10 Awesome '80s Things My Son Will Never Experience

mix tapeThe imminent demise of the Twinkie had a surprisingly profound effect on me. I've never had an outrageous sweet tooth, but I used to love those cream-filled tubular cakes as a child.

I remember using part of my allowance to buy an iconic twin pack on weekends. So the idea that the Twinkie would go the way of the record player and VHS tape saddened me a bit. It made me think of all the things that I loved growing up that my son would never experience. Of course it's incredibly cool being a kid these days -- the tech gadgets make my once-beloved Speak & Spell look like a dinosaur relic. But I still say our post-millennial kids are missing out on so much. Take a look at this awesome '80s childhood memorabilia:

  1. Rushing home to check messages. I remember my heart racing as I hurried home to check the answering machine, hoping there was a message from some boy I liked. There was something wonderful about that kind of anticipation, which just doesn't exist anymore. A lot of families don't even have land lines these days. Besides, communication is all about texting, not talking.
  2. ABC afterschool specials. This was always such a treat. Your favorite sitcom stars would pop up in these cheesy yet poignant dramas. They dealt with issues kids could relate to: peer pressure, shyness, dating, and not in some crazy, exploitative way. Sadly, these days, kids would yawn at those plots. It sounds cliche, but they lose their innocence way too early now.
  3. Garbage Pail Kids. Mothers hated these cards. They thought they were rude, tacky, and gross, which made us like them that much more. We used to trade them at recess in sixth grade. Now 11-year-olds are swapping playlists and pics on their smartphones.
  4. Mix tapes. I know you can still make mixes on a CD, but it's so different. It took a great deal of time and precision to put together a kick-ass mix tape. And when you did, it really meant something.
  5. Letters and notes. I still have the first notes my husband wrote to me when we were dating in college. Not only are they sweet to look back on once in awhile, they are also good for a few laughs. He was very fond of quoting Jerry Maguire when expressing just how much I meant to him (LOL). Who can save a text for 15 years?
  6. Libraries. Yes, they still exist but kids just don't use them like they used to. When I was young, my mother and I would hit the library every Saturday morning and check out a stack of books to read. There was something so fun about perusing the stacks and picking out good reads (and back then a good read was of the Sweet Valley High variety). Now, my son asks me to just buy a book on the iPad where turning a page has been replaced by a finger swipe.
  7. Drive-ins. This was just an incredibly cool way to take in a flick. When I was little, my parents loaded the car with snacks and blankets and we would catch some cute family film. It was so comfy that I always fell asleep before it was over. Still, it was so much more memorable than going to the 17-screen multiplex.
  8. Break dancing. It used to be showing off your dance moves at school or at a house party doing the snake, moonwalk, or worm. Now you have to be able to match Channing Tatum (a la Step Up) move for move to impress. Yikes!
  9. Funny papers. The weekend edition of the local newspaper always came with a color-comic section. I would scan for my favorites first -- Family Circus and The Peanuts. I don't know if digital versions of the newspapers even have comics. Even so, it's not the same. 
  10. Saturday morning cartoons. Back in the day, cartoons only came on once a week. Saturday morning TV was all about kids. The Smurfs, The Flintstones, and Scooby Doo were such a big treat. When I went to bed Friday night, I was so excited about the hours of cartoons that lay ahead the next day. Now, with 24-hour networks like Nick, Jr. and Disney, my son expects a cartoon to be on any time he wants to see one.

More from The Stir: 5 '80s Looks to Love & 5 More We’d Love to Forget (PHOTOS)

What other things are kids missing out on these days?


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