Gel pens, Lisa Frank peechees, floral skirts, turtlenecks. Miniature backpacks, Jansports, keychains, malls. Mr. Freeze ice pops, Avon, scrunchies. Scrunch socks, crimping irons, pink foam hair rollers. Roller skating rinks, roller blades, knee pads, Huffy bikes. Neon rope friendship bracelets, seed beads, collecting stuff. Porcelain dog figurines, oversized t-shirts, slap bracelets.
Loading perforated paper into the printer, making banners with The Print shop, Fraction Munchers. The Oregon trail, actually floppy discs, my first website (Geocities). Dial up, free 30-day trials of AOL, that door opening and closing in AOL Instant Messenger. Juno email address. Playing Caesar III and War II for hours on end. Sega Genesis – Road Rash and Sonic. Nintendo 64. Tetris. Paperboy.
Encyclopedias, Nancy Drew, The Babysitters Club, The Boxcar Children. China Tate series. Christian bookstores. Fred Meyer. Bulk clubs once a month. Loving camp. Awana. Going to the library to use the internet. Driving without automatic steering or automatic windows or an FM radio or A/C. Cassette tapes that had to be wound back up when the tape got loose. Six track CD players for the cool kids in high school.
Turning in school assignments handwritten. Passing notes written with our gel pens. Bottled frappuccinos. Trying to order at a coffee shop before coffee shops were this popular. VHS tapes. Telephones with cords that you would stretch into another room for privacy. Parents listening on the other line so you had no privacy any way. Pen pals. Chain letters. Shared family popcorn bowl.
Dilly bars at Dairy Queen. Chili, chips, and cheese at Wendy’s. Donuts before high school from Mega Save. Riding my bike as a mode of transportation. Delivering newspapers. Eating out of neighbors’ cupboards while I babysat. Full House, Family Matters, black and white shows on Nick at Night. Jaws. Free Willy. A whole lot of movies about animals, really.
Drawing and writing stories during the sermon each Sunday. Making clothing store ads with my sister. Playing M*A*S*H. Easy Bake oven. A chubby version of Barbie so I wouldn’t have unrealistic body expectations. Buying return address labels and cards out of catalogs like Current. Swimming lessons at the city pool. Learning to play the piano out of Alfred music books.
Magic Nursery babies (I got twins!) Metallic fabric lizards filled with beans. Beanie babies. Doo daa birds at the fair. Pizza parlors with TVs and mini arcades. Tupperware. People sold knives by Cutco door to door. Professional pictures in department store studios like Sears or JCPenney. Oakley sunglasses. Unionbay striped t-shirts. Old Navy had a moment. I thought a Mitsubishi Eclipse was my dream car.
That Chumbawamba song. “I’m Blue” and the Barbie girl song. Point of Grace, Destiny’s child. TLC. Lots of girl groups, really. Bulletin boards held all the news. Pictures were always printed and we could only alter them by cutting them smaller. And we could remove red eyes with a black Sharpie. Letterman jackets, class rings, signing yearbooks (with our gel pens).
Cash was king. Staying up to hear our favorite song come on the radio again. Listening to old radio shows like “Fibber McGee and Molly.” Dogs stayed outside. Rubber stamps. Interior decorating meant stenciling and fake ivy. And air freshener came in packets and everything smelled like vanilla. Until cucumber melon was discovered. Body spray was a cheap perfume. Shaving my legs with hair conditioner instead of shaving cream because it made my skin softer. Herbal Essences looked like plants were growing in them.
Warheads. Three-ring binders. Denim skirts. I never did own jelly shoes. Nanopets. Fruit Stripe gum. Collecting and trading baseball and basketball cards. And looking up their value in a Beckett. Pogs and slammers. All the cool kids had trampolines (and even we did). Everyone had the Little Tikes kitchen and plastic food. I was jealous of the neighbors with a Cozy Coupe. At one time I thought I would be able to save up enough money for one of those plastic cabin playhouses.
I think about everything my kids have now, of all the advances just since I was a child. But they will never know life like I did. Which is sad, because some it was actually pretty rad.