The World of Cassette Tapes, Cabbage Patch Kids and Crack Vials: I’m an 80’s Baby!

I grew up differently than today’s kids.  We were latch key kids.  My older sister used to get off the school bus and walk to my school.  She would get on an elevator-go to the top floor and pick me up.  We’d head down the elevator together hand in hand and walk home. Sometimes we would stop and play with the colorfully capped vials that were spewed across the empty lots between my school and our apartment.  She would let us into our first floor apartment with a key she wore around her neck dangling from a shoe string. She would make us an afternoon snack and we would play until our mother came home from work.
We never opened the door for any passerby that happened to stop by to see if our mother was home. We were instructed to never open the door for anyone not even our mother.
We stuck to this rule.
We happily played together, drew pictures together or played with our hair barrettes that became colorful dolls through our lively imaginations.  This was our routine.
My sister was six.
I was three.
As a stepmom, an aunt, an educator and an overall happier person when interacting with young children; I have discovered that gone are the days where we would deem it socially appropriate to have a six year old responsible for the pick up and babysitting of a younger sibling.

I must admit, I even do a double take if I see a child as old as twelve walking home alone with a bike or basketball clutched securely under one’s arm. I immediately think: Where’s that kid’s parents? Then I have to stop myself.

Wait, it’s still fairly light outside and the child’s safely trotting on a sidewalk and they’re not a toddler or infant. I need to remind myself that when I was that age in the 90’s I was helping to cook dinner, do laundry and clean the house (begrudgingly, but the expectation was there).  I realize that in today’s times there are so many different things children of today don’t do that I did.  However, I would be at a fault if I didn’t mention all the things children of today experience that I never had to deal with as a child.

My elementary school teachers taught me year after year how to “Stop! Drop! And Roll!”.  They instructed me to never talk to strangers, never take candy from someone I didn’t know or even the importance of knowing my home phone number (anyone still have landlines at home anymore?).

Fast forward less than 30 years later. As a teacher, I had to teach my second grade students the importance of staying silent during a school lock down. Children as young as kindergarten have been trained on what to do in order to stay alive in what used to be the safest place a child could be.

As I type this my heart swells with sadness as I think of the innocence lost on an entire generation of children that are trained from the beginning of the school year on how to make themselves as small and quiet as possible in order to avoid death.

Please share your thoughts.

God bless us all.

R  E  S  O  U  R  C  E  S

List of School Shootings in 2019

How School Shootings Have Changed the Teaching Profession

Talking to Kids About School Shootings


One thought on “The World of Cassette Tapes, Cabbage Patch Kids and Crack Vials: I’m an 80’s Baby!

  1. Flashing back to many years ago, I too can remember carefree adventures as a youngster. More importantly, the baby sitting, related to me being the oldest of my siblings. Also, venturing off to discover the city, but never forgetting, that it’s crucial I arrive home before dark. Flash forwarding into today’s world makes me see how different things have become. For instance, the use of cellphones. I did all of what I did as a kid, without the safety of a cellphone. My parents had no means of contacting me. Today, that idea alone would be very scary as a parent. I also make a conscious effort to know where, what and why, when it comes to my teenage son. God bless the 80’s and 90’s!


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