P-Mag Nostalgia Project: 1985

In 1985, I was twelve. I had short feathered hair, wore my jeans rolled and wore flourescent jelly bracelets like it was my job. That year I wore teddy bear sweatshirts, pined for Guess! jeans, and I truly believed that “Life is not a spectator sport” (thanks, Reebok). Sixth grade was a good year for me. In my Catholic school, sixth grade was when the girls were allowed to wear a plaid uniform skirt instead of a plaid uniform jumper. Kids had their eyes on Sony Walkmans, Esprit tote bags,  and especially in my northwest Indiana town, Nike Air Jordans. If it sounds like there was a lot of time spent lusting after material goods, well, from what I can remember, there was. We spent Saturdays at the local mall (by sixth grade my parents would drop off us and pick us up later), and went to the $1.00 movie theater on a regular basis. We taped our favorite songs off of the radio and transitioned from sticker books to collecting novelty buttons. Man. 1985 was a good year.

In 1985, I spent a week at Girl Scout resident camp in Michigan, and was at just the right age to idolize the college age camp counselors. They enjoyed working with the middle school age group because we were all about listening to “their” music at the time. I have very specific memories of hanging out at the water front that summer. Here are the two songs that were always on the soundtrack:

I had SUCH at thing for Corey Hart in the mid-eighties.

We are all about the summer of ’69 during the summer of 1985. By 1985, Whitney Houston, Prince, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Wham!, and Huey Lewis and the News were all in their heyday. Don’t believe me? Check out 1985 in Music or the Top 100 of 1985. I’m pretty sure I can still sing along to every single song.

We spent a lot of time at the movies for two reasons: a) there were AMAZING, fairly-ok-for-kids movies out and b) most of my friends didn’t have a VCR yet (my parents were debating between VHS and Beta). The summer 0f 1985 found every kid cheering for Marty McFly in Back to the Future and the kids in Goonies. We loved that Clue was a movie, and probably shouldn’t have see Spies Like Us, but we did. Kids slightly older than myself were in love with the Brat Pack, and 1985 saw The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire.

I also remember watching television nearly every night, and when you look at the shows that were on in prime time, it’s easy to see why:

[fancy_list style=”star_list” variation=”yellow”]

  • Punky Brewster
  • Silver Spoons
  • Who’s the Boss?
  • Growing Pains
  • Perfect Strangers
  • The A-Team
  • Highway to Heaven
  • St. Elsewhere
  • Knight Rider
  • Dallas
  • Miami Vice
  • Gimme a Break!
  • The Facts of Life
  • The Golden Girls
  • The Love Boat
  • Remington Steele


It was truly good television for an emerging teenager, don’t you think?

As far as what was happening around the world, Ronnie was still our president, and the Soviet Union was still a super power. There was a war on drugs, and the arms race was still happening.

Are you feeling some yearning for 1985? I leave you with Bowling for Soup’s take on it.

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