50 Like Totally Random Things I Remember as Like a Child of The 80s

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After writing a recent post on 15 things I’d never know if I weren’t a Gen Xer, I came to realize that as a child of the 80s, I’m some kind of Generation X genius. I mean, I could be the “Rain Man” of the Gen X set. Seriously, throw some quotes on the floor, I’ll tell you who said them. OK, that test may not work as well as it does with toothpicks in the movie.

But I now see that I’m somewhat stuck in the ’80s, and I kinda like it there. So I thought I’d share some of the most random stuff I remember as a Gen X poster child.

1. Being fairly certain you would one day marry: Scott Baio, Shawn Cassidy, Leif Garrett, River Phoenix, one of the Coreys, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Jason Bateman, Kirk Cameron, Matt Dillon, Ricky Schroder, or Tom Cruise.

2.  Jumping on the eyes of the alligator with Pit Fall Harry.

3.  Thinking Flash Gordon had the best special effects ever.

4.  That coffee-flavored sucking candy all elderly people had (before anything coffee flavored was cool).

5.  The random Super Friends like the Apache Chief, Gleek, and Samurai.

6.  Screaming, “Oh my God, the girl in Sleepaway Camp has a penis!”

7.  What kind of G-news Gary Gnu shared.

8.  Having an actual family discussion about whether to get a VHS or a Betamax.

9.  Later having the same discussion about Atari and Coleco.

10. Kermit’s nephew Robin.

11. Asking Santa for Fashion Plates, Donny & Marie Barbies, 2XL, Transformers, a Speak n’ Spell, Barbie’s Townhouse with the yellow elevator, and Weeble Wobbles.

12. Yuck Mouth, Interplanet Janet, Time for Timer, “One to Grow On.”

13. Seeing Alanis Morissette pop out of a locker to tell a joke in a mainstream show (ironic?).

14. Archie Bunker’s Grandson doll, Joey, which was anatomically correct. (Am I the only one who had this?)

15.  Being on a wait list for a Cabbage Patch Kid and not even being able to pick the one you wanted (bonus points if you remember its name — mine was Mitzy Shirley and she had the dreaded short curly hair).

16. The shirtless volleyball scene — need I name the movie?

17. Seeing Eddie Murphy in a hot tub, a Gumby costume, or a Buckwheat wig.

18. Being able to recite (word for word) Airplane, Stand by Me, Grease, and anything by John Hughes.

19. Believing you would one day make your own pink prom dress and wanting a friend like Duckie.

20. Wishing to be the ninth kid on Eight Is Enough.

21. Knowing all the words to theme songs like: The Facts of Life, Silver Spoons, WKRP, Punky Brewster, and Different Strokes.

22. Ed Grimly’s favorite talk show host and the instrument he played.

23. Thinking life as an adult was like Dallas or Dynasty and wondering why your parents weren’t cool like that.

24. Mork’s grown son, Mearth (extra points if you knew he was played by Jonathan Winters).

25. Saying “And stop calling me Shirley!” any chance you got.

26. The floor of your closet having one or all of these: Reebok high tops, Tretorns, K-Swiss, Keds, shoe boots, Justins, Dan Posts, Doc Martens.

25. That only Big Bird used to be able to see Snuffleupagus.

26. The yellow waterproof Walkman you desperately wanted.

27. Being willing to fight to the death over the claim that Joey McIntyre was the cutest New Kid on the Block.

28. Getting excited to see Trolley on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, because you knew what that meant.

29. Screw Captain Kangaroo, who remembers Mr. Green Jeans?

30. That He-Man and Battle Cat were known as Adam and Cringer when they were in their everyday clothes.

31. Those Mr. Yuck stickers our parents stuck on toxic things around  the house, which amounted to their highly questionable version of baby-proofing.

32. Being able to spend the entire day outside with no way for your parents to contact you (and that being OK).

33. “Menahmenah, doo-doo da-doo-doo.”

