“Creciendo el estilo de los años 80” Spanish for “growing up 80’s style” a childhood I wouldn’t change for nothing in the world is the topic of this blog post. As I sit here listening to Sirius-XM 80’s channel Don Henly “Boys of Summer“ memories of a time in my life where things were so simple. Even though there’s always the threat of a nuclear war the cold war between USSR and USA at a stale-male the world waits for one to call check mate a point made in the song “Land of Confusion” by Genesis, the 80’s decade started out with a whisper ending with a bang. 80’s created a lot of innovative stuff fun stuff. Some stuff didn’t survive and some stuff did survive and we still use today. The 70’s seen the birth of 8-track tapes and vinyl (albums), the 80’s gave us cassette tapes, CD’s, video, Walkman, Atari, Cable TV and of course MTV.
Turning it ON; the first cable service in our household was On TV. The big brown box that sat on top of our television. You just you turn your TV to channel 3 then turn on the box and whatever was playing that’s what you watched. I can remember my brother doing a MacGyver rigging the TV, cable box and stereo together so we had the ultimate man-made home theater. We watched great programming such as Dynasty, Knots Landing, Dallas and TV movies from the early 70’s like Earthquake and Towering Inferno. After ON TV we advanced to real cable Select TV I was in heaven. With Select we had more of a choice in programming and not just watched what was on. We had the local channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 28 you can watch those channels without cable and with rabbit ears but cable gave us more opinions like Cinemax, TNT, CNN and the Weather Channel. Mom and I would sit and watch the weather channel for hours looking at weather from different places very entertaining stuff at the time LMAO.
Blasting off the birth of MTV; Then this new medium was set to hit the airways. The promotions was none like I seen before and my anticipation was getting the better of me to the point at 10 years old I bought into the hype. On August 1, 1981 I gathered my sisters, my brothers, my cousin, and my best friend into the living room popped some popcorn and with our snacks we prepared ourself for a magical night. I tried to stay awake I found myself falling asleep only to be awoken to the sound of the spaceshuttle blasting off. The announcer speaking a language I couldn’t grasp and then there it was Video Killed The Radio Star by the Buggles the first video of many to come and just like that I was hooked.
Thrill of Thriller; MTV was so ground breaking, the debut of videos and the birth of mini story videos you know where I’m going with this I can not mention MTV and not mention Michael Jackson’s Thriller. As a kid growing up in LA during the 80’s nothing came close to the hype of MJ’s dance werewolf video. Now Beat It used the street gangs of South Central, Watts and Compton area, surprisingly there’s no fighting the gangs respected MJ and what he was doing. Thriller a video about dancing werewolf would preview in the movie theater the hype was on a grand scale of course it’s Michael Jackson, finally Thriller aired. OMG that video lived up to the hype and then some. MJ blew it out not only with the music but the dance moves, the costumes and makeup, it all paid off he would win big at the MTV Video awards. Thriller will forever change the face of MTV and how we view music video’s today.
Sorry baby, no MTV for you, Dallas is on, don’t you want to know who shot JR; As a kid, I had my TV time and that’s usually after school and homework I was allowed 2 hours. My cartoon time consist of Gumby, G.I. Joe, He-Man, Transformers, Voltron, Thundercats and Silver Hawks and yes this 2 hours included MTV. Because I only had 2 hours of TV time, I feared my cartoons would interfere with MTV time. I began to watch less cartoons and more MTV in fact, I got clever I started taping my cartoons dedicating my 2 hours to MTV. 24/7 365 days non-stop video’s from sun up to sun down Def Leppard, Men at Work, Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Tina Turner, Lisa Lisa Cult Jam and Full Force, The Police all of it right there at my finger tips, MTV was my drug I couldn’t get enough. Mom stepped in regulating me down to 1 hour a day. Again I got clever shows like Remote Control would replay at night so I would get a little sneaky but my mother had her own agenda, she was big on shows like Dynasty, Knots Landing, and Dallas of course. If your MTV show came on during Dallas you can forget it. There were no way me and my sister were watching anyting other than Dallas. I can still here my mother say “sorry baby girl but Dallas is coming on, don’t you want to know who shot JR?” Me a teenager not really caring about that or anything else for that matter, giving her a stoned face look well in my head I’m saying “hell no” I want to see the latest Def Leppard video but in my heart well my heart said “yes mother of course I want to know who shot JR that’s what I live for”.
The Funny Thing is; Even with my TV time up in limbo, I managed to maintain a social life outside of TV. The neighborhood kids would block off our street to play stick ball or football. We would ride our bikes to the Rose Bowl and Brookside park catching tadpoles, picking flowers or ride down to the Mall that was newly built. I still did all the things post MTV like piano lesson with Aunt Belle, accordian lessons and flute lessons. Hanging out at the arcade with my buds, talking about who has the highest scores on Centerpide and Frogger. We talked about the latest thing with Barbie and Star Wars and of course being upset at Hasbro for killing off Optimus Prime sticking us with that crappy Hot Rod aka Radimus Prime. Transitioning from Jr High to High School. Going to the footballs games winning the Turkey Tussel (a football game between rivals PHS Pasadena High School and Muir), Muir had the bell the four years I attended ding dong bitches. Falling in love for the first time or what I thought was love, my first high school boy crush. I can remember growing up in Pasadena my home city hosts the annual Rose Parade. Our little city takes the stage ever New Years day. The city would come alive. Filled with people from all walks of life. The parade route five miles down the main drag Colorado blvd lined with people locals but mostly out of towners and from all over the globe. My and my BBF at the time would start from the beginning of the route and walk to the end and in between we would see people from school and we would meet people from different countries like we meet an Aussie who invited come to her country on a student exchange and other person we met was a hockey player from Canada. Pasadena sits in a valley with the San Gabriel mountains as it’s backdrop and it can get very windy, I say this because during the last week of the year a nice crisp cool breeze blows through and the city’s air is filled with the smell of freshly cut roses and flowers. It’s definitely something to see.
Another memory comes to mind is the 1984 summer olympics. I just turned 13 young and very impressionable. We meaning the kids from my street and myself would take the bus to Venice beach “Muscle Beach” there we would rollerskate around and watch all the professional westler’s like Mr. T, Hulk Hogan, Jake the Snake and Roddy Rod flex their muscle lifting weights talking shit but it was this outting that I remember, we were on the bus back home from Venice beach, during the time of the summer olympics. The bus filled to capacity with passagners, some here on vacation watching the olympics and some atheletes it’s the one athelete I remember young guy from Africa was running he spoke of a world not known to me he spoke of his native Africa but he always spoke of his travels through Europe and one place inparticularly Paris. How beautiful the city is especially during Christmas the city is lift filled with lights. Because of that incounter, I got the travel bug just some random guy meeting him changed my life.
I wouldn’t change anything; All the tears all the laughter everything I shared with my closet dearest buds my champions, all the life moments, the life changing experiences there’s nothing that can compare. I feel so sorry for this generation the millennials who would never know what it’s like to play until the street lights come or have the social skills to interact or the communication it takes to hold a conversation with a live person and not sit at a computer and Troll all thoughts through social media. Growing up 80’s style allowed me to use my imagination to be innovative and creative but most importantly growing up 80’s gave me the social skills to have empthy and to have compassion something that is lacking today.
be creative, be kind, drink responsibly