8 Great Things From the '80s That I'm Keeping Alive for My Kids

Boys, you will thank me later for your vast knowledge of good... dare I say great... music.
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I am lucky enough to have grown up in the 1980s, which you may think of as the decade full of things that were over-the-top -- the hair, the fashion, the makeup and the music.

But to me all of these things were glorious.

My 8- and 10-year-old boys flip through the photo albums of my youth in amazement, seeing examples of my extreme over-the-top-ness in each of the categories mentioned above. Especially the fashion. And the hair. Mainly the hair.

And while I may never be able to share with them how awesome hanging outside a Camelot Music store eating a plastic bowl full of nachos could be, there are still a few '80s nuggets from my teenage years we can experience together. Like:

1. Video stores.
My first two jobs -- my two favorite jobs -- were at mom-and-pop video stores back in the '80s. Thank God for Movie Madness here in Portland -- the best video store in the world. I would so much rather spend an hour with my kids here, having them pick up DVD (and VHS!) boxes and read the backs, than flip through that damn Netflix menu for an hour.


2. Cameras. With film.
Yes, they are disposable cameras, but they are still cameras! You'd be surprised at how excited both kids were to get a camera with no screen -- no instant gratification. No scrolling, editing, removing the red eye or deleting. You get what you get. I only wish there was one of those little film-hut-kiosk-drive-through places still around.


3. The mall.
The mall of today may not be the mecca of hanging out/the aforementioned nachos/movie theaters that it once was, but I have to admit, sometimes, if we're at a loss for what to do, we will go hang out at the mall. There are still bookstores, toy stores, a food court, and See's Candies, where if you buy something you get a free sample of a piece of chocolate. The mall is still totally cool, and oddly comforting for me.

4. Casseroles.
You guys... not all the time, but every now and then we are going to eat Beef Stroganoff and Tomato Noodle Dandy (which is made with ground beef and Velveeta). Family dinnertime is awesome.

5. Music.
Boys, you will thank me later for your vast knowledge of good... dare I say great... music. The fact that you can identify "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles when it comes on the oldies station (sigh) would bring a tear to any mother's eye, right? Adam Ant, Quiet Riot, INXS, Oingo Boingo, Def Leppard, Duran Duran, Run DMC, music from every genre -- all of it. It's all good. And to my older son who thinks "Jump" by Van Halen is a really bad song, while I respect your opinion, I don't have to agree with you.

6. Games.
Sorry! Trouble! Hungry Hungry Hippos! Simon! Clue! (Our version of Clue is a "retro" 1986 edition. RETRO!) My apologies for not hanging onto my handheld devices, which included Merlin, Electronic Football and Speak & Spell.


7. Movies.
"Ghostbusters." "Back to the Future." "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." "Clue" and "E.T."... I will watch all of those with you guys over and over again. And I can't wait until you're older so I can share everything John Hughes ever made with you.

8. Saturday morning cartoons.
I am proud to say that my kids know who Scooby-Doo, the Smurfs, He-Man and Inspector Gadget are. I am also proud to say that they learned about adjectives, nouns, verbs, how a bill becomes a law and why three is a magic number from "Schoolhouse Rock." Knowledge is power!

I know change is inevitable, and yes, I agree, change is good. But sometimes it's nice being able to share the things -- little things -- that take me back to being a kid as well.

Just a taste. A pop of the pop-o-matic bubble. Or the cover of that VHS copy of "Pee-wee's Big Adventure." Passing on the stuff I loved so much to the two I love so much. It doesn't get better than that.

Lori's website, Drawn to the '80s, is where her 5-year-old illustrated the greatest music hits of the 1980s. Her blog, Once Upon a Product, is where she writes about important things like beauty products, her Mick Jagger obsession and the 1980s.

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