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1980s Memories From Our Visitors

When we look back in time small things or words can jog our own memories

I remember the old days working with a typewriter

Posted By Carol

While cleaning out the attic today I came across my old Olivetti Manual Typewriter, and bought it down to show my 12 yr old daughter.

She looked at it for a few minutes and asked where is the spell checker mum ?

I explained no spell checker or even a way to go back and change a word , I then promptly started typing and although it was noisy I found the clunk clunk of the keys quite rewarding , the ribbon was all but dried up, and every so often keys would stick or I would press 2 keys together but I managed to type a letter in just a few minutes, I can remember when we first changed in our office to electric typewriters with a light touch but I carried on using my old typewriter for letters at home for quite a few years after that.

I am not sure when I last used my good old faithful manual typewriter but I think it was 15 years ago, but I can remember one of my first jobs in an office typing pool with 5 other girls all typing out letters to go out the next day and how fast some of the girls were at typing .

Is it really so long ago I MUST BE GETTING OLD , I wonder how many others remember using old fashion manual typewriters.

Comment From Anon I remember them !! they were blue , my keys always stuck and I can remember the big handle to go back to the start of the next line. Wow have things changed since I worked in an office, I must be even older as I can remember an old black typewriter I had think it was a Royal and Black and weighed a ton. I am sure if we showed kids today they would amazed at what we used before computers and word processing

My Old Commodore 64

Posted By Andy

My first home computer was an Atari, but then I decided to buy a commodore 64 , because I was hoping to learn programming, I bought the 64 because there were more games around and cheaper. Over a period of time I gathered a large collection of games, and did learn much of the programming skills that then allowed me to enter the computer industry, despite the 64's limitations compared PCs I still used the machine for games up to just a few years ago when I needed extra space and threw many of my games away but still have my old commodore 64 in my parents loft.

Pan Am Flight 103 U.S.A.

Memory Posted By: Anne' Marie

I remember baking cookies awaiting Geordie's return...he called to say that he'd missed his original flight and had to hop the next one out to come home.

(And, wasn't that just like him?!) He was a first LT in the Army and was anxious to come home and see his folks and friends. While I was making cookies for him, very excited to see him since I hadn't since August, with plans racing in my mind...totally ignoring/blocking out the news reports...

MY Geordie could not be on THAT flight!...his best friend, Rob and his wife Dawn came to me and sat me down to tell me that Geordie was not coming home...and it took me several years to accept the truth...our Geordie is gone...

Comments Ex UK Resident said... Sorry for your loss, i drove out of sherwood crescent seconds before the plane crashed. it missed me by about 70 foot

Add Your Memory

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Remembering the 1980s

The 1980's saw major changes around the world's political landscape including the rise of conservatism and the collapse of the traditional communism and an ending to the Cold War. This was also some one of the worst decades for starvation caused by famine in the third world with many crisis in countries like Ethiopia .

We also saw the mix of Politics and Sport with boycotts by both sides during the 1980 and 1984 Olympic games, and the growth of use of terrorism as a means of gaining the worlds attention by terrorists including the bombing of Panam Flight 103.

This decade also saw the creation of some of the most recognised world wide companies in IT / Computing including Microsoft and Apple as the birth and growth in the world of personal computers which today dominate the world of technology. Like all things when there are winners there are losers and companies who dominated earlier decades with the use of large mainframe computers were those who suffered most.

Challenger Disaster Memories

Posted By Anon

Today I was reading about the chinese conducting an anti-satellite weapons test

and remembered that 20 years ago when I was 16 I watched the explosion of The Space Shuttle Challenger live on Television in 1986.

We watched it during school because one of the crew was a teacher and we were working on a project about space exploration.

It was surreal as less than a minute after taking off the explosion occured and instantly we all knew all the 7 crew were dead.

The silence in class and the looks on every students face remain as strong in my memory as the explosion itself and when reading any story about space I instantly go back to that day in my life

The Challenger disaster was something that will always live in my memory. I was in the sixth grade when it happened, but I was home from school the day it happened. It was January 28, 1986, but I still remember many of the details surrounding the event more than twenty years later. My mom and I were watching The Price is Right – one of our favorite shows to watch together. They news broke in to cover the launch live. I saw the countdown and the shuttle taking off, but then something horrific happened. Something fell off of the rocket and then there was an explosion seconds later. At the time, I was too young to really understand all of the implications of the explosion. I remember seeing my mother’s jaw drop as she watched, knowing that there was no hope for the crew inside. I, on the other hand, thought maybe there was a chance the astronauts were still alive somehow, but time would inform me otherwise.

