Blast From The Past #1

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A trip back to the 1980s

I’m taking a fun trip down memory lane today back to the 1980s!  I was a kid during this fun decade and thought I’d share one of my favorite memories of those days.  You see, back in the 80s, we didn’t have cell phones, social media, or internet access. If we wanted to have fun, we’d either go outside for hours upon end, or we’d make up fun games in the house.

Growing up in the 1980s was interesting.  I grew up in rural northwest Georgia.  There was a whole bunch of NOTHING to do in that small town – especially for a kid.  The summers were scortching hot and staying outside for hours upon end was out of the question. Luckily, we had a lot of shade in our yard so we were able to combat a lot of the sun during hot parts of the day. If we wanted to have any fun, we’d either have to beg to go to the playground, or we’d have to be creative.  Most of the time, we chose to be creative.

My brother and I were always creating our own fun. From soap on the trampoline to riding our bikes down our driveway, jumping off, and falling into our neighbors ditch (yes, we really did that!), we made living in a small town fun in our own way.

When the weather was bad, we found ways indoors to have fun. We did have the original NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), but half the time that thing didn’t work, which meant we were coming up with super fun thing to do around the house.

My Closet Radio Station


My younger brother and I decided one day that we were going to create our own radio stations using our small cassette recorders we had gotten for Christmas. When I look back at this idea, I realize now how super creative we were for kids. I had 2 small closets in my room with just enough space for me to make it into a studio. I cleaned out everything in the bottom of one of them (because what little boy’s closet ISN’T ever messy??) and moved all of my gadgets into it to make my radio station come alive.

I can still remember the fake call sign I gave it – KJLA.  I would record myself talking about funny stuff I had seen on TV, or try to tell stupid jokes. When I was ready for music, I’d switch the cassette recorder over to the radio setting and record the music onto the cassette. When the song was over, I’d come back in and talk some more. It was so much fun! I even incorporated skits from Saturday Night Live and made my own versions of them.

My brother also created his own station called K05 – Jonathan’s radio station. In all honesty, his was better than mine. He always had funnier things to say than I did, and he made me laugh. We would compete back and forth as to which one of us had the better radio show. I think he won on that category.  I can remember sitting in the closet doing my radio show and hearing him one door down screaming and yelling on his radio show.

One day, we got the idea to come together to do one radio show together.  We came up with this bit called “Blurt-ins.”  The idea behind blurt ins was that we would suddenly switch to a radio station and no matter what was playing, we’d blurt in with snarky comments. Blurt-ins were funny and challenging because you had to be ready to make a funny comment at whatever was on the real radio at the time. My brother was great at it. I, on the other hand, was not. He could come up with funny comments in the blink of an eye!

We must have done our radio stations for years after that. I can remember always listening to my broadcasts over and over again. To be honest, I don’t know how many cassette tapes we ended up using to make our radio stations come alive, but they cost much more back then than they do today. We usually re-recorded over them after a while to make room for new shows.

Carrying on the tradition


Now that I have 4 kids of my own, I really should be carrying on the tradition. Not just by creating a radio show with them, but helping them come up with fun activities they can take part in and make their own.  Use the iPhone or iPad to make a modern-day version of my radio station. With video almost everywhere today, why not take it a notch further and do your own YouTube show with your kids?  This day and age, podcasts are all the rage. I haven’t made a podcast before, but there’s a first time for everything.

With today’s highly available technology around every corner, our kids don’t really have the motivation to do creative things like we did back in the 80s, but that doesn’t mean we can’t recreate it. We need to encourage them to explore their imaginations.  Kids today stay in the house most of the time.  Time spent outdoors playing and imagining has been taken over by Xbox, TV, cell phones, Facebook, etc. Set limits on these devices and encourage them to come up with fun things to do to spark their imagination.

I’d give anything to go back to the 80s and put on my radio show again. A simple idea one of us had turned into hours and hours of fun. There was no sign of Facebook or Twitter for years to come.  We found ways to keep ourselves occupied and it was a blast.


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