With Twitter and Facebook, we have instant access to TV shows and TV show stars. With a few keystrokes, we can (possibly) communicate with them and they can in turn advertise to us. In the 80s, we had something similar, but it was a lot slower and a lot better. We could write letters to TV shows and TV stars, physical, pen-and-paper letters that were put in a stamped envelope and sent via USPS. Many shows of the time, particularly shows on Nickelodeon and USA Network, would have segments in which the letters were read on air. It would take months for your letter to be read, if it ever was read at all, and you had to watch the show vigilantly because you didn’t know when it might be read and you had no way to catch it again if you missed it. It was probably a flawed system, but something about that system, particularly about seeing the addressed flashed across the screen as in the few pictures here, just makes me feel happy, safe, and, yes, even loved.
I recently picked up a bunch of folders and scrapbooks from my childhood. One of the heaviest in the bunch was the scrapbook dedicated to my family’s 1980s trips to Walt Disney World in Florida. We went in 1983, 1984 and 1995. These roadtrips to the Sunshine state are some of my favorite childhood memories, so I decided to start opening up the books and scanning what is in them for perpetuity. This means I get to share some of my memories here on the site.
First up is a promo letter about the Star Spangled Summer that Disney wants us to enjoy. These letters were sent out to anyone who wanted them, along with other promo material. To me though, they were a symbol of the promise of our next trip and I would hang them on a clipboard that was next to my bedroom door, so I could see it every morning before I left my room. This one from 1985 was special, because while I would get letters in future years, this would be the last year we would go to the park in the 1980s and the last time ever with the whole family.
This letter which was sent by the great author Ray Bradbury to a fan who asked to describe an obstacle he had faced during his lifetime and the subsequent effect of his overcoming it. His advice is exactly how I hoped someone of Mr. Bradbury’s stature and background would reply. This might sound weird on a retro site, but I think the world would be a much better place if we all just took some time to fall in love with the future.