To this day, the Challenger disaster still affects me. I did a term paper about it in the tenth grade and chose the topic simply because it held a lot of intrigue for me. I found out that some of the officials at NASA tried to stop the launch because of some concerns with the equipment and cold weather. Apparently, the frigid weather hardened the O-rings on the rocket boosters which caused the seal to break. To this day, I still don’t really understand all the scientific technicalities of what this means, I just know the ultimate result that the concerns had. The most recent shuttle launch in 2006 had many similar concerns and I watched it on live television with my eyes half covered, hoping that this one would not have the same fate as the Challenger did twenty years earlier.

The 80s and the Rubik Cube UK

Posted By John

I have just looked in my office drawer and realise I still have a Rubiks Cube in my desk, I can remember when every kid had one at school and it was of those strange things that occur once in a lifetime when something comes along that can bind children and parents together playing the same thing.

It seems strange now remembering our whole family waiting for turns to solve this puzzle including mum, dad me and my younger brother.

It was fun and addictive and even if you solved it once you could try to solve it quicker the next time , I had a friend that could solve it in a couple of minutes every time but me would sometimes take days to solve it.

Getting one side or two side was easy but after that for me it got more frustrating and harder .

Well I am off for my lunch now with Rubiks Cube in hand you never know today could be the day I complete it in just one hour

My ZX Spectrum UK

Posted By Andy

While talking to a friend today about his new PC with Vista on he reminded me of the computers We all had as kids.

Between us we had a fairly mixed bunch one had a BBC , one a Commodore 64, another one had an Atari game console and I for my sins had the wonderful Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

Now I guess many who read this will never have heard of any of these most of the younger guys at work looked at me with blank faces so I better explain what it was.

It was a very Very cheaply made home computer with some of these wonderfull features

1 Not a real keyboard more like the type of keyboard found on a calculator but cheaper and worse

2 Your games loaded from an old fashioned cassette player took up to 20 minutes to load a big game and failed as often as it loaded

3 All the connections on the back were pretty crappy and if you moved any part of the computer or other bits when playing it would crash ( I used to tape mine to make better connection )

4 You would connect it to the home colour TV and the graphics were quite blocky

5 No such thing as Mice existed so games would be played using keyboard or a Joystick

6 The memory was 16K if I remember

6 If you got a printer it was that heat sensitive paper stuff that would look a dirty white colour

If you played it for to long it would overheat and crash, if you moved anything when playing a game it would crash, Before even trying to load a game on the cassette we had to clean the cassette head or it would crash half way through.

Well now I have said how bad it was I better tell you it was one of the best inventions for teenagers at the time , because it was so popular games on cassette for the Speccy ( name it was called by those who owned one ). In general the games were not as good quality as those for Commodore and Atari but the choice was staggering and the prices were cheap, some of those I can remember were Galaxian, Pac-Man, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and a number of text based adventure games.

Pound for Pound for all it's problems I reckon some of those games and my old speccy gave me the best value for my money on anything from before or since

Childrens Toys From The 1980's

Part of our Collection of Toys from The 1980's

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Price: $4.77

Some toys are ageless and this must be one of the most popular.

Pound Puppies

Pound Puppies

Pound Puppies
Manufacturer: Tonka
Price: $17.99 each

Huggable 16-in. puppy comes in carrier. Has collar, care sheet, and mail-in ownership certificate offer. Machine-washable polyester velour. Choose a puppy with long or short ears.
From Our 1987 Toys Page

Sega Genesis 1989

Sega Genesis 1989

Sega Genesis 1989
Manufacturer: Sega
Price: $189.95

In just a few short years the games computers evolved from the Atari 5200 (1980) Sega Genesis (1989) with 16-bit technology lets you play games that look play and sound exactly like the arcade. Includes base, one controller for single-player play, Altered Beast game, and hook-up accessories.

Old Fashioned Pay Phones U.S.A.

