We’d go play outside every chance we could. We spent our days climbing trees in search of the perfect parallel bars to dangle upside down from or perform flips over. We built massive forts. The boys played with action figures and BB guns, and we girls did cartwheels in the carport for hours or donned our white skates complete with pom poms and skated up and down every sidewalk, driveway, and street within a few blocks of our house. That’s right - we were allowed to traverse out of our parents’ sight, because we were with our friends or we were en route to our friends’ houses on our banana seat bikes that we sometimes rode side saddle, standing on the seat or riding on the wide handlebars. No, we did not wear helmets.
When we rode in the car we sat in the back window, on the floorboard of the back seat or on the front seat at any age. On long car trips we amused ourselves by making faces at passersby or putting our fists out the window with the universal signal which asks truckers to “Honk, honk!” We also would lay down on the seat with crayons and coloring books as there really weren’t many handheld video games, and you were lucky if you had a Walkman that didn’t eat your cassette tapes. That’s right - we didn’t use seatbelts. There were no car seats necessary or required by law.
When we weren’t outside playing or going for a car ride we could be found building massive blanket forts using every blanket in the house, or making sticker books (the scratch and sniff stickers were our favorite), collecting and trading cards of all sorts (sports cards, Garbage Pail Kids, and more - much like your Pokemon cards). We’d also use blankets as capes and pretend to be super heroes. We girls would play with Barbie dolls for hours while the boys played Pac-Man, or we’d play Pac- Man while the boys took the heads off of our dolls. We could also be found dancing around to our new record, which we couldn’t shuffle through at the touch of a button. No, we had to manually and very carefully lift the needle’s arm and move it to the groove of our favorite groove. We also liked watching movies on VHS. We had no remotes, and again we had to get out of our seats and manually push buttons while we waited for a movie to rewind or fast forward, which took minutes versus today’s seconds.
Does all of this sound boring to you? It wasn’t. It was awesome. We didn’t know what conveniences the future would hold or what technological breakthroughs would make our days supposedly easier. We were like you, though. We knew no better. We knew how to make our own fun. We didn’t need video games. We played board games. We didn’t need iPods. We had boom boxes. We didn’t need cell phones. We had corded phones, and we were being introduced to the miracle of call waiting. We were learning. We were innocent. We were kids.