My teenaged son Archie had to interview someone, and discuss the differences between childhood and teen years then and now. He decided to interview me. Below is the interview. I thought you may like to read it.
Careers Interview with Tara Leigh Smith
By: Archie Burton Smith
The 80’s were a very different time compared to nowadays. Things were different back then. It was a time of neon, big hair, and Donkey Kong. A time long before Twitter or Facebook, Tumblr or Snapchat, and long before the days of portable computers, and cellphones for Everyone. It was a decade that shaped the technology we have nowadays, and led to a lot of new Innovations. In order to compare one of the greatest decades to our own, I interviewed a person who lived through them. She’s a woman with a lot of insight, anecdotes and strong opinions on the way things used to be and are now. She was able to provide me with a lot of information to work with. Through this report, you’ll hear stories, facts, and a lot of weird things. She’s a woman with a lot to tell, so without further ado, here is my interview with my Mom,
Tara Smith, child of the 80’s.
In today’s society, we live a very sheltered lifestyle. We’re all about keeping an eye out, Stranger Danger; and ensuring the future for our kids. But back in the 80’s, things were a little more lenient when it came to child safety. This story illustrates my mom’s experiences with this.
“People are always talking about the good old days of the 80’s, back before playdate and when parents didn’t need to always be with their kids. But in the 80’s, my brother and I used to play at a place we called the Oil Pond, which we later found out was a dumping ground for a local factory. Years later, people tried to build a condo there, and it took them two years to clean the soil. One time I lost my rubber boot in the oil pond and when I got home, I got a spanking with a wooden spoon. That was also okay in the 80’s. Also on the topic of child safety, when I was 14, my friend and I told our parents that we were staying at each other’s houses. What we really did was sneak on a bus to Toronto, to see Madonna in concert. We just stayed on Yonge St. overnight and took the bus back the next day. This went so well that we went to see Duran Duran a few weeks later. If I was a kid nowadays, I would probably tweet a photo of myself and get busted. ” I would never be able to go off on my own for more than a couple hours, let alone to another city, but that`s the difference of my generation with my mom`s. Nowadays, you can just check where your friends, kids, family or enemies are at the click of a button, but back then, teens were much more adventurous, and it was way harder to get caught doing something.
In 2015, you can look anywhere and see big TV shows. Expensive, realistic, and often only available on certain networks, TV has been elevated to an art form. But back in the 80`s, all TV needed was a little excitement, and a whole lot of explosions to get the job done right. “TV was a AMAZING. Every show was about private investigators in short shorts with mustaches, who would blow up power boats. And they could KILL people, without any consequences. Every sitcom had an awesome theme song that not only explained the show but was longer than the actual show. Look at the facts of life theme song: You’ll never make it through without the truth, the facts of life are all about you!! That song was sung by Robin Thicke’s mom and written by his dad. Robin Thicke’s parents wrote and sang most of the 80’s theme songs. 80’s shows had everything: Wingmen Gorillas, parentless children moving in with strangers, children that would just be added to the show (Leonardo DiCaprio in growing pains). And every kid had an awesome bedroom.” TV in the 80’s is a far cry from the TV of today. We have mainly instrumental theme songs, and shows about how every choice had a consequence. I have to say, some of the 80’s shows sound a little more exciting than the things we have today!
Today, we don’t have too much going on in styles. It’s mainly minimal effort; most people just get up and get ready, but that was very different in the 80’s. There was a lot more effort going into clothes. As my mom puts it: “Clothing used to be outrageous and expensive and took a lot of work. Nowadays it’s minimal and not a lot of effort is put into it. I spent more money on clothes as a teen than I do now. Not having to spend money on shoulder pads alone saves me hundreds of dollars. I spent all my money on clothing and concerts. But it was the opposite with movies. We went to 2.50 Tuesdays at the movies. It was 2.50 because toonies hadn’t been invented yet. Back in the 80’s I did what I wanted when I wanted… and that’s why I’m not a very productive adult. ” Compared to the 50 dollar splurge you need nowadays to go the movies, 2.50 Tuesdays sound like heaven. I probably spend more money at the movie theatre than I do on anything else. As for the not being productive thing, kids today are constantly kept in line and taught how to do things properly and to be responsible with their money and savings. Is this for better or worse? Only time will tell.
Being a teenager, I want to be able to be able to make money to do different things. Today, you need to be 16, have a full resume, have volunteering experience, and a bunch of other things just to get a job. My mom didn’t have this problem. “I probably made more money as a teen than I do now. I always had a part time job and was always babysitting. It was easier to get a job as a teen in the 80’s. I probably had my first job by grade 6.” Considering the difficulty that some teens face to get jobs, this shows a stark contrast. But kids in the 80’s didn’t have courses like careers to help them out. Today we get more experience out of school than a lot of people would get in the 80’s, so while it’s difficult to start, things may be easier for us in the long run.
Even technology was different in the 80’s. Today, we have smartphones, with games built into them, that can call, text, exchangeagram, tweet and post, whereas in the 80’s, some home phones were innovative. “The Clock Radio phone was cutting edge technology. The only flaw was that it would stop playing when you picked it up, so you needed to find a way to keep the button pressed. But if you could then you would get awesome music to play over the phone while you called someone.” She also talks about video games. “Video games were way better. “Nowadays, there are only first person shooter games. Back in my day you used to fly around and joust on ostriches. There was some honour to it.” Pixelated and only available at an arcade, video games were very different back then.
And there you have it. My mom is one of the more interesting people that I know, and it was great to hear everything she had to say, and to hear her say “Back in my day” about a bhundred times. I think it’s important to hear the experiences of people who have lived longer than you and have seen more. Without hearing stories like these, we’d have no idea what shoulder pads were for, or what the heck a Swatch Watch phone was. Without hearing the perspective of people who were there, we’d only know the basic facts. Not the parts that are interesting or important to hear. Most people know about the cold war, but how would we know that Reagan once threatened Russia by telling them “Go ahead, make my day” during it without someone telling us. We also learn that while it’s important to play by the rules and to work hard, that it’s also important to break some of the rules and take a classic day off. Interviewing my mom let me hear some of my favourite of her stories, and also learn some new ones. It was truly a pretty great interview, and I hope you enjoyed my report on it.