Memory Posted By: Webmaster

While sitting on a wall I heard this conversation between a dad ( 40+ and his daughter 6+ ) and found it interesting

Little Girl

What are those things on the wall ? ( pointing to Pay Phones )


They are Pay Phones

Little Girl

What is a Pay Phone?


You put quarters in the phone to make phone calls , that is what we used before we had mobile phones

Little Girl

No Mobile Phones !!!!!

Slight pause

Little Girl

How did you survive with no Mobile Phones and no Cars!


We had cars just no mobile phones

The point I found interesting is the little girls link between mobile phones and cars , just shows you how much a part of society mobile phones are for this generation

Also it reminded me of waiting in queues to use a payphone in busy city areas

A Few Worst Job Ever Memories

Memory Posted By: brickys mate Simon

The worst job I ever had was as a brickys mate straight after finishing school , it was hard work and it just happened to be bloody hot that year so I was always worn out , it was not what i thought work would be like and I must have had cuts on every part of me from the bricks and always covered in brick dust

Memory Posted By: Matthew Burton Taxi Driver

The worst job I ever had was as a brickys mate straight after finishing school , it was hard work and it just happened to be bloody hot that year so I was always worn out , it was not what i thought work would be like and I must have had cuts on every part of me from the bricks and always covered in brick dust

Memory Posted By: Steve Woolworths Shelf Stocker

Nothing worse than first job out of School stacking shelves in Woolworths

Great Music Memories and everything else U.S.A.

Memory Posted By: Sharn

I was 14 and the music was great and I still listen to many of them to this day

Lionel Richie

Van Halen

Tina Turner strutted her stuff with "What's Love Got To Do With It"

Cyndi Lauper "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"

Bruce Springsteen's Born In The USA.



Madonna inspired fluorescent clothes, belts, socks, and jelly bracelets.

Duran Duran

What a great year for music and being 14 and in love

Back To The 80s United States

Memory Posted By: Ronnie

The music, the hairdos, there is so much to remember. I was 19 in 80' so I got to experience that whole decade in my "fun" years, even though I was in the Navy. I just sit back and think how sad it is that there will never be another decade like that. I would actually dance then. Can't dance to this crap they have now. When I die, reincarnate me back to the 80s!

Pittsburg to Syracuse Looking For Work and Romance United States

Memory Posted By: Mark

In 1984, I had to move 400 miles from my hometown to Syracuse, NY. There were no jobs to be had in Pittsburgh. On November 2nd 1985, I asked a female co-worker on a date. Unbeknown to me, she had been in one bad releationship after another for 10 years and at 32, with 2 children, she decided to just be single the rest of her life. But despite that, she said yes. We went to see "Back to the Future", then to Perkins for coffee. We had absolutely nothing to talk about. It was just a gosh-awful date. Driving her back home, impatiently waiting for the light to change so I could get the night over with, I blurted out, "Would you like to go out again?" In my head I was screaming WHY DID YOU SAY THAT!. But again, she said yes. Long story longer, We have been married over 19 years. Our boys are now in their 30s, and we have 6 grandchildren

thinking back to the 80s U.S.A.

Memory Posted By: Anonymous

When I think back to the 80s, I think how much more splintered our society has become since then. Culturally, people talk alot about the 80s being the "greed" decade, but I think that is to ignore the enduring music that came from the time period. Prince, Madonna, Duran Duran, and The Police were everywhere. Music became as much about an act's look as their sound thanks to the dawn of the music video era. In my mind, the music is perhaps the ONLY good thing that came from the 1980s. It was a painful time to be a teenager, because everywhere you looked or listened were reminders of where you were on the socio-economic ladder. It was a social feeding frenzy unlike any other, and consequences for the have-nots were dire. What you didn't lose in money, you stood to lose in your own soul. "Heathers" might as well have been a documentary.

This was arguably the last decade that television bonded us all together. Before the Internet age, most people had a working knowledge of the same television shows and could have conversations about them, across age and geographic lines. Now, it seems as though every other conversation relates to who is or is not a pedophile or how much people hate Bush. A lot of cultural references are lost on those of us who have spent most of the last decade on a computer rather than channel-surfing.

80s music happened, in my opinion, from a combination of emerging technologies and artists with real talent that got sidetracked by the beat of the disco era who finally found their legs. As with styles before it, it took a British invasion to spur it on. I credit The Police and Sniff 'n' The Tears with taking the reins and sounding disco's death knell. There's strong argument for Blondie as well. Can't forget the emergence of 80s heavy metal bands, either.

