I am unashamedly, proudly a child of the ’80s. Life was good then. Almost blissful, in its simpler times.
No cell phones, no Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Thank God, all my stupidity was not shared on a cyber wall, with me tagged for all the world to see.
The movies were better then, too.
That was the decade that gave us “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club” and anything else John Hughes managed to churn out. It represented our generation and we gobbled it up like those poofy bright orange cheese balls and Jell-O Pudding Pops.
I was looking through old photo albums when I came across a photo of me wearing a dreadful blue with black striped sweater; there were ginormous teddy bears woven into the design. I had on matching blue eye shadow and my hair was teased and sprayed within an inch of its life. I am pretty sure that my bangs defied several natural laws of physics and gravity and may have been sturdy enough to hold the Funk & Wagnalls encyclopedia I used as my source for any papers I had during that time. It was glorious.
“What in the world were you thinking? Were you going to a costume party or something?” was Cole’s question when he saw the photo.
“No!” I said.
Other than the teddy bears on the sweater, that was really a rockin’ outfit. I told him as much. He looked at me as if I was speaking a foreign language.
“Did you have a head injury or something? In what universe did that look good? What was wrong with your hair?”
“My hair, I will have you know, was fabulous. It would withstand gale force winds and once I got it sprayed with Freeze It!, not a hair moved!”
My precocious child, the one born into the digital age of iPods, Nintendo and cartoons that come on all the time and not just on Saturday was not so convinced his mother had any inkling of what was fashionable in her youth.
“Your hair looked like you had a wild dingo on your head and it was scared.”
I narrowed my eyes at my offspring, who decided it was safer to go watch, of all things, some crime-fighting turtles who liked pizza. I had tried explaining to him before that my knowledge of the turtles came from decades ago.
But there’s another big generation gap. The version of things I grew up with was so much better. The originals usually are.
“That’s not the true ‘Star Wars’ stuff,” I had told my child one day as we watched some blasphemous cartoon version.
“It is, too,” he said.
“It’s not the one I grew up with – I am just not even sure I can deal with this stuff. It’s one thing to take ‘Star Trek – The Next Generation’ as its own show, but this, this is borderline going against the ‘Star Wars’ legends.”
Sorry, I just have certain things from the ’80s I held as sacred. “Star Wars” is one of them.
But my child finds it cruel that I was given a block with different colored sides and actually messed it up only to try to figure it out again. He doesn’t get my generation or the fact that my generation, with all of its preservative-filled, the best big hair and shoulder pads and Valley girl talk was the best generation, the best decade ever. Like, totally.
Those years were idyllic and wonderful – even if I did wear peplum skirts with bolero jackets. So did everyone else. I am just not so sure about those dresses with the dropped waist that made me look like I was wearing a flour sack.
As I put up laundry one night, Cole saw the long green sweatshirt I have had since eighth grade. I used to wear it with leggings and high-top Reeboks, with an arm full of black plastic bracelets because Madonna wore them on the cover of her “Like a Virgin” album – an album Mama still questions whether or not I should be listening to it. I wear it now in the dead of winter because it is super warm. And it gives me happy memories.
“Good grief, did you shrink?” he asked, noting how long it was.
“No, Cole. Back then, you wore stuff long.” Did that mean the ’80s were a more modest decade?
“Why do you still have this?”
“It may come back in style,” was my reply.
My child ran from the room, screaming, undoubtedly going to text a friend to warn them.
Well, I could hope couldn’t I?
And if the long sweatshirts come back, maybe shoulder pads, big poofy hair and really great movies won’t be far behind.