I’m curious to see how strong the pop-culture ties that bind a specific age-group really are. Wouldn’t it be cool if we found a lot of common ground just because we were born in the same year? Conversely, if we don’t have much in common at all, then doesn’t that really take the wind out of the sails of generational labels, such as “Baby-boomers”, “Generation X” (which we are technically a part of), etc.?
I know you had an awful lot of fun building that fort out in the woods, but so did the kids back in the 1930s, and maybe even the 1830s. Let’s try to stick to things that would be very specific to us.
Some of my earliest memories were from the pre-Kindergarten days, watching cartoons like Superfriends, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Dudley Doright, and - my absolute favorite - Underdog on our little 13" black and white TV. The only TV we had at the time. I also remember the huge campaign to tell kids to “Dial 0 for operator” during an emergency (this was before 911.) This led to the neighbor kids talking me into dialing 0 on our old solid-black rotary phone at least once. I also remember my very first Big-Wheel from those days: it was blue and white and had a Smurf’s head between the handle bars. These were also the days of Atari, but those were for rich people! We didn’t get one until the NES debuted and the price of Ataris dropped drastically.
Moving on to Kindergarten (1986) - I really don’t remember much specifically relating to pop-culture in this time period. I played outside a lot. My cartoon of choice was now Ducktales, and yes, I sang along with the theme song.
First grade - I got an NES for xmas this year. My dad said he’d never play it because there was no joystick, no River Raid, no Pitfall Harry, and too many buttons. Within 3 days he was better than us at every game. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came out this year if I’m not mistaken. I got in trouble for humming the theme song in class.
Second grade - Curiously, I don’t remember a lot about second grade. I believe it was this year that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debuted, but I didn’t like them at first because everybody else liked them. God I was recalcitrant.
Third grade - I fell for the TMNT in a big way. Drew them constantly at school. Made my own nunchuks in the garage (without adult supervision, of course) out of chain and broomsticks. “U Can’t Touch This” debuted this year, and I somehow didn’t hear about it until its popularity was winding down. I managed to memorize all the words while it was still semi-cool though. Slap-bracelets were HUGE. I got my ear pierced.
Fourth grade - More Turtle-drawing. “Ice Ice Baby” came out, this time I got on the bandwagon early. The Simpsons made their “full-length” debut. We all sang Bart’s version of “Jingle Bells”. I watched “In Living Color” during the Super Bowl commercials. Everybody else and their cousin got their ear pierced, so I took mine out.
That’s all for now. Since I was born during the summer, I was the same age throughout each grade (e.g., 5 in Kindergarten, 6 in First grade, 7 in Second grade, etc.), so I won’t go beyond age 10 for now. I should be back to continue my adventures at least through age 15 or so later.