My image of 80s music is as follows: I'm 17 years old, sitting home alone on a Saturday night in December with the radio on. I have a massive crush on a girl at school who doesn't seem to know I exist, and one of the things I know about her is that she likes Journey. "Send Her My Love" comes on the radio, and I imagine making love to her while listening to it. Reality sets in, and I realize how nothing will ever come of it. The Motels' "Only the Lonely" comes on the radio, and reminds me that I'm not the only one in the world who feels the way I do.

Challenger Disaster Memories

Memory Posted By: Julie

It was 1986, and I was sitting in my sixth grade classroom. Our teacher had pulled out the television and VCR stand and showed us the breaking news of the crash of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

One of the persons aboard that ship was a teacher at Concord High School named Christa McAuliffe (full name Sharon Christa Corrigan McAuliffe. She would have been the first teacher to arrive in space.

I did not live at the school where this teacher taught. However, was a child in America who loved my country (and still do) with a large amount childhood naivety.

In fact, I still feel the way I did about America as I did when I was a child, despite its imperfections. This is my home.

Anything that happened in America while I was a child also happened to me. I am not sure why I felt that way. Perhaps it was because at the time I had a great teacher (Mrs. Miller) who made us aware of what was happening in the world at that time.

It could have been another reason as well. Perhaps when Mrs. Miller spoke of Mrs. McAuliffe’s death I subconsciously thought…what if it would have been Mrs. Miller (my teacher)?

How the Challenger Crash Affected Me

I remember thinking about how brave that Kristen McAuliffe was. She was the first teacher to ever fly to space. If I would have had the opportunity I would have wanted to fly to space too.

Looking back now, I wished that she would have been alive to come back and tell her students about it. I wish that even though she was not my teacher, because I imagine she was most likely as good as most of my teachers were growing up.

Her students would have been so proud. They would have been in awe hearing about the entire experience. Unfortunately, no one will really ever know what her experience was specifically.

They will never know what the experience was of the seven others who had stepped aboard the Challenger before its first attempt at takeoff, either. We could all only imagine what they would have came back and reported to the classroom.

Memory Posted By: Jane

I was twelve and living in Chicago and at school that day. The whole school was watching the launch on TV, we had more children than TV's to watch but we all squeezed into classrooms where there was a TV.

Leading up to the launch the whole class counted down to the launch (10-9-8-7-6-...). and we all sat in awe as we watched it climb and climb. Then the challenger just exploded in front of us and a complete hush came over the room, and as i looked at all my friends all our mouths were open just staring at the TV. We had been studying everything about the space shuttle including all the names of the crew so it was even harder to take in as we knew so much about them and the mission. Even after 20 years I can still remember the pain from it.

The 80's was it only 30 years ago U.S.A.

Memory Posted By: Carl

While reading through the pages on the 80's I was thinking it can't be only 20 years ago that I bought records as singles or LP's and "ET" and "Return of the Jedi" were considered to be latest state of the art movies, When we listened to "Blondie" and "The Cars" and if "THE POLICE" were playing on the radio and we all knew it was the group . if you had a commodore 64 you were running the latest games and loading them through a cassette player, and everyone was arguing over which was best VHS or Betamax. Fax machines took 2 guys to lift and get it working and if you saw somebody with a mobile phone ( which weighed a ton ) they were more than likely very rich and important. I can still rememeber the first PC going into our office to be shared by all of us with a big floppy disk to get it going and a green screen with the very helpfull > as your prompt

Is it only 30 years just seems like yesterday

Growing up in the 80s U.S.A.

Memory Posted By: Carli

I was 10 in 1982 so I grew up from a girl to a woman in the 80's , I got my first radio , would go roller skating evry friday night with music from Madonna, Tina Turner Boy George, Billy Idol, Tears for Fears..and the Eurythmics and Pretty in Pink. We all used to pile in the back of a pick up truck and go to drive in movies to watch Ghostbusters, A Fish Called Wanda or a Disney Movie, and some of friends even had MTV ( that was when it was good ), the boys all loved the music from Talking Heads, The Police and Men Without Hats. And even the TV was better with programmes like Cosby Show Dukes Of Hazzard and Miami Vice and we had a Betamax video recorder to record TV ( and it was easier to use than those today And I can always remember getting my first Boom Box it was lavender , I loved the big earings my puffball skirt and the clothes !! what a great time to be a teenager

Charles and Diana Marriage

Memory Posted By: Ann

My family and I a total of 12 travelled from Brighton to London the day before and took our sleeping bags and staked our place on the Mall. The atmosphere was amazing.

