I was a child of the 1980s (commercialism).

I was over at Studio30 Plus looking at their writing prompts, and one was “share a favorite childhood memory.” I thought to myself, “I had a childhood! I have memories! I can do this!”

So, I decided to flip through my childhood photo albums for inspiration and to maybe jog my weird memory organ (brain) into remembering something that would make for an interesting post. You know, a great story about how a day with my grandpa fishing at the lake taught me a lesson about always looking both ways before you cross the street. Something fun and relatable and narrative-y.

No. What happened was I flipped through the photo albums, soaking in the 1980s goodness, and forgot about that special memory I was supposed to be pulling from them. In and of itself, basking in the neon glow of the 1980s is in fact a favorite childhood memory. So, come with me on a journey through the Me Decade by looking at pictures of, well, me.

I was born in 1977, so the ages of 3-13, the real meaty part of childhood, were all in the 80s. And, you can tell. I’m not sure I could be more of an 80s kid:

This is my fourth birthday party. It was Super Friends-themed. I still have a great fondness for the Super Friends but in a more sarcastic smart ass way than when I was a kid. I adored Wonder Woman. You can see the cake back there on the table.

There’s several pictures of me opening gifts at this birthday party, all 80s-licious. This one is my favorite – here’s me with some Star Wars underoos. Underoos were the best.

Here I am opening my stocking on Christmas. I’ve just pulled out a Hot Wheels General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard. I LOVED The Dukes of Hazzard. My mom plays dumb these days and claims she doesn’t remember me ever watching the show. My mom is not senile, so she’s lying. Mom, you’re a liar! I watched it every week and you know it. P.S. I had no idea about the Confederate flag back then. I kinda had to un-learn that it was a decoration on the top of the Duke boys’ car. I almost want to say that it’s too bad that The Dukes of Hazzard is sullied by the inclusion of the Confederate flag in the series, but that’s implying that it otherwise would be some kind of masterpiece. I’m getting way off topic now. Moving on.

Up through age four, I really loved a variety of things. Then, I became more lame and embraced more girly stuff that I was supposed to. I mean, not that I didn’t love stuff like Strawberry Shortcake, because I did, because hello? look at that birthday cake, but I look back on this stuff and think it’s funny that I liked so much “girl stuff” considering I have really never been and am not “girly.” Having said that, I was all about Strawberry Shortcake for a year or two.

Then, it was Care Bears. Good God I loved Care Bears. I think it has a lot to do with categorization – this bear is this color, has this on it’s tummy, and represents this “thing.” So easy! I also have a real “collect them all” problem, too, and Care Bears is custom built for that weakness. My sister is the cutie on the right.

Rainbow Brite, yo. I don’t have much to say about Rainbow Brite, I just wanted to show this picture because I think my sister’s expression is funny. My theory is that she’s making that face because that’s actually HER Rainbow Brite doll I’m holding up for a picture (this was later confirmed by my sister).

Last but not least, here’s one of my most favorite possessions of all time. My Walkman. An introvert’s best friend. So. many. tapes. Tapes and tapes and tapes. Mix tapes, storybook tapes (at the sound of the tone, turn the page), pop music, oh it was just the best. And I probably ruined my hearing with it. Worth it.

What were your favorite possessions from childhood?


32 thoughts on “I was a child of the 1980s (commercialism).”

  1. My sister, also born in 1977, had that exact same Strawberry Shortcake themed birthday cake! Exactly. It’s weird that it said “Carrie,” cause that’s not her name, but still, cake!

    Seems like my favorite things were baseball cards and GI JOE figures. Maybe the baseball cards moreso, cause I’m pretty sure I set all my GI JOE guys on fire o.O

  2. You had Underoos?? I am burning with jealousy right now. I wanted Wonder Woman Underoos so bad and my parents, who are evil apparently, would not get them for me.

    When I was little, I had a crush on Mr Green Jeans, so when I got my own pair of Tuffskin jeans in green, I thought for sure that we would get married.

  3. Born 1971. I was a teen in the 80’s. Graduated HS in ’89. The 80’s is the decade I look back fondly on – learn to drive a car, kissed a girl the first time, music, Music, MUSIC!

    Walkmans, VHS, dot matrix printers, Atari, no adult supervision … yeah we had it good, baby!

    Favorite possessions from the 80’s? Hmm, my 1976 Monte Carlo (thing was a barge and all black – my friends called it the Batmobile), all my ORIGINAL D&D rulebooks (which I still own), the Atari 2600 (and later the NES, duh!), cassette tapes (100’s of them!) – man, I could go on….

