Where Were You When…

The topic for this week’s Friday Flashback is What big cultural event occurred during your childhood/youth that you recall clearly? What was its impact on you?

Several “big” events immediately popped into my mind – the Challenger explosion (I was home sick from 6th grade watching the Price is Right- specifically, the yodeling mountain climber– when the show was interrupted by video images of the fiery explosion), Charles and Diana’s wedding (I watched it in my aunt’s basement in the wee hours of the morning, marveling at Diana’s train floating down the aisle and wishing to marry a prince one day), and Ronald Reagan’s assassination attempt.

However, the most vivid memories I have as a child were pop culture and fashion-related. (C’mon. Does that surprise you? It’s WHOORL we’re talking about here.)

Do you all remember these events as well as I do?

Watching the birth of MTV, with the inaugural video being Video Killed The Radio Star.

Classifying myself as a Valley Girl. “Like, you are tubular to the max.”

Hiding behind a pillow while viewing Thriller for the first time.

Drinking my first Jolt Cola.

My first pair of Jellies shoes.

Wanting to mack down with Charlie Sheen in Lucas. (That makes me cringe a little.)

Mix and matching the “perfect” Units outfit while getting ready for school.

The Three Men And A Baby ghost hiding in the curtain rumor. Freaked my shit out.

Dude, one word. FROGGER. (Also, did any of you play River Raid on Atari? My dad scored the highest score ever. We had to take a photo of him standing next to the good ol’ RCA television to send in. I would KILL for that photo right now.)

I remember distinct details of the above mentioned. What about you, though? What events from your youth are emblazoned on your brain? Anything goes!

Don’t forget to check out these other participants, as I can promise their posts are way more poignant than my banter about Jolt Cola. (Although, that shit was WICKED COOL. Admit it.)

Her Bad Mother
Mrs. Flinger
Oh the Joys

  1. Oh, The Joys

    March 21, 2008 at 6:26 am

    No way. I wrote about spending the year in England when the Pan Am flight 103 crashed and I mentioned how my clothes were all wrong – way too bright and just generally wrong – and they were all UNITS!!!

  2. Kathy

    March 21, 2008 at 6:31 am

    I wish I could remember the Challenger explosion. I must have been, what, twelve? I remember it happening, but I don’t have that “flashbulb memory” everyone else seems to have.

  3. SouthernBelle

    March 21, 2008 at 6:35 am

    Funny! I had forgotten about the Units. I loved them, they were so comfortable and totally “in”. What about those parachute pants? Ahhh…memories

  4. Sadie

    March 21, 2008 at 6:50 am

    I remember the Challenger explosion vividly too, because my 2nd-grade teacher Miss Bahnsen wheeled the rickety TV cart into the classroom and we were watching it LIVE. Sweet. I am pretty sure parents would be suing schools for giving 7-year-olds that sort of ‘trauma’ nowadays, but somehow I survived without therapy.

    I also remember hiding behind a chair at my babysitter’s house while her older daughter watched the Thriller video on MTV (we didn’t have cable at my house).

    My first movie in the theater? ‘Real Genius’ with Val Kilmer. You’d think my parents coulda taken me to, oh, I dunno, a kid’s movie, but they were hardcore. I also remember going with them to the drive-in theater to see a double-feature – Gung-Ho and Pretty in Pink. I was psyched for Pretty in Pink but they played Gung Ho FIRST and I fell asleep in the back seat. When I woke up 3/4 of the way through Pretty in Pink I FLIPPED MY SHIT like the mother badger in the Corolla commercial because my parents hadn’t awakened me…

    We didn’t have Atari (I am just a few years behind you) but I DO remember getting the original Nintendo and playing Tetris every day after school until I got to levels they hadn’t even MADE YET, damn I’m good!

  5. a madhouse wife

    March 21, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Like Sadie, my third grade teacher, Miss Unruh, rolled the TV in for the Challenger and we watched it live, too. She shut if off right after the explosion and I guess I didn’t really “get” what happened until people were talking about it on the bus.