Apart from the wedding procession on the day, perhaps the best memory was thousands of very happy people having a big party the night before with not one bit of trouble any where and all dancing in the centre of the Mall at about 3am - all complete strangers but all in very party mood . The next day after waiting so long we did catch a glimpse of Dianna as she travelled down the mall

Memory Posted By: Carol

I was 14 and remember the day well. I got up very early at about 3:00 AM to watch it on television like millions of other people.

It was just like fairytales or romantic novels with the beautifull princess marrying the handsome prince.

I remember how happy pretty, and radiant Diana looked To me it really looked like the fairytales we read as children, where the beautiful Lady meets her Prince charming and they live happily ever after... Only theirs did not.

Later during the day, everywhere I went, People were talking about it and it was clear that I wasn't the only person who had been up so early!

Memory Posted By: kpcrispie

29th July 1981. How could I forget this special day? It was a thursday, a public holiday, we all got a day off from work.

Why? because of the Royal wedding, of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. It was also a special day for me too, It was my 21st birthday. I couldn't believe that they had chosen my birthday to get married on, it made my day unforgetable.

Growing up in the 80's in Chicago U.S.A.

Memory Posted By: Jenna

I grew up outside Chicago, where the suburbs meet the farms. My parents moved from Boston to Illinois the year they adopted me. Interracial and international adoption was pretty unusual in the 1980s in the Midwest, so it sometimes devolved into spectacle and odd questions from strangers. The only other kids at my school who weren't white were other adopted kids. This lasted until the mid 80s. I always had a slight feeling of being an outsider, but when I met people who were culturally Asian, we found we did not have as much in common. I didn't know much about Asian culture or families (although my parents tried). Secretly, I liked to see the confusion on people's faces when they were trying to figure out what I was all about. I never suffered outright discrimination or racism, but nowadays people are more educated and aware about multiracial families and all the different ways to make a family.

Teaching My curse and my Comfort USA

Memory Posted By: Name Withheld

I remember the first day I joined the teaching profession and how enthusiastic I was.

Teaching My curse and my Comfort.

I am a public school teacher who has been teaching for 20 years, the children have changed and attitudes have changed to teachers , but I love the challenge of teaching kids and the satisfaction I gain when they learn but the rude behaviour which has become much worse since I started can hurt .

The administration for teaching has become more and the pettiness of my colleagues seems to be getting worse but when I spend time with a newly qualified teacher and see the enthusiasm they have I realise maybe I am becoming jaded, I still have 8 years to go for retirement but wonder what I will do with all my free time when I do not need to mark and grade papers or working on next weeks lesson plans.

I do not like the way teaching has changed where it used to be fun because it allowed us to be creative and unique on how we taught. Now the most important task we have is to teach so students can pass this test or that test.

I still love my job, and the challenges and the rewards and would advise anybody to still enter the profession but think maybe 20 years is enough before you it stops being rewarding.

Our Changing World and Childhood in the 80's U.S.A.

Memory Posted By: Jeremy

I was at work and we were talking about the idea of global warming and how some people believe that it doesn't exist.

Then we look at the past years and compare how our winters were. Then from there, it leads into a memory of when I was a child, living at home with my parents and two sisters.

The vivid memories of the winters that we would have. Feet of snow, feet of it.

It was unreal the amount of it that we would get. The tunnels we would dig. the "face washes" that were given or the forts that we would build. Then there were the rides that our dad would take us on with the snowmobile--pulling us in the wagon behind it.

Not exactly something that we could even dream of doing now days, but oh it was fun. LOL! The enjoyment that we would get because we would not have to go to school cause of the massive quantity of snow that had fallen the night before as adults we don't get that luxury anymore.

Suggestion for kids......treasure those times, cause they are here and then gone in no time. Parents.....allow your kids to be kids as for those are the times that you can never return to except in times and avenues like this.

8 tracks from the 80s U.S.A.

