This is for all of us who are tired of being referred to as the lost generation....We didn't make the world....we're just forced to live in it.... -- Merrell Lastick
I am a child of the 70's and 80's. That is what I prefer to be called. The 90's can do without me. Grunge isn't here to stay, fashion is fickle and "Generation X" is a myth created by someover-40 writer trying to figure out why people wear flannel in the summer. When I got home from school, I played Atari 2600. I spent hours playing Pitfall or Combat or Breakout or Dodge'em Cars or Frogger. I never did beat Asteroids. Then I watched "Scooby Doo." Daphne was a Goddess, and I thought Shaggy was smoking something synthetic in the back of the Mystery Machine. I HATED SCRAPPY.
I would sleep over at friends' houses on the weekends. We played army with G.I. Joe figures, and I set up galactic wars between Autobots and Decepticons. We stayed up half the night throwing marshmallows and Velveeta at one another. We never beat Rubik's cube, unless you count taking off the stickers. I got up on Saturday mornings at 6 a.m. to watch bad Hanna-Barbera cartoons like "The Snorks," "Jabberjaw," "Captain Caveman," and "SpaceGhost." In between I would watch "School House Rock." ("Conjunction junction, what's your function?!")
On Friday Night, Daisy Duke was my future wife. I was going to own the General Lee and shoot dynamite arrows out the back. Why did they weld the doors shut? Did your dad turn from mild-mannered Bill Bixby into "The Incredible Hulk" when he got upset? At the movies the Nerds got revenge on the Alpha Betas by teaming up with the Omega Mu's. I watched Indiana Jones save the Ark of the Covenant, and wondered what Yoda meant when he said, "No, there is another."
Ronald Reagan was cool. Gorbachev was the guy who built a McDonalds in Moscow. My family took summer vacations to South Florida and collected Muppet Movie" glasses along the way. (We had the whole set.) My siblings and I fought in the back seat. At the hotel we found creative uses for Connect Four pieces like throwing them in that big air conditioning unit.
I listened to John Cougar Mellencamp sing about Little Pink Houses for Jack and Diane. I was bewildered by Boy George and the colors of his dreams, red, gold and green. I was a "Wild Boy," Duran Duran. MTV played MUSIC videos. Nickelodeon played "You can't Do That On Television" and "Dangermouse". Does anyone remember the "Banana Splits?" HBO showed Mike Tyson pummel everybody except Robin Givens, the bad actress from "Head of the Class," who took all Mike's cashflow.
I drank Dr. Pepper. "I'm a Pepper, you're a Pepper, wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?" Shasta was for losers. TAB was a laboratory accident. Capri Sun was a social statement. Orange Juice wasn't just for breakfast anymore, and bacon had to move over for something leaner. My mom put a thousand Little Debbie Snack Cakes in my Charlie Brown lunchbox and our world was the backyard and it was all you needed.
With your pink portable tape player, Debbie Gibson sang back up to you and everyone wanted a skirt like the Material Girl and a glove like Michael Jackson's. Today, we are the ones who sing along with Bruce Springsteen and The Bangles perfectly and have no idea why. We recite lines with Ghostbusters and still look to the Goonies for a great adventure. We flip through T.V. stations and stop at the A-Team and Knight Rider and Fame and laugh with The Cosby Show and Family Ties and Punky Brewster and "What you talkin bout Willis?" We hold strong affections for The Muppets and The Gummy Bears and why did they take the Smurfs off of the air?
After School Specials were about cigarettes and step-families. The Polka Dot Door was nothing like Barney, and aren't the Power Rangers just Voltron reincarnated?
We are the ones who still read Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, The Bobbsey Twins, Beverly Cleary, and Judy Blume. Friendship bracelets were ties you couldn't break and friendship pins went on shoes - preferably hightop velcro Reebok-And pegged jeans were in, as were unit belts and layered socks and jean jackets and JAMS and charm necklaces and side pony tails and just tails. Rave was a girl's best friend; braces with colored rubberbands made you rad.
The backdoor was always open and Mom served only red kool-aid to the neighborhood kids-YOU NEVER drank the New Coke. Entertainment was cheap and lasted for hours. All you needed to be a princess was high heels and an apron; the Sit'n'Spin always made you dizzy but never made you stop; Pogoballs were dangerous weapons and Chinese Jump Ropes never failed to trip someone.
In your underoos you were Wonder Woman, Spider Man or R2D2 and in your treehouse you were king. In the 80's, nothing was wrong. Did you know the president was shot? Star Wars was not only a movie. Did you ever play in a bomb shelter? Did you see the Challenger explode or feed the homeless man? We forgot Vietnam and watched Tiananmen's Square on CNN. We didn't start the fire Billy Joel.
In the 80's we redefined the American Dream, and those years defined us.
We are the generation in between strife and facing strife and not turning our backs. The eighties may have made us idealistic, but it's that idealism that will push us and be passed to our children-the first children of the Twenty-first century. We had neighborhoods where in the day we could play kick-the-can, "guns" and all of the things that made us Grow up.
There was always that one field" that could be used for either baseball, football, homerun derby, or just a place to hang out. That was my field of dreams, Mr. Costner.
At night we would play flashlight tag. Just like we could trick-or-treat at night without the fear of being shot and killed. Just like our guns had caps or "lasers". If we didn't have the Jessie James guns we could just get a rock and smash the caps on the ground! We loved the orange race tracks...that was until our mother realized she could smack us with them.
We were the kids that not only collected Cabbage Patch kids, but their ugly offspring-Garbage Pail Kids. We too collected football and baseball cards but it was because we wanted to be the first in the neighborhood to have the "complete" set. Sports were important, but not near as important as Friday/Saturday Night's Main Event with of our favorite WWF wrestlers. We loved to imitate their moves..until someone got hurt.
In our neighborhoods we played with He-man and Skelator. Going to get a Happy Meal on Saturday with dad or mom was worth waiting the other six days of the week. No, we are the furthest thing from a lost generation.
Does going to arcades on Saturday, getting carpooled to football with your best friend, eating fruit roll-ups, having birthday parties at McDonalds or Godfather's pizza or Noble Romans where you could make your own pizza express you are lost?
How many people melted their army figures that were given to them by their parents. Was Green Lantern the Coolest Super Hero or Aquaman? "Wonder twin powers activate!" How's about coming home at night and separating your candy into: The cool stuff, the homemade stuff, and the pennies...how's about the candy that came in that awful orange and black wax paper? Did you ever try it? Do you remember the one house that had a sign in the candy bowl that said, "Take One." How many did you take if you liked it? Were you desperate one year and as a teenager you trick-or-treated?
Our generation had character and heart. We played with real baseballs and "Putt putt for the fun of it." "Hey, my mom will take if your mom picks up!" Could you ever really beat Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom...How's about Adventure? Did you have sliced oranges or grapes for your half-time treat? How's about the hot dog and coke after each football and baseball games? Star Crunches? Whippy Dip? Twinkies? Ho-ho's? This is what WE are all about!
So if you are reading this and it ALL hit's home then you do indeed have a heritage or a generation. This is what makes us the most unique generation of all. Please pass this on to all who can relate!
David W. Jeske (email@example.com)