Won’t stop ’til I get enough

I was born in 1982, a year that was especially auspicious for me because of its ripe placement at the beginning of the 80s. In 1982, the Decade of Excess was solidly coming into itself as gaudy, strange, and smart. It had firmly decided that its bridesmaids would sport day glow, it was OK for makeup to wear you, and British pop had earned an extension to its 60s heyday. How could I have heard “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” as a baby and not felt like this life was going to be a good one?

I think growing up, my compatriots and I all felt as though we had been lucky to have been born when we were. If I consider this objectively, it’s a little absurd to read being born at a time when television offerings included “Charles in Charge,” “Gummi Bears,” and “The Snorks” as making you lucky, but we would take what we could get. The soundtrack that was playing in the background as we watched these shows – as well as the permeating smell of our mom’s fresh perm as she spun a salad in the kitchen – was really what made those years glisten with optimism, whether we knew it then or not.

And we were right. All our suspicions that we were totally awesome were confirmed by VH1 in 2002. The glory of our decade couldn’t be contained in a single hour. No! A mini-series was the only platform suitable for such a cavalcade of nostalgic self-love. When “I Love the 80s” premiered in America, I promptly readjusted my perception of VH1 as the music station of my parents (the impression I had gotten from my upbringing) and appreciated it because it appreciated me. We had lived through something special through those years, and thank God VH1 was there to remind me of it. TV to the rescue, once again!

What are some of the things I remember most?

Reading Rainbow. Come to find out that LeVar Burton was known for things other than scouring New York City for kids who would likely later become NPR interns and coordinators of nonprofits. Maybe I’m not thoroughly 80s because I wasn’t aware at the time of his fame as an actor, but I still revere him as the bringer of all good books. And those books were good! Waaay before the Arthur cartoon (which I admit to really liking), Arthur’s plight with his glasses was featured on Reading Rainbow.  LeVar was an amazing dancer, too. I dare you not to want to work in a diner after this:

I remember Dolly Parton. The first cassette tape I ever owned was Dolly’s Greatest Hits. This lady was – and still is – amazing. She had a variety show in the 80s that was apparently cancelled pretty quickly because I haven’t found much on it surfing the interwebs, but I certainly remember its existence and crying HARD when I was notified of its cancellation. Dolly is the entertainer of entertainers. I’ll give Michael Jackson his due for being ridiculously incremental to his industry, but Dolly reigns supreme, evermore.

Via Wikipedia

I remember Book-It, Pizza Hut’s answer to the problem of illiteracy and gross vegetable consumption of American youth. Filling up your Book-It button with stars would earn you a personal pan pizza from the restaurant. Later on, you could also receive a bag of Cheetos Paws for your excellent scholarly conquests. Yeah, yeah, I think this program was introduced in the early 90s, but let me have my moment of nostalgia here. Those nights when our family would embark to Pizza Hut to redeem our Book-It stars were the closest we’d get to knowing the romance suggested by red cups and low Tiffany lighting for a long time.
I liken those Pizza Hut meals – from back before the restaurant had defiled itself by offering delivery and drive through – to dates with my family. Our parents took us out on a night on the town to a sit-down restaurant where we’d sit in beautifully gnarled pizza parlor chairs and voluntarily put our napkins in our laps. Upon ordering, our parents would proudly announce to the server that we were Book-It kids whose literary aptitude had earned them this meal. They’d smile the same way I now smile about my clever husband and express that sentimental thankfulness most evident when smelling pizza and knowing that there are no dishes for you to wash tonight.

For tonight you can just relish your child’s ability to read and receive junk food in exchange for it.

Courtesy imremembering.com

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8 comments

  1. Yes! Teamwork! Teamwork! Do you want to help me make my dream work?? I hope so!

    1. SO EPIC. Also, the best basketball game ever played.

  2. Book-it: you’re safe. It was definitely around in the 80s.

    1. Oh good! I haven’t been able to pay my fact-checkers lately so I was worried that I may be errant :)

  3. Teresa Silverthorn · · Reply

    The title of this article reminds me of a pin that was worn by a drummer in the band I was playing in – during the eighties.

    “I Want It All”

    Yep – a good slogan for that era. ;)

    1. Yes! I’m glad someone got the reference; I was thinking of changing the title. Buttons in general are retro and they seem to have petered out once the 90s set in. Now you only see people wearing them at protests and college campuses. I say we bring back buttons! :)

  4. Well, I was born in ’75, so I had the luxury of getting to experience ALL of the ’80s. For me, the ’80s was about daytime game shows. I used to be addicted to Match Game, Card Sharks, Concentration, Sale of the Century, and some other show called Hot Potato I think. I guess it’s kid of bizarre for a 9-year-old kid to get excited about watching some trashy looking grandma get excited over a set of steak knives, but I didn’t have the most normal childhood either.

    Rob

    1. Jealous! I get the whole attraction of the game show; I mean, look at the Price is Right. It’s bar none the most tacky show in the history of mankind and yet it’s awesome! I think it taps into that primeval love we all have for sparkly lights.

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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