Personal Stories

And So It Goes

Yesterday I was driving around, doing the various errands that needed to be done, when this song came on Classic Rewind. I thought about the events this was chronicling It was a time in history when everything changed, and it was almost unreal as we watched it happening.

We had been afraid of Russia for so long in the Cold War. Living near New York City, I knew if there ever was a nuclear war, we would be one of the first ones obliterated as they would target the financial infrastructure on Wall Street. Between the Berlin Wall coming down and the Eastern European nations coming out from behind the Iron Curtain, followed by an allegedly “free” Russian state, it finally felt like we could breathe a sigh of relief.

This meme came up a few days before and I posted it on my Facebook feed. We had some discussion about it, and during that discussion I pointed out that we are now as far from 1980 as 1980 was from 1940.

My parents were both born in the 1920s so were in their teens in 1940 – about the same age I would be in 1980. I heard stories of what it was like around that time. They usually lived in cold-water flats and it was a luxury to have hot water heat in their apartments. I think about it being a time just in between the worst of The Great Depression and entering World War II. That seemed ancient to me when I was growing up.

Just like 1980 seems to kids nowadays.

I think about when I was young. We didn’t even have a color TV at first. We had a decent-sized black and white in our living room until sometime in the early 1970’s. The first microwave we had was in 1984, as was the first video cassette recorder. We watched television over the air with rabbit-ear antennas. Living near New York City, we were lucky and actually had 6 networks plus a PBS and a few UHF channels to watch. The first car I can remember was a Buick Special. It didn’t even have air conditioning or seat belts in the back seat.

1965 Buick Special, the same color as ours was – Image courtesy of

In 1980, my parents had a Chevrolet Nova. I actually figured out how to replace the radio in it because when they bought it, it only got AM stations. As much as I liked WABC growing up by 1980 I was looking for the FM stations. I never won the battle to get cable television, though. It wasn’t until I was working a regular job that I paid for Cable TV in the house.

1977 Chevrolet Nova. Yep, this was what their car looked like, right down to the color. Image courtesy of Hemmings.

The winds of change were brewing in 1980. None of us realized it then, but they were.

I wonder in 2060 what kids will look back on from our time. I wonder if they will absorb the fact that the “ancient history” they grew up hearing from their grandparents about the 1980s is now the time they remember from their youth.

And so it goes….

9 replies »

  1. Yup, just as 1990, for me, and even the Shuttle Challenger explosion in 86, when I was near the end of High School, don’t seem so long ago, to me.
    I wonder how the newer watershed events for the Millenials will affect the world by 2060, as you say, and whether the population will have ‘levelled out’ at 10 billion, and how that will be?

    • We didn’t think the earth could hold more than the population we were seeing in the 1980’s, and so far it has, although I wonder if that’s why we’re seeing new diseases; nature trying to de-populate the planet and survive.

      • Well, we know that GMO seeds have allowed more food production in the short term since then, but we also know that in the long term, those same GMO seeds encourage dangerous levels of monocroping that could eventually encourage more crop diseases, like in the Irish potato famine, but they give us enough time to get things like birth control and education out to the world’s population, if we wanted to, and safely lower population growth while increasing living standards for everyone. But education is critical to the whole endeavor.

  2. Yes I know what you mean. My first car was a 1978 Chevy Nova sedan – silver with red vinyl interior. It was my college graduation gift (my dad worked at Chevrolet and had bought the car from the fleet used). It was loaded and the sticker price was $3965 and I thought it very expensive then. What I thought was cutting edge is now so obsolete that my children laugh. They don’t remember a time without video games, computers or cell phones. *sigh* things change but even so some things stay the same!

    • It struck me a lot that when I was growing up 1940 seemed so long ago, and here we are just as far from 1980 as 1940 was then. We’ve really seen so much and it doesn’t feel like it was history, but it was, especially to our children and grandchildren. They’ll never understand Cold War drills, TV Dinners you heated in an oven (and took forever!) and things like that. Then I look at my granddaughter who’s growing up with television on demand! Wow! And what will her grandchildren think about history?

      Our Nova had a cloth interior – fancy! lol

  3. 1980 eh? I was pregnant with my first child, an elderly primagravida at 27, living in a crowded rented flat which belonged to my godfather. He wouldn’t let us get rid of any of the uncomfortable furniture. We had a tiny black and white tv, video recorders were dreams away, and we hadnt even heard of domestic microwaves then. I had seen them when on holiday in Spain – they were used a lot in restaurants, but i didn’t know of anyone who had one. I can’t remember what car we had as i don’t drive, but I do know we didn’t have a washing machine and that was a drag. but only 40 years ago!

    • So much has changed, hasn’t it? I think you were behind the Iron Curtain (as it was called) so yes, you had it much different. I can’t believe I am talking about this stuff tomy ids and grandkids the way my parents used to talk about it with me

      • Oh no Patti, this was London, the centre of the Universe, i thought. Things were very different in Poland,at that time. In fact everyone I knew did have a washing machine at least!

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