annoying little buzzer things from Hardee's from around the time part two came out.
A few favorite TV shows of mine back then were Webster, Diff'rent Strokes, Punky Brewster, Alf and even some of the "Adult" shows like Cheers, Night Court, Golden Girls, MASH and even Barney Miller. Then my all time favorite TV show....The Real Ghostbusters cartoon. I would be glued to the T.V. when it came on. I had the sheets and drapes from the cartoon too. Playing with the figures, running around pretending to be Ecto-1, and playing with the proton pack thinking I was Peter Venkman. Good times.
Then there were the countless trips to McDonald's, getting a happy meal then playing in the outdoor playground with the pieces of bark on the ground instead of sand and of course getting splinters too. I went there so much that I should have gotten some sort of employee discount. The Happy Meal toys were cool back then too, Hot Wheels, the Transformer like toys that were food items them morphed into dinosaurs,Fry Kids, McNugget Buddies and so on and so forth. The Happy Meal boxes were kind of a toy in itself also. Sometimes it would have directions on how to make it a building for your toy cars, punch out masks or if you were really crazy, an awesome hat despite the fry grease inside. Burger King was cool too but McDonald's had them beat in the toy area. A few Burger Kings had a train theme and one in my home town had a really elaborate model train layout in the center of the store. That one was my favorite. Oh one last thing on this topic, yes I was card carrying member of the Burger King Kids Club.
Lets see I think I'm around...1990's I think. Well Ghostbusters was still running my life at this point and most of the 80's fads were starting to fade so I needed something new. Enter WWF,WCW, neon clothing, Nintendo, Gak and other rad 90's trinkets.
I started to get into wrestling as did many other kids did in the early 90's but didn't watch it religiously until I was much older. I do remember the likes of Hulk Hogan(who doesn't remember him?), The Undertaker's first run, Papa Shango, The Ultimate Warrior, The Hart Foundation, Macho Man, Sting (pre-crow era), Ric Flair (I used to think he was a little fruity), Million Dollar Man and yadda yadda and so on. Mostly of what I remember from that era is Papa Shango doing voodo on Warrior and Hogan, Flair going back and forth between the companies, the Undertaker hardly speaking and I wondered why Brother Love was so red. Most of this era is foggy so I'm going to move on...
I know that the Nintendo Entertainment System came out in the 80's but I didn't get one until about '91. My Stepfather bought it for himself and I. We would always play Super Mario Brothers 1-3 for ever. Then there were the countless trips to the video store to rent games like Spy vs. Spy, what ever Simpson's game was out around that time, Snow Bros., um yeah. Not only did we play a lot of Nintendo, my stepfather would also take me to this arcade called Aladdin's Castle.
We would either go to the one in town at Old Market Square ( now the entire building is a job center) or the one in Regency Mall in Racine. Sadly the arcade is gone. I still have a few tokens lying around somewhere. Well before this gets too long I am going to end this writing. Stay tuned for part two. So until then I bid you all adieu and may the Schwartz be with you.