Those Totally Awesome 1980s

While working on a Christmas novel taking place in the 1980s, I’ve had fun delving into the era of my high school years. It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but a lot has changed since then. I have many fond memories of the decade – the music, the fashions, the TV shows I regularly watched, and hanging out at shopping malls or going to the movies with my friends.


My sister, mom and me in about 1982. Note the state-of-the-art Polaroid camera.

In a time before cell phones, your only way of reaching someone when you were out was to find a pay phone, and when you got together with people you actually had to talk to them! The internet was beyond our imaginations; research required a trip to the library (using the card catalog to find books). I remember when automatic banking machines came out. I couldn’t believe it was possible to walk up to a machine on the corner and take out money! I saved my money to buy vinyl records and transferred them to cassettes for listening on the go with my Walkman. Rather than use up the batteries rewinding the cassettes, I’d slip a pen into one of the spools and spin the cassette around until it was rewound.

My favourite shows: Simon & Simon, Magnum PI, MacGyver, Greatest American Hero, The Dukes of Hazzard, Love Boat, Family Ties, Facts of Life, The Cosby Show … and too many others to list.

Moves: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Back to the Future, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Tootsie, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ghostbusters

Music: Duran Duran, Crowded House, Glass Tiger, Adam Ant, Tears for Fears, Huey Lewis and the News, The Police, Michael Jackson, Wham, Prince, Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel, Robert Palmer … and so many more.

Fashion: jean jacket with batwing sleeves, long blouses and sweaters worn over stirrup pants, acid-wash jeans (and a purse to match), boat shoes, chunky earrings, V-belts, and of course my hair in an enormous perm!

Do you have any special memories of the 1980s?


About susanrhughes

Susan R. Hughes is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and historical romance. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and three children.
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15 Responses to Those Totally Awesome 1980s

  1. Joan Reeves says:

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Several of your favorites were mine too. I had a pair of acid-wash jeans that I hung onto for years because I loved them so much. I kept thinking they would come back into style. Sadly, they never did so I finally tossed them.

    Btw, you and your sister were super cute!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. bellastreet says:

    Ah, yes, the 80s! Remember A. Smile overalls? Back then I got to see the Stray Cats, Lover Boy, Quarterflash, INXS and others in concert. And yep, no computers. I remember the first Texas Instruments calculator that cost like $100. We spent hours trying to see if it would get a wrong answer. LOL The 80s were AWESOME!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. E. Ayers says:

    Actually in 1981, my husband brought home a computer for the house. It cost a fortune. He was one of the developers of what we now call email and we now think nothing of sending files via the web. Oh can I tell some funny stories about those programming days!

    But with teens in the house, the music blasted almost non-stop. And who doesn’t remember spinning a cassette on a Bic pen to rewind it? And posters, OMG the posters and sticker collections – my younger daughter’s sticker collection is still in an album upstairs, but I doubt any of the oldest daughter’s Julian Lennon stuff has survived. Braces with headgear? And the hair styles… Oh what days they were. LOL

    Fun memory lane trip. Adorable pic that says 1980’s!

    Liked by 1 person

    • susanrhughes says:

      I had braces for five years as a teen. A couple of years ago my dentist asked me if I would consider getting braces. I guess the teeth eventually shift back to where they were originally! Nowadays it’s far too expensive anyhow.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Carol says:

    Great photo, Susan. I think you favor your mom. The eighties were the most fun ever. Everyone had a pair of acid-wash jeans. I kept mine forever too. Loved them. My favorite was stirrup pants and a long top. I had every color imaginable. Wish they’d make a come-back. I’m 5’2″ and loved that they made my legs look longer. LOL


  5. Tori Scott says:

    I was raising kids by the 80’s, but I remember some of that stuff because my oldest daughter was into a lot of it. We also had a computer by 1986-1987 that my dad built, and then a TRS 80 with Prodigy soon after that. My son designed some simple video games for it (he was 10, and now is in management at Google). Oh, and you remember those first recorded voice messages on the phone? My dad designed those.

    I remember my first cell phone. 1989. Carried it around in a bag that weighed probably 10 pounds, and had a shoulder strap. Yep, the 80’s were something.


    • susanrhughes says:

      I forgot to write about VCRs! We had a beta machine. It was an event to go to the video store and rent a couple of movies for the evening.


  6. leighmorgan1 says:

    Oh, man, Susan….love Peter Gabriel, Duran Duran, Robert Palmer…now I’ve got, “Addicted to Love” floating through my brain. My kids love 80’s music and they laugh at my photos with my Aqua Net ‘mall hair’. Hope the hair doesn’t come back, but the acid-wash jeans…Oh Yeah, Baby!


  7. Jill James says:

    The only thing I didn’t like about the 80s was the death of disco. Man, I loved disco. The bands, the music, lyrics I could remember and sing along to. LOL When music changed just after I graduated (1981) I did like Tears for Fears, Mike and the Mechanics, and Huey Lewis and the News.


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