    Also like Sadie, we didn’t have Atari but got a Nintendo (like, quite a while after they came out; my family was always a little late getting with it) and I remember the days I beat Super Mario Bros. 1 AND 2. We also had Duck Hunt and the power pad to play Track and Field with. I guess that could be considered the very early forerunner to Wii. That Duck Hunt was primitive, yo.

  6. Alison

    March 21, 2008 at 7:10 am

    I remember Jolt! My parents wouldn’t buy me any (I wonder why… ;-)

    And I thought I was so cool with the Valley Girl talk. “Gag me with a SPOON!”

  7. Rhea

    March 21, 2008 at 7:24 am


    Jelly Bracelets
    Smelly Swatch watches – mine was banana
    Blowdrying hairspray-ed bangs as high as they would stand
    White suburb boys wearing MC Hammer pants
    Z Cavariccis
    Curve perfume

    Ahhh those were the days….

  8. Mandee

    March 21, 2008 at 7:30 am

    UNITS! I got an awesome outfit (albeit not nearly as cool as my sister’s red jumpsuit) from Units while visiting my aunt and uncle in Dallas. Apparently, the kids in South Georgia had better taste than we knew since they laughed at us when we got home.

    The Challenger was the first thing I thought of when I heard about this prompt. I was at Pull-Out (our gifted program so named because they “pulled us out” (gross) of our regular school and bussed us to a different location) and we had no TV’s at that school. We were listening to it on the radio. I didn’t see the pictures until I got home that afternoon.

    How about twista-beads? And splatter painted sweatshirts?

  9. Jennifer

    March 21, 2008 at 7:36 am

    I vividly remember when Ryan White passed away. They told us over the loudspeaker during lunch in 7th grade…

  10. ikate

    March 21, 2008 at 7:45 am

    I remember getting our Atari and when my brother finished the game Pitfall – as in got through the entire game – we tried to take his picture to send it it but the damn Polaroid flash kept making the TV screen black in the developed picture. We have about 6 shots of him with a huge grin on his face standing next to a black blotch with a flash reflection in the middle. Oh well

    I also remember getting our Nintendo and playing Super Mario Bros. and being amazed at the technology.

    I’d rather forget the “fashion” of the day.

    I distinctly remember my first salon perm. After several home perms it was like heaven – until the chemical burn appeared on my forehead.

  11. Aimee

    March 21, 2008 at 8:08 am

    My first thought was the Challenger explosion. I was in 3rd grade. I was getting ready to go to school – and my mom and I were at my grandma’s. (probably watching the price is right!) and I was standing in the kitchen next to the dishwasher watching the TV in the family room. That’s all I remember really.

    I LOVED Frogger. And Pitfall. There was something very fun about alligators trying to eat someone scantilly clad. :D

  12. am'ti b

    March 21, 2008 at 8:47 am

    with you on the challenger, i was at trinnininny. i also spent hours mix n mathchin’ my units parts. i, like ikate remember my first perm, my mom thought it a good idea to perm my hair while we grew out my bangs, huh? she later convinced me to do it again in sixth grade, i have had curly hair ever since……

  13. FK

    March 21, 2008 at 8:51 am

    My Coca Cola rugby – collars up! – LOVED IT.

    And I was *so* jealous of my sister’s LeClick camera. It was purple and so high-tech.

    The Ah-ha video for “Take on Me” was probably the most unbelievable thing I had ever seen!

    I could go on and on…I’ll leave you with a final thought: wearing a leather bomber jacket off the shoulders…because why would I wear it any other way? : )

    Great post – have a wonderful weekend!

  14. Her Bad Mother

    March 21, 2008 at 10:31 am

    DUDE. The first music video channels? (In Canada it was MuchMusic) POTENT memory.

    I can also remember the very first video that my family ever watched – Flashdance.

    It was like watching a moon landing, we were so transfixed by watching a new MOVIE on TV.

    God am so old.

  15. Melissa Rhinolegs

    March 21, 2008 at 11:00 am

    oh my goodness, i was totally home sick watching price is right when the challenger exploded!

    and units? everything i had from there was RED. all the better to go with my RED FRAME GLASSES. oh yes.

    but one of my clearest memories was being the 100th caller and winning tickets to see new kids on the block. i think it was the happiest moment of my tweens.