34. Going to a drive-in. (My first was Thank God It’s Friday. What were my parents thinking?)

35. Having to get up to turn the television channel or adjust the bunny ears.

36. Being able to pass a test strictly based on the knowledge you gained from Schoolhouse Rock.

37. Roller skating to anything by Journey, Chicago, Boston, Foreigner, or Air Supply.

38. Finding any guy whose family had a Trans-Am or its cousin, the Firebird, to be the hottest guy ever — bonus if he had a mullet.

39. Getting Troll dolls out of vending machines.

40. Getting a perm whether your hair was curly or not — and trying to mask the rotten egg smell with Aussie Scrunch Spray.

41. That orange (not blond) color Sun-In turned your hair, (unless you were already blond and clearly didn’t need it).

42. The exact moment DJs became VJs.

43. Spending countless hours playing Super Breakout, Missile Command, Adventure, Kaboom, and later Super Mario, Paper Boy, Punch-Out, BurgerTime, and Zelda.

44. Being able to picture Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake, and Polly Pocket before they got all slutty-looking.

45. Having a closet that included Farlows, EGs, ID number shirts, CP Shades, oversized Champion sweatshirts in day-glo colors, Guess jeans, Polos and iZods with the collars turned up, parachute pants, Jams, Skidz, velour, men’s boxers, OP shorts, Z Cavaricci pants, and Gasoline jeans with conductor stripes on one side.

46. Pac-Man the animated series and Rubic the Amazing Cube.

47. Being pretty sure you could moonwalk almost as well as Michael Jackson.

48. Knowing that puffy stickers, fuzzy stickers, or stickers with gel in them were way more valuable than flat ones, even if they were scratch-and-sniff.

49. Being a latchkey kid.

50. Liking Hello Kitty before it was considered retro.

It’s funny. Though I’ve managed to store all this ’80s knowledge, I can’t seem to remember doctor’s appointments, parent-teacher meetings, or what I had for breakfast. I’m thinking my wealth of useless childhood trivia is somehow taking up the space reserved for that stuff. You too?

Test me … What is the most random thing you remember from the ’80s?

This post was first printed at my column for TheStir

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58 thoughts on “50 Like Totally Random Things I Remember as Like a Child of The 80s

  1. Joy Burghardt via Facebook

    rainbow suspenders like Mork, huge chunky charm bracelets, and getting that Purple Rain cassette was the end all, be all of my being…

    Reply
  2. Karen N

    Thanks for a nostalgic start to my day! Here are some more random 80′s throwbacks:

    My Holly Hobbie Easy Bake Oven

    Weebles Magic Kingdom, complete with Dumbo ride and Teacups for your Weebles

    As many jelly bracelets as you could fit on one arm, and Swatch watches on the other (Bonus if you had jelly shoes on as well)

    The Bionic Woman action figure with her lab (not the stupid Beauty Salon)

    Taking a dollar to the local convenience store to stock up on Jolly Rancher Stix and then hanging out with your friends, blue tongue and all
    Karen N recently posted…We Are Serial MurderersMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      OMG had all but the Holly Hobby oven. My Bionic Woman Figure and my million dollar man had parts that came off to show wires under the skin. THANK YOU!!! I haven’t thought of those in years.

      Reply
  3. Dana

    I changed the name of my Cabbage Patch doll to Elizabeth Andrea, but my sister kept Bernard Osgood and Avis Henrietta. I also remember watching The Outsiders over and over again and crushing on C. Thomas Howell.
    Dana recently posted…How to Text Like a TeenagerMy Profile

    Reply
  4. melissa

    ton sur ton sweatshirts. HUGE shoulder pads. hair to the moon. gummy bracelets. gummy shoes. banana clips. crimping hair. twist and pin jean bottoms. stone washed jeans with zipper ankles. stirrup pants. slouchy socks. neon. relax, don’t do it t-shirt. wake me up before you go-go t-shirt. george michael and brooke shields.

    Reply
    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Oh Melissa I feel like the two of us could go on for HOURS… how is it that we all had pretty much the same existence through the 80s I mean that was during middle school for me at some point – the time I felt most alone. I wish I knew?

