If you ask me, growing up in the 80s was the absolute best time to be a teenager. The music was incredible (thank you Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, Madonna…). The styles were fun and the John Hughes movies encapsulated exactly what we were feeling. Molly Ringwald is a Northern California girl, by the way.
There’s a lot of things around here that have changed since then. How about we shine a spotlight on a few things you’ll remember if you grew up in the 80s in Northern California.
iPhone 6 meet your great-grandpa. If you grew up in the 80s around here, this is the phone you probably learned on first. If you were really cool you had a push button corded phone. But, only if you were really, really cool.
Gemco was one of the first membership-only based department stores of its time. Owned by Lucky Stores, it closed its doors in 1986. But, not until we'd whet our appetite for the "exclusive" big box experience. Costco has you to thank, Gemco!
3. Admit it. You owned these.
If our grown up kids had any idea how insane buying a Cabbage Patch doll was back then we'd be ashamed. People were nuts when it came to their 80s toys. Anyone remember Strawberry Shortcake or Stretch Armstrong? What about Matchbox cars? Or, Kerplunk?
4. Fotomat Booth
This dilapidated one-person building lived its heyday in the 80s. Before digital cameras and iPhones, this is where we'd drop off our film for development. This meant all photos we took were seen first by this guy. All. Photos.
5. Movie Theater
Want to catch a movie? You would probably be going to a small theater like this one in San Lorenzo. There was no IMAX or reclined seating. And, we had to walk two miles there and back to see one.
6. Montgomery Ward
The WalMart of our day. This is where your dad dragged you on a Saturday if your dryer wasn't working or you needed a new lawnmower. There was nothing fun about this place when you were a kid.
7. Record Player
This, children, was our iTunes. Scratch it and you had to weight down the arm. Don't dance around too much or you'll make the song skip. Break a needle and the fun was over. I still have my first Journey album.
8. Going on a date?
In the 80s you'd probably be heading here. A double feature with a scratchy speaker of audio hell made this more memorable. There are not as many of these around now. Makes these times even more special. What movie did you see at the drive-in?
9. Sony Walkman
This was the way to roll. Pop in a cassette tape and put the foam covered headset over your ears. Nothing screamed cool like a Sony Walkman clipped to your pants. Van Halen never sounded better.
10. Trans Am
The cars of our day were off the charts amazing. Northern California had lots of these beauties rolling around town. Our weather accommodated split-tops and convertibles. How about the Mustang or the Camaro? Cruising the strip in one of these was where it was at.
If your family was "rich" you had one of these. Pre-PacMan, this ancient video game couldn't have been more basic...and we LOVED it!
Playing outside was actually a thing back then. We rode bicycles that looked a lot like this one. If you were lucky you had a banana seat. If you were unlucky your father attached two wire baskets on each side to ride to the grocery store for the family. I digress.
How many of these were a part of your 80s in Northern California? Name some other iconic things we had around these parts. We want to know!