Born in the 80s, Raised in the 90s!
If you were born in the 80s and raised in the 90s then you will most likely appreciate this. We are now in our mid-thirties. Our “Heyday” may be over, but the thirties are absolutely amazing. You have the wisdom of your mistake riddled youth behind you, the wisdom of triumph after those mistakes were rectified and the potential for an astonishing 50+ more years.
The television set in the basement was a plastic wood panel contraption, much like the ‘Ol’ Woody’ station wagons. The dial was on the right hand side and only so many clicks around before you were back at “2”. There was a long stretch cord that was connected to a converter that had 10 click-switches on it, and a reel that would glide down, that would allow you to continue to clock the channels up to 20. Our generation was a hybrid of having to turn the television set on by walking to the actual set (much like our parents) but we did have the beginning technological advances of being able to change the channel via converter and then a remote (Or clicker as many of us called them).
There was no chance in the bluest of blue hells that we were eating dinner separately. Dinner was promptly at 5:00pm and your butt better be home by 4:50pm or else you would hear about it. In Rob’s house, when the cow bell rang from the kitchen, that meant dinner was now. Not in ten minutes-Now. There were no hats at the table and if your elbows managed to rest ever so slightly on the countertop, you were warned. If you finished your milk too fast, you could get water. Milk was expensive; they weren’t running a dairy farm. ‘May I be excused’ was mandatory. MANDATORY. There was no way you would chance getting up and leaving the table without permission, it was unheard of. I think my step-brother did once…I have always wondered what happened to him.
I did not receive a medal for participation. I received ‘scratch ’n sniff’ stickers for great effort or a project well done, but that was it. In fact, I am grateful for that to this day. I watched my brothers win awards and recognition for their abilities in sports; I however was not as talented.
The winter of ’94, I was in a Cloverdale Pee-Wee hockey tournament against Semiahmoo. Chris Nielsen was the best player on the team, a bit of a hot shot mentality but he earned it as he was the best. When they announced the MVP, I was stunned. I was waiting in the line-up on the blue line wishing this presentation would wrap up – until I heard “Shaun Aquiline-Most Valuable Player”. Stunned, I skated over, accepted my plaque and went back to my spot in the line-up. I couldn’t believe it. On the ride home, my father and grandfather told me that they were not surprised because, while Chris was very good, I kept getting back up, I passed the puck to those I knew were better than me and would most likely score.
I earned MVP that winter in 1994. I still remember that as a triumphant moment in my youth. I truly believe I appreciate it today because I was not given anything prior to it simply because I signed up.
The street lights just came on and I am still not home… oh crap!! Dad is going to kill me!
If you wanted to play with a friend, you had to use the house landline. Chances are, before the mid-nineties, the house phone was still attached to a stretchy cord that always hung twisted. So you would have to grab it at the far end like the tail of a snake and let it unravel so you could get a decent amount of distance from the console, because you did not need a brother, sister or worse, your parents listening in while you called your love-crush. Perhaps you were only calling a friend to hang out. You would punch those seven numbers (because this whole area code nonsense didn’t exist unless you were calling long distance) and you would have to speak to the adults on the other end. ‘Hi Mrs. Patterson, it’s Shaun, is Michael home?” Of course, they were, and you would ask the simple question ‘Want to play?’ Then a decision of whose house this adventure would take place in. If you were lucky, you might get to stay for dinner as well. Cell phones were for the rich guy from Beverly Hills, 90210. We didn’t use them nor want them. He had a pager before our first cell phone, and that wasn’t until the early 2000s, even then, we only used it to make actual calls because it was expensive.
Renting movies was a thrill. There was true competition. Depending on how big your video store was, they may only be able to bring in a small amount of the top new movies. So you had to be crafty and try and get it early before the mad rush on a Friday at 4pm. If you did not go to the theatre to see Apollo 13, then you missed that boat and the next sailing was usually a wait of seven months or more until it came out on VHS. When you entered the store, you would walk briskly to the back wall where you could see Tom Hank’s face on the box. It would appear they are all rented out, however, you know it is a one day rental and MAYBE there is one in the return bin. You ask the young staff member, they check and voila! You are now the happy renter of Apollo 13 for the next 24 hours and yes, you are kind and you will rewind.
Also, 7 movies for 7 days for 7 dollars was the greatest thing ever.