      Reply
  5. Katie Mack

    Regarding #35 and the bunny ears…I still remember how frustrating it was to get up off the couch, tune the ears for good reception and the minute you walked away from the antennae, the TV would go fuzzy. Then you’d sigh, get back off the couch, adjust again – it would be perfectly clear but the minute you stepped away it would get fuzzy. Rinse and repeat!

    I’m also still hoping that over-sized Champion sweatshirts will someday come back in style…I rocked those!
    Katie Mack recently posted…Opposite DayMy Profile

    Reply
  6. Debbie

    16. The shirtless volleyball scene — need I name the movie?

    Yes, please – name the movie? I think I’m slightly too old for this one – ? (I’m mostly a 70s child)

    Awesomely hilarious list! Thanks <3

    Reply
  7. Jenny From the Blog via Facebook

    Joy Burghardt I loved Mork, but didn’t have suspenders thought all the people that worked at TGIFridays did. and Beyond The Crib I’m cracking up. I just gave my daughter mine like 2 weeks ago found it in an old box. I’ve got the headphones, toothbrush, an abacus. I want to send you a pic and see if we’re talking about the same thing!!!

    Reply
  8. Amanda

    ” Being willing to fight to the death over the claim that Joey McIntyre was the cutest New Kid on the Block.”
    Seeing Stars… Gawd I had my walls plastered with posters of him. The funny thing is that I liked him most because he was closest to my age and therefore I had a better chance with him. Ah, the simplicity of teenage dreams.

    “Being able to picture Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake, and Polly Pocket before they got all slutty-looking”
    Amen Sistah. Who the f*ck thought it was a good idea to put the Bratz designers in charge of redesigning my favorite childhood characters? BTW, I’m convinced that Bratz dolls are designed by the costumer designers from Pretty Woman.
    Amanda recently posted…Y and ZMy Profile

    Reply
  9. KissTheChef

    Stretch Armstrong – Purple Rain (the album – not cassette – that was actually purple) – record players that needed pennies or dimes on the arms to keep them from skipping – radio stations that played ALL genres of music (not just pop OR country OR rock) all of the time – splash/painted clothing – ties on girls in pastel colors – crocheted or similar “scarves” (for lack of a similar word) that you wore with your polo and a sweater tied around your neck – rubicks cube (sp?) – HATED that thing – trying to moon walk on roller skates (not the inline kind) – OMG
    I’m getting a headache from being this old and remembering this much from back then….

    Reply
    1. KissTheChef

      BTW – my guy was ALWAYS Shawn Cassidy – my favorite Hardy Boy. I STILL have his albums. His last one Under Wraps was always my favorite. I like the song Audrey best of all. I’m sure the groove on that track is deeper than any of the others on that album. I must have “re-set” the arm to play that over and over and over (ad nauseam) for almost a year.

      Reply
  10. Ribenatina @ ribena.musings

    Having a Speak n Spell and being the only one in the household that could understand what word it wanted you to spell.

    Watching Mork and Mindy ever week and wishing I could meet him.

    Watching The Love Boat while mum cooked Sunday dinner in the kitchen.

    Thinking it was cool to walk around with the biggest stereo on the planet blasting out Madonna at full volume.

    Top Gun – no need to say more and Dirty Dancing – being able to go to the cinema to watch the films 12 times and it being considered normal. The whole cinema cheering when the film started.

    Renting age 18 certified films at the age of 13 from the dodgy corner shop and having a houseful of kids watching Nightmare of Elm Street.

    Oooh the memories.
    Ribenatina @ ribena.musings recently posted…25 years too earlyMy Profile

    Reply
  11. Shelley

    Flash Gordon DID have the best special effects ever–because special effects today are all boring, digital, computerized. What’s “amazing” about that? When people had to do them with crazy wires and human tricks, then it really was fun.

