There are years that define your life for ever.
They are a time where you can still taste, smell, hear and feel events, products and activities like it was yesterday.
For my generation that were born from 1970-1975 that was the early to mid eighties.
If for me the 70’s were the age of innocence, the 90’s the era of decadence and the 00’s the era of transformation then the 80’s were the years of awe and wonder, of the unencumbered freedom of being old enough to enjoy every day and young enough to not be tied to the responsibilities of the future.
Those were the years of trying to master a rubix cube, reading Mad Magazine, and making Airfix models. For Christmas you got Masters of the Universe or the latest action figures from Return of the Jedi. We had Footy Cards and the Coca Cola Yo-Yo craze to keep us busy at recess and lunch. Can you still do walk the dog?
We learned to breakdance, we watched BMX Bandits, ET, Ghostbusters, Gremlins and Back to the Future at the movies and we listened to the sounds of the Rocksteady Crew, Irene Cara, Duran Duran on vinyl. Everyone listened to Triple M. Everyone had Star Wars and Jaws on Video which we recorded off the TV. And everyone forgot to not tape the ads. When you got older you wanted to watch Puberty Blues when your parents weren’t home because your older cousins were always talking about it.
When you got home from school there were always re-runs of Gilligans Island and the Brady Bunch on. At night we couldn’t wait for Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica to come on.
The elite among us rode Haro’s, Diamond Backs and Mongoose BMX’s while the rest of us made do with Hanimex Spiders or Malvern Stars. You were even cooler if your bike had ‘Tuffs’. A defining moment was when you transitioned from a Reflex to an OZE skate board or from a Morey Boogie board to an Emerald Huzza Wuzza grommet board.
Kids out west got Honda Z-50’s and XR80’s to blast around the bush in, before the National Parks service gated everything off.
Our brains froze from Green Gremlin Slurpies from 7-11, McDonalds did a Mocha and Choc-mint Sundae and Thickshake, and if you could say ‘two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese in a sesame seed bun’ in under ten seconds you got a free Coke.
Reagan threatened the USSR and vice versa and in ’84 the reality of nuclear war was heightened by movies like ‘The Day After’. They were times of freedom juxtaposed with anxiety of the future which at times seemed certain to hang under a series of mushroom clouds.
We wore Crystal Cylinders and Billabong and Quiksilver were new brands and you wore your shorts really tight and high like Tom Carroll.
It was still a time when people went to Sunday School and we wondered who ‘Poor Ramsey’ was when we took up an offering at Cronulla Baps while we were on holidays (it was actually ‘Poor and Famished’).
Now the children of the eighties have kids in high school and primary school who are having their own defining moments.
I hope our kids get to enjoy the freedom and great memories we did, but my dream is that they will go onto change the world in ways we never dreamed of. If Gods plan is to restore the relationships between people and Him, us and ourselves, us and others, and us and the world around us, I hope that their freedom and joy is tempered with an understanding that there is a much bigger picture at play here. The world is on the edge of something and like the mushroom clouds that loomed in ’84, they have an anxious future ahead of them. But if we could help them see the bigger picture and the hope that exists in the midst of all the gloom, they will one day write of their world changing deeds and a letter of encouragement and hope to the next generation, whilst sharing memories of Ipod touches, Face Book, Avatar, Razor Scooters, Healthy McDonalds meals, The Black Eyed Peas, Muse, You Tube and all the others things that defined the first two decades of the new Millenium. And you and I? We’ll be holding the grandkids saying ‘back in my day…..”.