- Posted August 15, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Life in the early 1980s: Style and politics
San Fernando Valley California in the early 1980’s as I remember it.
The movie theatre exploded with fantastic movies like, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Superman II, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Mad Max II, Escape from New York, Blade Runner, Body Heat, The Shining, Album/video Thriller by Michael Jackson, Sword and Sorcery, Dragonslayer, Excalibur, Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer, The Never Ending Story, Gandhi, Sophie’s Choice, A Passage to India, Ghostbusters, Tootsie, The Big Chill, Risky Business, The Karate Kid, First Blood, Rocky, Missing in Action, just to name a few.
A teen would either go to “Cruise Night” once a week to either take part in or to look at all of the roadsters driving down the boulevard, hang out at the malls, go to an arcade, go to a coffee shop, go to the movies, or during the spring and summer months go to the beaches. Young adults went to the movies, bars, coffee shop, or to the beach. When I wasn’t at the beach for a weekend fishing trip or an outdoor theatre to watch Shakespearian plays I went to dinner followed by the theatre and went for coffee after the show. Some weekends I would play hide and seek with friends on the Citizens Band Radio.
It was in the early 1980’s when walking down some streets became unsafe in the San Fernando Valley that had been safe before. Many times walking home from helping out a friend at work, I had to pull a knife out of my purse because several strange gang looking young people would follow me, luckily they were looking for easy pickings not a fight. The moment they saw I was willing to fight they mysteriously disappeared. Luck runs out after a while though and criminals began holding people up at gun point; even under bright street lights on a busy boulevard. People not only drove by during a holdup, but turned the other way so they could say they never saw a thing and keep going. Not one person called the police. Having a gun barrel between your eyes is a very frightening experience; when the one holding the gun is shaking and nervous.
We didn’t have computers like we do today; they were big, bulky and only good for playing some very old games and typing on. Printers back then were Dot Matrix and also large and balky. Cell phones hadn’t either been invented or just wasn’t available to the public yet. Car phones were popular if you had the money to afford the expensive cost of one. Citizens Band Radios were popular and affordable; they were also fun to use. We learned how to locate each other using the meters on the Citizen Band Radios in case of an emergency and somebody needed help we stood a good chance of finding them. Living in earthquake country it was best to be prepared at all times.
Some say MTV revolutionized the fashions of the 1980’s as well as the music industries and how people watch television today. The truth is, most people were trying to figure out who they were or making statements of who they want you to think they were. Many fashions of the 1980’s were simply outrageous. Stripes and poke-a-dots combined, ratty shorts, frilly dresses with leggings topped with leg warmers and tennis shoes just to name a few. Some of the classier looks included long tops, now called tunic tops; and mid calf length skirts worn with nylons and pump styled shoes or sandals. Many wore colors that clashed with one another. My favorite clothing at that time to relax in public was a pair of black pants with a white or red stripe down the sides, a double breasted white or black tunic blouse and knee high black leather boots; two inch black leather belt optional. At home to relax I wore an ankle length house dress; shoes optional.
The talk on the street in 1980 was about Saddam Hussein whom many called Insane Hussein at the time. Everybody wondered whether we were going to get locked into another war again. Many jokes were made about Saddam Hussein and many videos were made to reflect those jokes. Jokes were used many times to lighten somber or angry moods regarding high profile people like the President of the USA or in this case Saddam Hussein. Today jokes are taken way too seriously.
The 1980’s was an interesting time to live in. Most people weren’t sue happy and although things were tight financially families stuck together to make things work. Sometimes I had to hold two and three jobs at a time, but we survived it. I didn’t use credit cards or checks to pay for things and I still don’t. I prefer cash and carry. If I can’t pay for it outright then I don’t need it. If it is mine and I say I own it, it is because it is paid for. I never wanted to be half owner with any bank. Do I have a bank account? Doesn’t everybody?