  4. I love it! So many things I could say…
    However, I’ll go with Popples, Lite Brite, Swatch watches, a bunch of the things you mentioned, this creepy “Cricket” doll that talked when you put a tape in her back, etc. I was SO a child of the ’80s, for better or worse, and have the pictures of bad clothes/perms and a mullet to prove to. Good thing I don’t have a scanner 😉

  5. Gah! Are we long lost twins? I was born in 77 too.

    Strawberry Shortcake? Check.
    Care Bears? Check
    Rainbow Bright? Check.
    Wonder Woman? Yeah, I spent almost a year telling people that was my name.

    The 80s were awesome!

  6. Ahhh the Walkman. My parents couldn’t afford Sony though… so I think I had some K-Mart off-brand version, probably called the “Stroll-Dude” or something equally horrible. But who cares, because cassette tapes were TOTALLY AWESOME.

    Also awesome? Making mix tapes by recording off the radio. And less awesome? Narrating your own mix tapes like you’re the DJ then hearing your horrible pre-teen voice and thinking, “that doesn’t sound ANYTHING like me! What’s with this thing?”

  7. Oh man, am I ever a child of the 80’s as well, albeit a tad bit your senior (respect your elders!).

    I had Wonder Woman underoos as well. And I used to wear them around like they were clothing. True story.

    Strawberry shortcake, LiteBrite, Care Bears, Barbies, and Dukes of Hazzard!! Yep. And I had a walkman, but I also had a record player for a while, too. I had Thriller and Like a Virgin on vinyl. Told you I was older. 😉

    1. I had Like a Virgin on cassette and my parents had Thriller on vinyl. True story: every time I had some teeth pulled (I had a LOT of teeth pulled) I would be rewarded with an album. I got Bad AND the Tiffany records after a particularly nasty tooth pulling session (by a dentist, don’t worry).

  8. born 1970 so i did middle, high school and part of college in the 80s.

    those are pictures of little kewt Carrie. now time for 90s pictures of teenager Carriel

    most of my favorites were stretch armstrong, hot wheels cars, superheroes, baseball cards, and sports games like coleco electronic football

  9. My grandmother was a seamstress. Who had a custom-made Strawberry Shortcake Halloween costume that she wore two years in a row?

    This girl right here.

    Born in ’78, my little brother in ’81. Barbie was rescued countless times from Skeletor’s castle by the shorter, but still very manly and heroic He-Man. Until She-Ra came on to the scene. Then Barbie saw less and less of him. It was hard. So she rebelled and started a rock band, and stole Rio from the strangely large-headed Jem. But I’m gossiping…

    My mother had a heart attack when My Buddy came tumbling down the stairs with marker all over his face (I have no idea wth we were doing).

    My dog probably swallowed countless Lite Brite pegs, and after bath time we watched Fraggle Rock and/or the Muppet Show. The USA Cartoon Express started at 5:30am on Saturday morning with Josie and the Pussycats, and we watched Jabberjaws, Grape Ape, and Huckleberry Hound until it was time for Looney Tunes, Voltron, or Transformers.

    But by far, the absolute best form of entertainment was when our dad would bring home giant boxes–appliance or refrigerator boxes (he was in the corrugated industry). Because then, we got to battle sea monsters in harsh, boiling waters, and rocket to the moon.

    1. Awesome. Loved this, Nicole!

      I would kill (seriously, I would murder someone) for a tape of the Cartoon Express including 80s commercials. Hair Bear Bunch, Inch High Private Eye, Captain Caveman, it had everything! I watch Boomerang sometimes on the weekends, but I would love to see era-appropriate ads, too. I’m a picky weirdo.

  10. Dude, on Twitter, I am followed by THE GUY WHO INVENTED/WROTE the DUKES OF HAZZARD. I was like wha….?? He’s an old dude now with a novel out. Gy Waldron @gywaldronwrites You should follow him and then interview him…

  11. First, thank you Abby for reminding me of Popples, which I had forgotten about but which were awesome!

    I was obsessed with collecting the little PVC figurines a lot of cartoon series had–mostly Strawberry Shortcake and the Smurfs, but also the Care Bears as available. Between those and various Happy Meal toys, I enacted epic dramas including national disputes, royal affairs, assassination attempts, and class warfare. Good times.

  12. I went as Strawberry Shortcake for Halloween when I was 5. I loved my costume so much I wore it again on Christmas, Easter and my next 8 birthdays.

    I would have worn it longer, but once I reached puberty I looked more like a mentally unstable french maid.

  13. This is the first blog post I’ve ever read where I talked out loud to my phone, I was born in 1977! I had Wonder Woman Underoos! I loved Rainbow Brite! I’ve never really felt nostalgic in general, but this was an awesome trip down childhood lane, so much fun remembering the best of the best before Big Bangs came around and skewed my world view completely and made me want to hide from all the people who had hair so high I was terrified I’d lose an eye playing volleyball in gym class…and Popples! Holy commenter, I’d forgotten all about those…I will add Star Wars, GI Joe, and Transformers to the list, which I mock battled incessantly while watching Electric Company

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