On the latest Frogger episode the Retroist mentions in his opening that he and his friends started a breakdancing crew the same as my friends and I and probably most of the 80’s kids. This got me thinking back to those days of parachute pants, wide laces in shell toed Adidas, windbreakers and not to forget a boom box and cardboard (or a sheet of linoleum like my friend Eric had). I would look through magazines in the grocery store line to see the latest moves or in a How to breakdance book with the New York City Breakers I picked up at school book fair. Then there were movies like Breakin’ (1984) with Turbo who was amazing himself but the movie that I just couldn’t stop watching was Beat Street (1984). I think that Breakin’ was more kid and family friendly but there is no denying that the battle at the Roxy between Beat Street and the Bronx Rockers was the most amazing breakdancing scene in a movie as well as the song playing, Breaker’s Revenge by Arthur Baker.
I dare you to watch this video and I guarantee when nobody’s looking you’ll be busting some moves. Just be careful with those head spins.
As a kid my family would drive a few blocks away each Saturday to visit with my grandparents and have dinner. My grandmother was a great cook and would always prepare a large spread of food. After a long meal my grandmother would wash up the dishes (wearing her yellow rubber gloves) and when finished my brother & I knew it was time for fun. Well before the fun she would heat up a hot fudge jar in a pan of boiling water, scoop out some vanilla ice cream and make us a great bowl. Now with ice cream in front of us my grandmother would open the “game drawer” and bring out Cootie. She had the original game and the box was worn but most of the pieces were still there. The only missing pieces were a couple of the antennas which she had replaced with some shortened Q tips. The game would include a die which when rolled the number showing would relate to a particular body part labeled with the same number. The antenna, legs, eyes and heads each had a specific color but the bodies were all different. I can remember to this day how I would get upset if I wasn’t the first to roll a one which would then let me have choice of body color, I know, childhood drama. In the end it really didn’t matter who picked what color or who built their cootie first but the fun, memories and family time we had with each other would last through the years.
A few years later on Christmas morning I unwrapped a gift from Santa to find that I would have my own (newer) Cootie game. The game is still at my mother’s house and when my kids visit or have a sleep over it is one of the games they always play. I have a good feeling that Santa just might leave a newer version under our tree this year, just a feeling.
Thinking back to when I was a young kid I realized that I was jealous of a lot of the toys that my older brother had. Whether it was his slot car race track or his train table I would hover over his shoulder begging him for a turn. Well that all changed, for a few days at least when I got a Lite Brite for my birthday. I was mesmerized by the illumination of those little translucent colored pegs, and though the black paper had little white dots to instruct where to place those pegs for certain pre-made images I always felt like I made a masterpiece.
One day after school my mother called my brother and I into the back room where my Lite Brite was set up. When we walked through the door my brother & I noticed that there was another Lite Brite next to mine.She had seen how much I enjoyed mine and how my brother would beg me for a turn and so she got him one. The Lite Brite he got was used, I think a 70’s model with a bag full of mixed pegs and a huge stack of black peg paper.The funny thing was that I used mine for years after that day but my brother got tired of his after only 2 or 3 days. And that was the only time I knew of my brother being envious of something I had.
The other day as I looked at the charging dock full of iPods and tablets on the shelf I thought back to when I was a kid and the Atari 2600 was the only technical device we had. We didn’t have DVD players in the car or even close to 20 different kid channels to surf on the TV.
So I thought of the simple things my brother and I would do to entertain ourselves when we couldn’t play Atari because my parents were on the only TV in the house. The one thing we could laugh with for some time was Silly Putty. I can remember the squeaky sound it would make as I would twist it, or the way it would bounce off the walls and floor when rolled into a ball. I think the most fun though was just the putty and a black & white print newspaper. When the putty was flattened out you could press it onto the paper and the ink would then pull up from the newspaper revealing a mirrored image on the putty.
Silly putty is still available in original and the glow in the dark so why not spend the $3 and see if your kids will enjoy it the way we did, my guess , probably not.