The good old days had pitfalls too

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“1980 and 2021 are as far apart as 1980 and 1939.”

The above quote circulated around the internet recently and frankly, I am offended. I am also old, so those things probably go hand in hand.

Look, I remember 1980. I was just a kid, but I was definitely AWARE of 1980. I know at that time, if you had asked me about 1939, I would have thought that was at least 1 million years earlier, give or take.

I mean 1939? Pre-World War II? That isn’t a time that actually exists except in black and white photos right? People trying to say that 1980 to last year is the same amount of years is just … mean. Who needs this kind of negativity?

I know the last couple of years have been a lot to take — just an awful lot really. We have all been going through it. I think it’s safe to say that now more than ever “the good old days” can be seen as basically any period of time prior to March 2020. A worldwide pandemic will do that to you.

Retro

For those who follow fashion, home decor and general trends, let me assure you that the 1980s are back baby! Young adults feathering their first nests have a lot of nostalgia for a decade none of them were born in.

Dusty pastels, brass, modular and molded furnishings and, yes, even those country geese with the bow motifs that were on EVERYTHING are seeing a resurgence. They are joining their midcentury modern brethren, dark wood and lots of texture.

Everything, from the 1960s through the 1980s, is seen as simply better than today. I was there, and I can say it was all pretty great — granted I was a kid so most of the downsides didn’t impact me personally.

However, before we wax rhapsodic on the “before time,” I think it is crucial for those of us who remember some of the “good old days” to get real about some of the pitfalls too.

Trials

I don’t know if kids these days really understand the trials we survived. Telephones were attached to the wall. We could only make or receive calls from that point. Do they even know what a busy signal is?

Call waiting has existed since before they were born. In fact, if truth be told, most of them don’t even answer the telephone. They most often just text.

In the olden days, we had no streaming movies or television. There was no VCR to record shows (unless your family was pretty wealthy in the early ’80s), If you missed your favorite program you simply missed it.

There were limited channels (UHF anyone?). If you did have a VHS player, video stores charged memberships (remember those?), and you had to go to the store, try to find one in stock behind all the empty boxes, pick out a “tape” and then come home and explain to everyone else what the movie was about because the box it came in was usually plain white.

Microwave ovens were the size of a small car. My mom had to give up a whole corner of her kitchen for her first microwave.

Travel

Travel was also iffy at best. Today, we can plan and pay for almost any trip from the aforementioned “mobile phone.”

Going somewhere in 1980? Better get down to AAA and order your “Trip-Tik.” Hope you can flip through the pages fast if anything changes on the route.

Gas stations didn’t have an option to pay at the pump. You would walk yourself into that station and get stuck behind someone playing 100 lottery tickets.

Once on the road, there were no streaming music or podcasts. You listened to the radio stations you received in your area and liked it — or not. No signal? No problem. Play “slug bug” or license plate bingo.

The past has many amazing things to offer — mainly memories. Living in “the future” has a lot of perks too.

It pays to remember that, as we travel down memory lane, in the “good old days” we would have had to do it without GPS, and if we are being honest, pay phones were pretty gross too.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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