    Reply
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  13. Lori

    LA Gear high tops worn with a double set of shoe strings: white AND pink.
    Love’s Baby Soft and Exclamation! perfumes.
    Thinking that Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” song was about a car.
    Rollerball lip gloss: banana flavor. Also, Bonne Bell GIANT lip balm.
    Footloose
    Friendship pins worn on the top of your shoes
    Catching lightening bugs and using their glowy parts as jewelry (yeah, I know)
    The Karate Kid
    Sunday night Disney Movie
    Ice Cream truck was a HUGE deal. Also, the driver wasn’t an ex-con selling drugs.
    Origami paper notes that foretold your true love based on the number of letters in his name, your favorite color, etc.
    There was only ONE kind of Monopoly.
    Light Bright
    Honeycomb cereal

    Reply
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  16. Angela and Darrell Short

    You forgot the Stretch Armstrong action figure.
    Muscle Men, GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip.
    And going to the arcades.

    Reply
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  18. Natalie the Math Teacher

    and how can you forget about Duran Duran??? I was a closet Duranie (my male cousins would have kicked my butt) but EVERYONE loved Duran Duran!

    Reply
  19. PJ

    Totally wanted to marry one of the “Coreys” loved Garbage Pail Kids. Remember the skip it toy that went around your ankle?

    Reply
  20. stef

    Oh my gosh girl; I thought it was just ME. My kids *miss* the 80s vicariously through me, because I guess I never outgrew that decade. I’m our family’s 80′s Movie Quote Guru and name-that-tune/band goddess. I can’t believe you brought up WKRP!! I thought I was the only person alive who remembered that show (remember Les Nessman’s constant band-aid?)
    1. Molly Ringwald’s “one skill” in the Breakfast Club
    2. Jelly Shoes
    3. Wearing turned-up collars on a polo shirt under a v-neck shaker-knit sweater, with chunky jewelry and possibly Hammer pants, slouchy boots and even slouchier socks.
    4. Thinking Sammy Hagar was all wrong for the job.
    5. Skating rink “couples” songs and those super cool white skates with neon green wheels
    6. Cousin Balki and the Dance of Joy
    7. A ceiling covered with posters of Matt Damon, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe and (yep) The Church Lady
    8. Seeing the video to “Thriller” on small overhead TVs at the mall
    9. Papa Don’t Preach
    10. Pulling into our small-town mini-mart on summer Friday nights, where EVERYone was hanging out

    Like, thanks for the totally awesome reminder– :D
    stef recently posted…Ugly ShoesMy Profile

    Reply
    1. E Theobald

      Like, no WAY!! Cousin Balki and the Dance of Joy? We truly were separated at birth. I didn’t think anybody knew that, except for people who also watched Tom Hanks dress up like a woman on that TV show where he lived in an all women’s building. Donna Something played the blonde he totally liked. So, yeah, my friend always picked me up in her brother’s TransAm with no brake lights to go to songleader practice at high school on Thursday nights and she had to slow down for all the street bumps and dips because the car always scraped bottom every chance it got. My other friend hit a dip in her dad’s ’67 Camaro too fast and we smacked our heads on the interior roof and saw stars and laughed so much! And typing class, on a real typewriter, was probably the most useful class I have ever taken.

      Reply
  21. Kevin

    1) An action figure for EVERY Cartoon/TV show/Movie – Looking back on it now I almost feel sorry for how much my parents spent on STUPID action figures for me!
    2) Garbage Pail Kid cards- Yeh I had way too many of these
    3) Shrinky Dinks
    4) Salad Bars at fast food places
    5) My speak and math

    Reply
  22. Catherine

    Daniel Hechter dolls
    Commodore 64
    Using a card catalog in the library (and books had a pocket glued on the inside with a due-date card in it)
    My Little Pony
    Going home for lunch in elementary school (and watching the Flintstones while I ate)
    Condorman
    Battlestar Galactica
    G-Force
    Jem
    Playing lawn darts
    Viewmaster
    Encyclopedias
    Rat tails
    Brown carpets and olive green curtains
    Debbie Gibson vs Tiffany
    wearing two different color tube socks on EACH FOOT
    Being totally in love with Jon Cryer and Eric Stolz
    Trapper keepers
    YM Magazine (Tiger Beat, Big Bopper, etc)
    That scene from Say Anything. “In your eyes…” *swoon*
    The episode where everyone on Sesame Street FINALLY saw Snuffleupagus

    Thanks to my parents’ excellent timing, I was a child of the 80′s. Kowabunga dude!!