Memory Posted By: J.A.B.'s Freelance World

I was just old enough to remember 8-tracks and records. However, I mostly grew up listening to cassette tapes. I only have a few of my tapes right now. I wish I would have kept some of them. I wish I would have kept some of the records I had when I was a child, too. Oh well. I do know that one of my aunts had a fine 8-Track collection that included one from the BeeGees. Oh those were the days-a little before my time but I am still old enough to appreciate them! Julie, J.A.B.'s Freelance World-A Whole New World of Writing

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles U.S.A.

Memory Posted By: Anthony

It’s been a couple of decades or so since the glory days of the 1980s and the lunchbox, mass marketed commercialism of Saturday Morning Cartoons. I remember it as fondly as any child of that almost forgotten era. Thankfully, it’s impossible to stretch more than 20 years away from any given pop culture bookmark without bounding back to it and re-igniting fervor for something that supposedly died off half a generation ago. With that resurgence, I’m forced to remember back to the glory days of my childhood and the power of certain commercially viable franchises over me and my parents’ almighty dollar (hint: they had a lot of power).

The foremost and longest lasting of those was that of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I don’t remember when the Turtles first showed up. I’m sure it was before I was old enough to watch TV, but as early as I can remember, they were there, all four of them, named after artists I wouldn’t care to learn about for at least another 10 years. I watched them fervently, detailing their exploits in the sewers of Manhattan. The kitsch of it all was lost on me; I was aware of no tongue in cheek. The Turtles were genuinely awesome in my book and everything about them was important to me and my childhood, for at least five years.

My earliest memory of such intense idolatry of the Ninja Turtles was when I was six years old and my mother made for me and my brother full sized Ninja Turtles costumes, zipped up in the back, our heads poking out of beneath the ample noses. I could barely walk in that thing, waddling around the block on Halloween begging for candy. To this day, that Halloween sticks out in my memory as the biggest and most productive of any I ever had.

It was apparently the year of the turtle, because parents everywhere were fawning over the hand crafted mastery my mother had managed of cartoon characters their children were in love with. I loved that costume though, and an hour later, I found myself standing on stage at my elementary school with a plastic trophy and the applause of my peers as I took home best costume at the haunted house that year. It wasn’t the start of it, but those costumes sure sparked the eventual explosion of paraphernalia that would cover every single inch of my bedroom by the time I was ten years old. I remember the day after Halloween I started writing my Christmas list, and it could just as easily have been a photocopy of a Ninja turtles comic book, because there was no single thing on that list that did not include some combination of mutant turtles, ninja rats, or vehicles with ninja turtles and a mutant rat. I loved that show and made sure everyone who ever considered buying me gifts knew it. The following year came my birthday, and while the Christmas tree was a cesspool of abnormal amphibians, the rest of the house was still a cheery, red and green salute to all things winter and holiday related. My birthday however was a time for me to demand the most outlandish, ridiculous concoctions I could dream up, because at the age of 7, parents have a habit of indulging those numerous quandaries with relish, almost enjoying them more than the child.

So it was that my seventh birthday turned into an explosion of green, nearly everything we owned covered in something resembling a turtle or the shell of a turtle, or just plain green of a turtle. My birthday cake was a giant turtle, my party favors were all turtles, and I even took to calling everyone who arrived a different character from the turtles show. I woke up at seven in the morning that fine June morning and watched anxiously as every corner of our house was turned into a giant sewer (the good, turtle infested kind) and guests started arriving and marveling at how cool I was.

I cannot remember a single person who showed up that day. I have two pictures, one of my mother and grandmother making the cake and one of me eating it, and every seven year old face in those photos is as foreign to me as the point of that show was then. I received a sketch book for that birthday and immediately filled it with a dozen drawings of ninja turtles and my presents. I received a squirt gun from a neighbor, a really nice one, the kind kids go nuts for especially in late June, but I tossed it aside and started playing with my brand new parachuting action Donatello toy.

It’s not that I wish I could remember my friends better or that I regret spending so much time and energy on a ridiculous children’s cartoon. I just wish I’d spent more time observing the rest of the world. My childhood consists mainly of cartoon shows and movies I watched 43 times. At least I finally get the joke that is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

My First Dirt Bike U.S.A.

