26 Things That Make An 80s Summer

At the risk of sounding like my mother, I miss “the good ol’ days” of a 1980s summer. I know I’m romanticizing the 80s but I do miss the simple, uncomplicated, endless summer days of my childhood. I’m sure my mother was frantic trying to juggle a job and making sure we had enough frozen pizzas to feed ourselves, but it never felt that way. We didn’t have the extra money for cable or video game systems so if we didn’t like what was on the three television stations, we were out of luck. 

I know it’s entirely my fault, but I don’t know if my kids have ever experienced that level of boredom. With eleventy-billion (that’s a real number made up by my daughter at age 6) channels and camps and sports and friends their days are filled as soon as they wake. Don’t get me wrong, my kids are wonderful and they work really hard. They express sincere gratitude for the privileges they have. These current summer days aren’t bad or wrong. But, sometimes, thinking back to what summers used to be like, I would love for them to experience the simplicity of what we had. 

Things like: 

  1. Showing up at a friend’s house unannounced. Gasp. I know. Hop on your bike and surprise a friend! It’s unheard of these days but the only way to roll in the 80s.
  2. Drinking from a hose
  3. Building a fort                                                                                                                         
  4. Using puffy paint on EVERYTHING
  5. Bedazzling a denim jacket
  6. Recording songs off the radio to make a mixtape
  7. Climbing a fence to get on the “good” playground
  8. Playing on a playground that’s probably unsafe and would not pass inspection today (creepy doll optional)
  9. Setting off on a bike ride that’s entirely farther than you thought (with no water bottle)
  10. Making your brother “tow” you on a bike ride (nice helmets!)                                         
  11. Finding a plastic tarp and dish soap for the world’s worst slip and slide
  12. Convincing your mom to take you to the roller skating rink
  13. Playing in the sprinklers
  14. Going on vacation to see a piece of history but roll your eyes and annoy your well-intentioned parents
  15. Collecting cardboard so you could learn how to breakdance in your driveway
  16. Watching soap operas with your grandmother
  17. Decorating bedroom walls with cutouts from magazines
  18. Going on a road trip and eating sandwiches out of the back of a station wagon at a rest stop because your parents refuse to pay money for fast food options                                                                                                               
  19. Eating an entire box of Lucky Charms while your mom did a Jane Fonda workout video
  20. Recording Friday Night videos on the VCR
  21. Replaying the Friday Night videos and making up choreography 
  22. Forcing your family to watch you perform the above choreography in a complete talent showcase
  23. Getting a summer “job” by harassing your neighbors to hire you to mow their lawn or wash their car even though you are completely unqualified                                                                                                         
  24. Baking a mud pie
  25. Going to the library to read enough books to make sure to get enough stamps to earn your Pizza Hut personal pan pizza (by the way, we looked it up and they still have this program)
  26. Returning home only when street lights go on

What did you love about summers as a kid? Tell us in the comments.

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