    Reply
  23. Paige

    I couldn’t help but add some of my favorites:

    Holly Hobby (she and the gang are tucked away safely somewhere in my attic!)
    Shaun Cassidy – full length poster on the back of my door!
    Holiday specials (It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charie Brown! Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman) before Claymation
    Tom Slick and Penelope Pitstop
    Davie and Goliath claymation
    The Wonderful World of Disney (Saturdays at 7pm – if you were bathed, brushed & ready for bed) :)
    Jacks and marbles
    The Jetsons
    The Brady Bunch
    Joe Elliott from Def Leppard and Sammy Hagar
    We are the World
    Blaring “Almost Paradise” over and over and over on my record player
    Calling party lines
    Calling “time” – at the tone the time will be..six, twenty-four, and 10 seconds… beeeep…

    A few of my favorite movie lines:
    “Dong! Dong! Grandpa is speaking to you!!”

    Lady fires a staple gun across the room toward a kid who is trying to steal a record:
    Boy: Hey, you missed my eye by an inch!
    Lady: Half an inch (in a New Jersey accent)

    Reply
  24. Elaine

    I remember all of this, but I you’ve missed at least a couple of the biggest trends.

    Nowhere have I seen the day-glo colors mentioned that were so cool when you went on the dark rides at Disneyland, nor have I seen acid washed jeans anywhere.

    Also, I noticed above that someone mentioned the LA Gear high tops with pink and white shoelaces. Mine were the pink and black, and I thought they were the coolest things in the world.

    I just found this blog and I love it. I can relate to so much of this it’s scary.

    Reply
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  26. Rabbit

    My fierst concert was to see Journy ,an being crushed years later when i finally out grew the shirt I got at it. Using the street curb as if it was a jump rope was cool in my part of Va. You were realy considered coolif you could doa full and not fall.
    We had a Texas Instrament computer with Munchman and Parsac. Way too many hours spent playing Hunt the wumpaasOn it as well.
    Having to wait tilla movie was rereleased in the theater because it was before my town had a movie rental store
    On fridays going to 7eleven to get a slurrpee soyou could get 3d glasses and watch Godzilla. I still have a stuffed Godzuki
    Lastly I still remember seeing The Last Unicorn in a tiny theater in Manassas Mall.

    Reply
    1. Ryan smith

      I still have my nickolodian smell o vision kit 7 eleven gave out. Althoe that may be early 90′s

      Reply
  27. Jen

    Kids Incorporated…k I d s! Mario Lopez and fergie before she got josh.
    Swatch clothes.
    Monchichis. Oh so soft and cuddly.

    Reply
  28. Sabrina

    My family still teases me about knowing all the words to Grease, and I still have my Atari system and games; and you can’t forget Fraggle Rock and slap bracelets.

    Reply
  29. Dani

    Watching Thundercats, wearing members only jackets, fighting your siblings for the prize in the cereal box, watching hulk hogan and macho man or andre the giant battle it out, watching the A-Team, knowing all the songs in Footloose, banana clips for your hair or wearing a side ponytail, and finding a partner for couples only sing at the skating rink.

    Reply
  30. Ryan smith

    Pogo balls, Glass pepsi bottles, finger wrestlers, jumproaps with the counters on the handles, etch a scetch animator, pillow people, puffalumps, pound puppies, disney clasic cartoons, the snorks, she ra princess of power, the ibm compatable, the incredable hulk, double dare, the iconic money for nothing (dire straits) video, bonkers candy, big league chew, that foam soap you could wright on shower walls with, burger kings whares the beef promo, mcdonalds giving out records for their contests, brick cell phones, leg warmers, jelly braclets and shoes, gremlin mania, hulk a mania, swatch watches, thoes plastic things girls use to were on their shirts insted of knoting them, scruntchies, slap braclets, teddy ruxben, pee wee herman, long duck dong, michael keton and jack nicholson in batman, koosh balls, magic 8 balls, fraggle rock, eastern airlines.

    I could go on forever it was the best era in my opinion. Great music, television, and movies alone i could list all day long.

    Reply
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