Whether it is classy or not, I recall going into Safeway with my father to go get milk, cheese or something small and he had no shirt on and no one thought anything of it.
Seatbelts were not optional, however, I certainly don’t recall as much buzz about them. This is obviously for the better that it is on the forefront of peoples mind while driving. Same goes for bike helmets.
Laserdiscs were a strange concept. Only the truly elite purchased them. It was giant CD that played movies, however it was a short lived phenomenon and clearly for the best. Besides, many of us were still using the BETA-MAX that our parents refused to get rid of because ‘It works fine.’ We have also jammed a butter knife into the VCR because the machine “ate” the tape, and now we have to figure that mess out.
Nintendo was one of many things to do. Yes, we all sat around the tube TV and smashed those red A & B buttons with rigor. We know what it is like to have the game freeze on you in the sixth level- and you got there the honest way- no warp jumps. So, you took the cartridge out, you blew inside the mechanism as well as the console and it restarted like a car with a new battery. UP-UP-DOWN-DOWN. We also knew to put the controller down and go outside and entertain ourselves for days before deciding to go back for a visit with our good friends, Mario & Luigi.
We were spanked and we still love our parents.
Our generation understand what WW2 meant. Not to say that through education and stories told that the youngsters can’t learn, of course they can, however, those soldiers that fought bravely in that war are who we call Grandpa, Opa, Papa, Nonno & Grandma, Oma, Nan, Nonna. We seem to understand not to ask too many questions unless it was deemed ok to do so. Our grandparents were mesmerizing. They also spoiled us!
We were told that fighting is never a way to solve any problem, but you have to defend yourself if a situation arises and you are going to be hurt. If this scenario took place at school and you were only defending yourself and not the cause of the fight, you would most likely not be grounded.
Oh yeah, we were grounded. Grounding came in various forms. You could be grounded from leaving the house, grounded from TV/Nintendo or the phone (although that wasn’t as big of a deal then).
The internet was something that had to be dialed up. Literally. If someone picked up the phone while you were on it, it cancelled out and you had to start all over again. If you even bothered, after all, the internet was not that big of a deal during our time; until Napster came around, then we learned you could download music for free?! Well, that also came with its headaches…and viruses.
We did not ask a love interest out on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook because they did not exist. We had to humbly walk up to the boy or girl we were interested in and ask them. Or tell their friend you liked them and they would relay the message and the friend would get back to you on whether or not it was worth pursuing. However, if you were given the nod, you still had to take the risk and ask them to the movies.
TGIF was a time slot on television that was glorious. Saved By the Bell, Family Matters, Martin, Step by Step, Full House, Roseanne, Home Improvement, X-Files, Are Your Afraid of the Dark? and Friends- These were our shows. Side note- we referred to the show Family Matters as Urkel, despite the fact the show is about Carl Winslow and his family.
We loved Canada’s teddy Bear, John Candy and his movies- especially the John Hughes flicks. We too ‘Ain’t afraid of no ghost’ we understand what it means ‘To get back in time’ and we drank Tahiti Treat while watching these shows. Also, we know what Bill Clinton was doing in the oval office….we knew…
Our parents turned off the cartoons because they were watching the Gulf War and we know who Tony Parsons is.
We had Walkmans in the early part of the 90s until the mind-blowing Discman came out. We understood the struggles of walking down the street and having to stop until the cd stopped skipping. “Do you have the time, to listen to me whine about nothing (skip,skip,skip,skip,sip)… and everything all at once.”
We had to have a blank memorex cassette queued up in the boom box so when that favourite song hit the air waves on your favourite FM radio station, you would rush to hit record… if you were unlucky you had to listen to the damn DJ talk over the 34 second intro…
We are the group that they have not quite defined. We are not Generation-X (although we share their cynicism) and we are not Millennial’s (although we understand the value and importance of technology) as we were not born in a digital world, we were born in an analog world.
We are Generation-Y.
Every generation has their day in the sun-as they say. We are drawn to a time that was connected to our innocence and youth. That time has developed and defined who we are today. It happened to us, our parents, our grandparents, our great-grandparents, our great-great grandparents, out great-great-great-gre— you get the point. There will be a time when the youngest of toddlers grow up and say “I remember when the iphone 8s came out, PlayStation 6 was released, and they tore down the Forum and built that big statue of Geoff Battersby!”
Every generation has their moment.