Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | March 23, 2006

Living in the Past

I am a child of the 80s, a decade of contrasts. On the one hand, outstanding music (if you don’t like it, I don’t care), and on the other, fashion statements and hairstyles that would probably be best forgotten. I was reminded of both yesterday after discovering a wonderful link to hundreds of 80s music videos. I reminisced through viewings of Scritti Politti’s Perfect Way, singing along (quietly) to the Psychedelic Furs, and tapped my toes to And We Danced, by The Hooters, to name but a few. Aaaah, bliss. And of course, such joy is not limited to the music from my coming-of-age years, but also to the movies and the television shows of this gone-but-not-forgotten era. Who could forget such classics as The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and virtually every other Brat Pack film? What teenage girl didn’t envy Molly Ringwald for always beating the odds and getting the cute guy at the end? With half the population of the United States running around saying, “Whatchu talkin’ about, Willis?”, and the other half running around trying to figure out the words to “Pass the Dutchie” and “Come On Eileen”, the 80s were glory days indeed.

The 80s were happy, more innocent times, where no one worried about planes being flown into buildings, toxic white powder being sent through the post, or people not being able to accompany their loved ones to the airport gate. We wore our hideously loud, patterned (remember paisley?), oversized shirts with no fear, went preppie (remember the pink and green combo, Izod shirts with the collars up?) with no immediate concerns for our safety. They were good years for growing up. Our parents weren’t afraid to let us be outside after dark during lazy summers, nor were they worried when we wandered around the mall with friends, boys and girls eyeing each other over the 45s in the record store.

Oh, how the times have changed. Here I am, twenty years older and about a hundred years wiser, and to say that I’m troubled by the times in which we live would be an understatement. Today’s youth are far savvier than I could ever hope or want to be, robbed of their innocence at increasingly younger and younger ages. I long for the good old days, before violence became so normal, before drugs became so prevalent, before coffee became so expensive.

And now, it seems I may have to chance to go back, at least in a sense. Without me noticing, it seems that my twenty-year high school reunion has crept up on me, and will be held this summer. To my great fortune (though Husband is clearly less keen), it coincides with our annual trip to the US to visit family and friends, and I find myself greatly looking forward to the reunion events. I look forward to catching up with old friends, and to showing everyone how far I’ve come. I look forward to seeing how people have changed, who they’ve married, how they’re doing. I look forward to showing off my little family. Ever since the reunion was announced, there’s been a flurry of emails between old classmates, and the excitement is steadily growing. One thing that I find kind of scary is how many of them still live in the area where we grew up, how many of them are still friends who regularly spend time together. Some of them are parents of children who go to school together, and even run into each other at school sporting events. Some of them are high school sweethearts, miraculously still together twenty years later, which is just amazing.

I can’t wait to take this trip down memory lane, to remember the good times from my youth (while conveniently forgetting the bad times, of course!), to dance to the songs that we danced to twenty years ago, to laugh about simpler times and long gone bad hair days.

What a long strange trip it’s been…



  1. Miami Vice……..

  2. I am a Breakfast Club junkie… I’ll admit it…I could watch that movie a million times. I believe that layered izod shirts (preferrably three) with the collars up was the ultimate! My old high school also has a fairly high “just-couldn’t-bring-ourselves-to-move-more-than-5-miles-from-our-childhood-home” rate…strange for those of us who have changed countries when our old classmates didn’t even change counties!!

  3. I’m a fellow 80’s gal-I always say it’s my favorite decade!

    Love those Brat Pack movies-must have seen Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, etc. a million times. Ferris Bueller is another favorite. I still listen to a lot of the music I loved then- Van Halen, Springsteen, Def Leppard, The Smiths, Dire Straits. Remember Big Country? And when everyone dressed like Madonna during her “Lucky Star” phase? I could go on and on 🙂

    You’re right, it WAS a simpler time. No internet, though- remember actually going to a library to do research?

    I also graduated HS in 1986- can’t believe how fast the last 20 years have flown by!

  4. You should see my MP3 collection – I’ve got hundreds of 80s songs!

  5. 100s? Wanna share? My ipod is feeling lonely and 80s bereft! I’ll lend ya my breakfast club DVD in exchange…heck, I’ll burn you a copy of my B.C. dvd! I had such a crush on Bender. That movie and Dirty Dancing are two of my all-time favs!

  6. Lisoosh: Oh yeah! Who can forget Don Johnson during his younger years – those white jackets…

    NRG: I still remember the first time I saw it and some of the people I was with!

    I definitely can’t see myself living in the area where I grew up. It’s a great place for kids, but I guess I feel like it’s not really moving forward or something. Don’t know how to explain it.

    Ra’anana Ramblings: Of course I remember Big Country! I even have one of their songs, I think.

    Not only no internet, but no Windows, no computer in every household, etc. I still remember when MTV first came on the air – gold star for whoever comes up with the first video ever shown on the channel!

    Yael k: I love “Dirty Dancing” too! One of my favorite movie quotes of all time is, “I carried a watermelon.”

    My 80s songs are your 80s songs, m’dear. Next time we get together, remind me to bring along the 80s CDs for you to borrow.

  7. I think I know this one, She- wasn’t it Video Killed The Radio Star? I think I saw that on Pop-Up Video.

  8. Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Indeed, the first video ever shown on MTV was Video Killed the Radio Star, so Ra’anana Ramblings, you get a gold star. You can get another one if you tell me the name of the band who sings it. 🙂

  9. It was the Buggles… the guitar player went on to play in Asia… and I watched the very first video… at a friend’s house, my parents refused to get cable!

    My favorite Dirty Dancing line is “Baby’s starting Mount Holyoke in the fall”, but only because I saw the movie the weekend before I went off to college… at MOUNT HOLYOKE!! I actually screamed outloud in the theater… no one could quite understand why!

  10. Old bands never die, they just play smaller venues… Tears for Fears , Simple Minds and Depeche Mode all have albums out in living memory (my definition: a year in this broadband age). And when is safe too safe? You realise we’re going to freak our kids out with our tales of hedonism. These days it’s getting hard to find a kid who’s even willing to get on a bike without kevlar body armour…

  11. Ok, Nrg. Very good! Now can you tell me the date that MTV went on the air?

    Finnspadre: I remember standing up in the backseat of the station wagon while my parents drove around!

    Depeche Mode is coming to play in Israel this summer. I know at least one person who already has tickets, and with any luck, I will too! Sting is also coming, apparently.

  12. Don’t test me, missy… August 1, 1981…

    Depeche sold out in Oslo on Feb 28 this year… I didn’t get to go, but I saw them in 2002… amazing.

  13. Ooooh! Excellent! First brownie’s on me… 😉

  14. yummy!

    By the way, JJ Jackson passed away on March 18th…

  15. Oh, stop… Just stop! 🙂

  16. Oops, I see I’m too late to get my second gold star 😦

    And how could I forget “Dirty Dancing”- “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!”

  17. Can you post the URL of the site with the 80’s videos?

  18. Sure. The link is:, and I found it courtesy of the blog Random Pensees (see the link in our blogroll).

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