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Fiction Historical Fiction

I got home from school and put my skateboard on the rack just inside the entryway. I was bagged after swimming 200 metres in swim practice and running 1500 metres for track practice. As I read mom's note, I quickly ate some chilli on the counter in the crock pot. Dad was working late, and she was out with friends. After I ate, I suddenly felt this colossal fatigue take over my body. I made it upstairs to my room and hit the bed. I was out. I began to dream…


****


The ’80s were a great time to be a kid from a movie watcher’s perspective as I was; I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of my life in the eighties. The following movies impact me hugely while growing up and cover the expanse of the eighties: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Mr. Mom (1983), Risky Business (1983) and Breakfast Club (1985), St Elmo’s Fire (1986), Stand By Me (1986) Pretty in Pink (1986) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). These movies topped the charts, and every kid who was a teenager knew the actors and loved them all. I was in a bubble because I was a movie watcher in my living room.


What was going on around me that mattered was the history stuff. I focused strictly on 1980 as there seemed to be enough information in that year alone to celebrate and reflect upon.  


Ronald Regan was in the White House for almost the entire decade (1982-1989). He was a Republican who increased defences and improved relations with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and together they negotiated a treaty to eliminate intermediate-range missiles. 


He also declared war on international terrorism, sending bombers into Libya after discovering that Libya was behind attacks on US soldiers at a West Berlin nightclub.


Reagan supported anti-Communist insurgencies in Central America, Asia, and Africa.

And maintained the free flow of oil during the Iran-Iraq war by providing naval escorts.


1980 was a big year I lived in history for a child like me. 


I consider all of these items, except a few significant events in our history, and I am glad I was alive to see and be a part of them. Some evoked strong emotions, while others brought extreme joy. Still, some didn’t have any bearing on my existence at all. 


And yet, I can still tell you some of my favourite movies that I neglected to mention at the beginning. 


Dead Poets Society (1989), The Outsiders (1983), Never Say Never (1983), Top Gun (1986), The Princess Bride (1987), A View To A Kill (1985), and Octopussy (1983).


Living in this time for me was exciting and vibrant. I saw growth in the tech industries and giant leaps in home gadgets. The camcorder that only the wealthiest of the wealthy could purchase and use. The fax machines were mainly utilized by the business world, but some private homes also used fax machines.


Families who stayed home on Friday night’s always watched Dallas and Falcon Crest. Dallas would leave a cliffhanger with everyone talking about ‘who shot JR?’


The kids were all at the arcades playing video games already, like a centipede, when out came PacMan. Gobbling up the dots and staying away from the ghosts was a significant stressor for the tween and teens, but some of us mastered it after a while and a lot of quarters. 


Rubik’s cube was another mind-bender, and everyone wanted to try it. The six-faced cube caused many a headache for many a person. The trick is to move the faces along different planes and not try to solve just one square at a time. 


The movie that came out and was a major topic was The Shining. It was a scary reveal into mental illness and the unravelling of Jack Torrance as he struggles with alcoholism and his own issues about his dad’s abuse of him.


I was so glad to have this little number come out as I use them today when I need to remember something important. The Post-it Note Brand was made available in 1980 and was a fast seller. Today it is still a hit with many people.


The Iran-Iraq war began in 1980, and CNN launched its first broadcast that same year. Probably covering some aspect of that war. 


The Soviets were defeated by the US in men’s hockey at the XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York, known as the "Miracle on Ice." 


Geographically speaking, on the west coast, Mount St. Helens erupted in Skamania County, Washington, United States, killing 57. The vegetation is still devastated by that blast but is slowly coming back.


The US Olympic Team boycotted the Moscow Olympics.


1117 people died (recorded) in the massive heat wave that hit the southern US, expanding over twenty states.


The Killer Clown, also known as John Wayne Gacy, was sentenced for killing little boys and young men. He was convicted of murdering 33 people.


But the rest of the movies listed here are from the decade, not 1980. They all had an impact on me in one way or another: Back to the Future (1985), The Colour Purple (1985), Sophie’s Choice (1982), The Man With One Red Shoe (1985), Big (1988), Stand and Deliver (1988), Hoosiers (1986), RainMan (1988) and Bettlejuice (1988).  


Without the eighties, I would never have been able to understand politics as well as those that exist between Russia and the US. I would have never developed such a diverse and eclectic repertoire of movies. I feel like I grew up with each film I saw, and I understood more about the dynamics involved in everyday life. Like Tolstoy, I “explored the intricacies and contradictions of ordinary people, as well as examined the nature of power, history, and society as a whole.” I feel like being alive in the eighties was the right time to be alive because it was such a pivotal time in US history. 


I would never have guessed that Rubik's cube and Pac-Man could make such a resurgence and become overnight sensations again. There must have been something to the eighties since these items came back in fashion in 2022. The inventors of the ‘80s must have been on to something. 


So we learn from Tolstoy, if nothing else, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”


If we take this quote and twist it a bit to apply it to the decade of the eighties and the year 1980 in particular, we find that many did think of changing the world and did make small changes in themselves to get what they wanted to be accomplished mastered. It was a slight adaptation to his quote but vital to give pause for reflection to make progress appear seamless. 


**** 


…I woke up at the alarm clock ringing and my phone alarm going off. I popped up and thought – whoa, that was the most incredible dream I felt that I was living through that tumultuous time in history. I just dreamt I lived in the eighties. Way cool! I headed to breakfast to share my extraordinary dream, but everyone was either still in bed or already gone. I wrote a note and skated boarded off to school. When the bell rang for homeroom, I made it in good time. 


The teacher said, “Today, we will discuss the eighties and the cold war. Then she asked, "Does anyone know anything about that topic? Or who was even in power in the United States and the Soviet Union then? Or anything you can tell me from the eighties will be fine, anyone?


I smiled as I raised my hand to fill her and everyone else in the class in on what I knew about Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev and the Cold War and the year 1980. If she was interested, I could also offer her some movie recommendations.


September 10, 2022 02:04

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5 comments

Murray Burns
23:20 Sep 13, 2022

A nice look back...probably to better times. I always liked the Tolstoy quotation...The Princess Bride is the best...(.Gacey- he remodeled a store owned by a friend of mine...I think of my friend and that store every time his name pops up.) I grew up on a street that looks like The Christmas Story. I sometimes regret that my kids couldn't have grown up in the same era I did. Thanks for the memories.

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Lily Finch
01:53 Sep 14, 2022

I am glad you liked it. You are welcome. LF6

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Philip Ebuluofor
18:04 Sep 10, 2022

History now seems to be my favorite reading. Ancient and modern ones. Fine work especially the inclusion of names and dates. Fine storyline.

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Lily Finch
22:36 Sep 10, 2022

Thank you. Philip. LF6

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Philip Ebuluofor
10:52 Sep 12, 2022

Pleasures.

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