Travel with me, if you will, to 1982. Those were days of big hair, bright clothes, and the Sony Walkman. 40 years ago June, I graduated from high school. I attended the 10, 20, and 30 year reunions but I’m sitting out the 40th, if it even happens.
- Ronald Reagan was president and announced the war on drugs. Nancy Reagan introduced “Just Say No.”
- We were rocking out to hair bands. Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” was the number one song of the year. My favorite songs that year were “Don’t You Want Me, Baby?” by Australia and “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell.
- The number of female admissions to universities had recently outnumbered males and in 1982 women earned more bachelor’s degrees than men for the first time.
- There was still corporal punishment allowed. At my high school, students who had used up their first two warnings could choose between a hack with the paddle (with holes drilled in it) or an hour picking up cigarette butts in the smoker’s section. Yes, there was a smoking section.
- The movie E.T. was out that summer, and I worked at the one theater in the city that was showing it. It was unbelievable. Every show sold out, day after day. The lobby was packed with people waiting in the concession lines. This was an old theater that had originally been an actor’s theater. There was a huge balcony and a long-dormant mezzanine level mini-concession stand was brought back to life.
- Disney’s EPCOT Center opened.
- The Commodore 64 became the first popular home computer.
- Gas was $0,95 per gallon.
- Cats opened on Broadway.
- The DeLorean was in production and on the market.
- Cheers and Family Ties debuted on TV. The top show of the year was Dallas.
- Radio stations were not yet all owned by the same company. In my little neck of the wood, it took about three weeks for us to begin hearing nationally popular songs. There were also regionally popular songs on the radio.
- “Trivial Pursuit” was introduced and became a favorite past time of my friends and me.
- Books published in 1982 included “Space” by James Michener and “The Indian in the Cupboard” by Lynne Reid Banks.
Here we are, 40 years later. I remember hearing about how the rate of change was going to continuously increase in speed. Comparing what life was like in my late teens as compared to now, 2022, in my late 50’s, is amazing. When I was in high school, if you’d told me many people would cancel home phone lines, carry a computer in their pockets, and drive cars with rearview cameras, I would’ve scoffed. Having a car that parallel parks itself, though, sure would’ve come in handy when I took my driver’s test in February of ’82.