It was a gnarly time

by | Jul 1, 2018 | Editorial

The idea to do a retro issue began with ABOUT’s illustrator/cartoonist Cliff Thomas. It wasn’t his idea, but his cool-guy aura and always entertaining teenage tales sparked it. So we asked Cliff if we could capitalize on his qualities and also those of his ridiculously appealing family members — wife Tracy, daughter Summer, and son-in-law Talon — for some photos. Thankfully, they agreed and we decided to build an issue (more or less) around this idea of nostalgia that would be most relatable to Generation X since nearly everyone at ABOUT is part of that generation. Members of The Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers will undoubtedly have a different take on the decade. Millennials will have only Polaroid childhood memories. And it’s all ancient history to Generation Z.
In addition to photography capturing some 80s era River Valley activities we all likely participated in even while complaining there was nothing to do around here, we’ve also published some personal anecdotes from fellow Gen Xers and, I think, one Boomer who remembers us all as “kids.” As you’ve likely guessed, the stories are diverse. Though there are universally iconic symbols for those particularly cheesy years — killer mullets, Miami Vice, acid-wash anything, Members Only jackets — the personal memories are varied. As for me, 80s summers bring to mind old Chevy trucks rumbling down the streets; late night tennis matches with fellow maniacally competitive friends at Atkins and Old Post Park; stocking, sweeping the parking lot, and the dreaded facing of the shelves at Atkins IGA; covering every Alabama song ever recorded in a garage band; fishing in the Lucky Landing Bass Club; and, of course, a killer mullet.
But for those of us who came of age in the 80s I think that sense of standing on the threshold of latent potential is the most powerful feeling we want to regain. We were young and untested, still clinging to the securities of home with Mom and Dad while dipping a toe into the great unknown of adulthood. Anything was possible back then. We had few worries and our whole lives ahead of us. Those were the days…
So take a trip down memory lane with us this July. From tales of younger days, to finding the best example of our favorite 80s food for this month’s Valley Vittles, and even our book review, it’s a chance to look back and think about what made the decade so totally awesome.
Even though it’s mostly because we were all 30 years younger.
– Johnny Carrol Sain

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