Trendz

While I’m no slave to fashion, I’m not immune to what’s all the rage, especially when I was a kid. Here are seven examples!

Golddiggers/Termites

When I was five, I really didn’t watch much TV. It was mainly the ‘70s PBS trifecta (“Sesame Street,” “Mister Rogers Neighborhood,” and “Electric Company”), plus once-a-week “Little House” that we watched as a family. So I’m not sure when these commercials for Golddigger jeans seeped into my consciousness. I can still sing the three notes of “GoldDIGger!” from the commercial, and remember kids in the playground.

Anyhoo, my mother told me in no uncertain terms that I may absolutely not have a pair of designer jeans that a) I would grow out of and b) were called Golddigger.

And also no, I could not have a pair of high heels, because they were for grown ups. I argued that these shoes were different, because they had a chunk cut out of the heel. Hence the name. Honestly, I have no idea where and how I heard about Termites. Perhaps there’d been a commercial since forgotten, or a neighbor in my apartment building had them. Maybe one of the more fashion-forward parents had bought them for my classmates but even though we didn’t have to wear uniforms until first grade in my Catholic school, I highly doubt that high heels on kindergarteners would have met even a loose dress code.

It was clear to me that my mother was being completely unreasonable, not wanting her five-year-old to traipse around in tight designer jeans and heels. So I found a loophole in the form of jeans leftover from when I was three. Paired with pumps surreptitiously absconded from my mother’s closet, I felt very glamorous indeed, traipsing around our apartment, singing “GoldDIGgers!”

Stickers!

 Oh, stickers. How I have always loved you. We moved before I started first grade to a house in the suburbs, and all of my neighbors had sticker books. The kids, not the adults. I was very far behind, because all of these girls (and some guys) had very Advanced Collections of stickers ranging from the basic flat ones to scratch-n-sniff to puffy. The most elite sticker collectors had GIANT puffy stickers that were the source of my deepest envy.

I had a lot of catching up to do. Even though we were able to buy a house, we still weren’t rich, so I tended since the Golddigger days of yore to choose my expenditure battles and make do with existing materials if I could. I found a photo album that hadn’t been used, or that I took the photos out of, can’t recall, and proceeded to ask my friends for their “doubles.” That was the term for stickers you had two or more of, so many were willing to give them away. Ideally, you traded your doubles, but my neighbors saw a friend in need and rose to the occasion.

My parents did get me new stickers, but I was hungry for ALL of the stickers. If I couldn’t fill my book with lots of puffies, I was going to make up for quality with quantity. Anything adhesive I could find went in my sticker book. I shall end it here, as I want to dedicate an entire blog to my sticker book – one of the few meaningful things to me that has not been lost or destroyed over the years, and I’m so grateful for that.

 Cabbage Patch Kids

 Back in 1983, people were losing their minds, trying desperately to buy their kids the most sought-after holiday toy of the year. There’s that famous story of that one woman trying to steal one in a sleeping bag. IIRC, there were at least vague stampedes. People were paying a lot of money to get ones that “fell off trucks.” Shit was intense.

So I knew I wasn’t getting a Cabbage Patch (that’s what kids in the know called them, because sometimes there just isn’t enough time for four syllables) in 1983. And that was fine, but I reallllllly wanted one. CPKs were brilliantly marketed. Every single one was different looking, and came not only with unique names – first AND middle! – but also a birth certificate and butt tattoo. They also bore the distinction of being the first doll that boys were “allowed” to want. I do not mean that as sociological fact, but it was the first time that I saw it, and thought it was awesome. I had epic battles with my Civil War toy soldiers when I was little, and never understood why Toys ‘R’ Us needed separate aisles, as it were.

Unlike stickers, which I still buy every time I go to Safeway, I no longer yearn to buy a Cabbage Patch Kid, though I’m happy to see them on the toy shelves all these years later. I do however wish that I hadn’t lost Emmalyn Dyanne along the way. Because I did get my Cabbage Patch Kid in Christmas 1984, and Constance Tiffany, a Corn Silk, in 1987. A year after I’d reluctantly put away my Barbies, I allowed my junior-high self to have one last doll for Christmas.

Trivial Pursuit

 Believe it or not, this was a thing with kids, at least in my town in 1984. Like in addition to needing a Cabbage Patch Kid for Christmas, you needed a Trivial Pursuit. To this DAY, I have no idea why. Granted, the game itself is cool both in structure and concept. But the questions are hard. Yet those lucky enough to acquire a Trivial Pursuit would have his or her (kid!) friends over to play this game. We’d sit around, not getting any questions right. Even when they came out with a Junior Trivial Pursuit with questions we could actually answer sometimes, we rejected it in favor of the real deal.

Charm Necklaces/Bracelets

 I’m mostly leaving aside fashion for this blog, because this blog is about trends of acquisition. Sometimes the two cross over, and one example of this is charm necklaces and their smaller version, charm bracelets. Both were the same in structure and principle: you buy a plastic-link chain in whatever color you like best, and fill it up with as many charms as you possibly can. The charms were plastic as well, adorable little replicas of things like eggs in a frying pan, toilet bowls, fruit. And you just piled it all on. The word gaudy did not apply to the charm jewelry phenomenon.

This trend was accessible to me – you didn’t have to have a hundred dollars, just a couple here and there. There’s a picture of me somewhere from my first day of fifth grade, where I’m wearing my charm necklace at its heyday, and it looks to weigh about three pounds. I paired it with a fringey Tweety shirt from Great Adventure, pink pants, and jelly shoes. I look absolutely ridiculous, but remember feeling very cool and individualistic, thanks to my impressive collection of charms!

Rubber bracelets

 I don’t know if Madonna started this trend, but I do know that 1) she wore ‘em, 2) I was obsessed with her, and 3) anyone who was anyone in my school was wearing lots of them!

So I wanted lots of them, as well. I had a few, but not enough, and one night, I realized that the tires on my brother’s toy truck would be both perfect and unique rubber bracelets! I do not remember whether or not he ever asked for them back.

Garbage Pail Kids

 Two years after we went crazy for Cabbage Patch Kids, people my age were older and starting in varying degrees to shun “kid stuff.” Enter Garbage Pail Kids. They were chock full of really disgusting humor, and we ate it up. I was one of the holdovers for kids stuff, still wanting to play Barbies. My best friend who was a year older wanted to enjoy stuff more for her age. The night she, her brother, and I sat around trading Garbage Pail Kids because it was something everyone could enjoy, was filled with side-hurting laughter, and is one of my favorite memories.

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This entry was posted in Apartments & Other Domiciles, Childhood, Family, Friends, Lists, Miscellaneous, The '80s, Women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Trendz

  1. Eric Brooks says:

    Congratulations! I haven’t heard someone use the phrase “traipse around” in years! Must be a New Yawk thing.

  2. emptyhands2 says:

    …”but I was hungry for ALL of the stickers.” OK – feel free to roll your eyes, but I loved this, because once when St. Therese was a little girl, her older sister, deciding she was too old for ‘little girl’ stuff, offered it to her 2 little sisters, Therese and Celine. Celine chose one item and then when Therese was offered the basket to choose an item, Therese took the whole basket and said “I choose it ALL”! I guess you’re destined to follow in her saintly footsteps!

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