Memory Posted By: Anthony

My father was a lot of things to me over the years. The ambiguity of that statement can be taken for whatever its worth, good or bad, but I try my hardest to retain a certain reflective approach to the relationship we had over the years, if for nothing else but to make sure I don’t cast him out of my life as it would be entirely too easy to do.

But this isn’t about how bad or non-existent of a father he was, it’s about the few varied things I learned from him and how important they still are to me today, as reminders of certain times in life when I wasn’t quite so cynical and was still willing to try dangerous new things (however reluctantly).

Most young boys thrive on the chance to strap themselves to something fast and dangerous and see what happens. My brother was one of those kids, constantly throwing himself headlong into the dumbest possible situations to see just how far he could go before he broke something. As the elder of the two, I was privy to getting a jump start on all of these dangerous endeavors and sharing my experiences with him.

Unfortunately, I was not so excited to put myself in danger as my brother, nor for that matter my father. For his part, my father was something of a risk taker himself. He’d grown up around heavy machinery, his father an electrician and a well driller, his own finger missing at the knuckle from a mishap in his youth. He is an auto mechanic and has been one for most of his adult life. However, at the time in which I was deemed old enough to risk my body on a regular basis, he was drilling wells himself in a small town about two hours south of Seattle.

He grew up however and won trophies in the sport of dirt bike riding and even though a particularly painful crash that had seen his back crushed and nearly broken in one race, he still rode and built bikes as a hobby and eventually enlisted his sons into the fold.

As the eldest, I was first on deck, and the particular memory I’m channeling places me in the midst of a muddy field, in the middle of July. It had been raining for at least a week and postponing our first ever riding trip. We’d gone with my best friend at the time’s father, someone else my dad had roped into the hobby, and my best friend, a confidant in the art of silence and relaxed geekdom. Standing there, as my father handed me piece after piece of motorcycle protective gear, the pile of pads, cages, and helmet my mother had so fervently contributed to the endeavor, I remember thinking to myself, “how long exactly is this going to take?”

Rather than complain though, I put the gear on, all of it at least two sizes too big, negating a good portion of its purpose. However, with that gear firmly in place, I was able to approach the bike sitting in front of me with some measure of confidence, sure at least that I wouldn’t die in my first outing, if only because if I fell, I would probably roll down the rest of the hill.

Without a single inch of me unprotected, and almost two inches of heel on boots that weighed as much as the bike on which I was trying to sit, I kicked the machine into gear. It didn’t turn at first, and with the negated panic that tends to build in the mind of an eight year old who is about to do something he really doesn’t want to do, I jumped off, finally willing myself to back away and protest the danger of my endeavor.

My father scowled at me and gruffly adjusted the choke, letting more gas into the engine and starting the bike once to test it. The bike itself, a bright yellow, freshly cleaned (again, courtesy of my mother) Yamaha YZ 80 was twice as intimidating with the smoke pouring from its exhaust. I couldn’t help but quiver in fear.

However, for any men reading this, it’s common knowledge that such cowardly display in the presence of three other males who you respect is the quickest way to become a pariah for life, always the one who wouldn’t ride the bike. So, I forced a bit of strength into my weighted ankles and trudged through the mud back to the now running bike, barking and spitting eagerly, waiting for me to hop on and let her go.

Awkwardly I fingered the clutch and toed the gear shift. My father had gone over the mechanics repeatedly the night before and I had committed to memory all the working parts of the machine, in hopes that an extra bit of knowledge might prevent the inevitable fiery death which I foresaw every time I laid eyes upon the cozy little Yamaha.

And so I slipped the clutch, hit the throttle, and shifted into first gear. Lurching free of the mud shackles and taking to the field with revelry. Only after I landed face first in a particularly delicious pit of mud did I realize that the bike had only moved a couple of feet and that the rest of my motion was directly related to my flying over the handle bars.

The rest of the day was spent making fun of my cowardly approach and dimwitted release of the bars as I flew forward. No one mentioned that I eventually got the bike in gear and road the course as well as my friend if not better. No, it was the fall, and for the next three years, every outing we took with that smarmy yellow Yamaha was filled with mentions of my fall. I never really got that good on the bike. I was a little to timid for that kind of attention, but I wasn’t an eight year old in the mud. However, if you were to ask my father about me and dirt bike riding, the first story he’d tell you starts with, “he sure liked the taste of mud”.