Thursday 13: The Decade of My Youth

November 14, 2008

This week the CBS Early Show has been running a segment called “Five Days, Five Decades.”  Each morning they talk about the notable trends, styles, events and pop culture that shaped a particular decade.  It started with the 1950s on Monday and will end tomorrow with the 1990s.  Today was my favorite decade, the 1980s.  Watching all of the video clips brought the memories flooding back, so I figured I would list some of them hear.

When I think of the 1980s, I remember:

  1. Big hair, spiral perms, hair gel, lots of hair spray.  Hair that defied gravity.
  2. The 1988 presidential election.  Gary Hart’s “monkey business” with Donna Rice.  Joe Biden’s plagiarizing of a British political leader’s speech.  My cousin telling me that Bush was going to win and me thinking she was off her rocker.
  3. Dynasty.”  Oh, how I loved that show!  I’ll never forget when Alexis and her new husband Cecil Colby were in the marriage bed and he had a heart attack in the middle of … things.  She started slapping him and shouting, “Cecil!  You can’t die on me now!”
  4. Shoulder padsBig shoulder pads.
  5. The Challenger explosion just minutes after takeoff.  It was late January, and I was moving back into my dorm room when a guy down the hall came and told us what had happened.  My roommate and I quickly plugged in our television so we could see what had happened.
  6. Ronald Reagan saying “Trust, but verify” to Mikhail Gorbachev.  More than once.
  7. New Coke.  What were they thinking?!?!
  8. ApartheidNelson Mandela.  “Sun City.”
  9. Madonna.  She looks like she’s doing a whole baseball team’s worth of steroids now, but back then she was glamorous, confident, and feminine.  I had a large collection of O-ring bracelets because of her.
  10. The Iran-Contra HearingsFawn Hall sneaking documents out of the office in her panty hose.  Oliver North‘s sudden amnesia.
  11. The plane crashing into Washington DC’s 14th Street bridge.  Years later, I commuted across that bridge every day and I couldn’t help but remember it.
  12. Band-Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”  I still get goosebumps whenever I hear it.
  13. Jim Brady laying on the sidewalk in a pool of blood after Hinkley’s assassination attempt on President Reagan.  In the days and weeks that followed, there were hardly any reports of how he had fared.


  1. Your TT brought back a lot of memories!

  2. I love that song!!! I should download it, but somehow it’s more meaningful when it just comes on the radio and brings those shivers. But I rarely listen to the radio except NPR. What a conundrum!

    And I think Linda Evans of Dynasty embodied so many trends of the 80s…big hair, huge shoulder pads, etc. I was at my desk at my first post-collegiate job when the Challenger crashed…so I guess I have a few years on you!

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