Apr 22, 2016

A typical Saturday for me back in 1982

by Darrin Vindiola

Below is an article I've been sitting on for awhile.  I guess it would fall under the category of retro memories.  Enjoy...

A couple weekends ago, Fall finally arrived, and hit us with the first cold and rainy day of the season.  I was stuck inside most of the day typing away on my laptop, and after a few hours, I couldn't help but to think about how I used to spend my Saturdays as a kid.  When I reflect this way, the memories usually come flooding back quite vividly.  For the sake of posterity, I decided to record these memories of how I used to spend a typical Saturday, during summer vacation at the age of twelve.

My typical day started at 7:00 a.m.  I remember wishing I could sleep in until noon like many of my friends did.  However.. as soon as the sun brightened my room, I could physically sleep no longer.  It didn't bother me too terribly bad, because to me.. doing so was just a waste of valuable daylight.

Breakfast usually consisted of a bowl of cereal like Honey Comb, Cookie Crisp, or Franken Berry, and a tall glass of orange juice.  If I was really famished, I would make a couple pieces of toast with butter and jam, or apple butter. The next obvious course of action was "planting it" on the living room couch to watch the boob tube for a few hours or so.

Cereal commercials for Franken Berry, Count Chocula, and Cap'n Crunch actually had ongoing story lines and characters that in all rights were more entertaining than many of the cartoons shown on Saturdays.   The most popular prime time Saturday morning cartoons didn't start until about 8:00, but there were still plenty of good ones to watch like The Flintstones, Looney Toons, Jonny Quest, Tom and Jerry, and countless others.  After cartoons were over, it was time to grab lunch and watch some monster movies.

We didn't have cable when I was a kid, so I was raised on good old fashioned local television channels.  KWGN channel 2 in Denver Colorado did a bang up job with their afternoon and late night programming, especially on the weekends.  After Saturday morning cartoons were over, old school monster movies and sci-fi flicks were shown until about 2:00 in the afternoon. I think I saw every classic movie monster staple throughout the 80's on channel 2.  I remember watching classics like The Wolfman, Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Godzilla, The Blob, and an endless array of B-Movie goodness.

My Mom would occasionally see what I was watching, and interject on how she remembered seeing those movies in the theater or drive-in.  She would comment about the way things were during the era of the 50's, as well as the surf craze that was so prevalent in many of the teen horror flicks from that time.  I always loved listening to her stories and it's one of the reasons I've always been fascinated with the recent past.  Whether I watched TV until 2:00 or not, next on the agenda was spending the rest of the day outside.

The Great Outdoors..
I spent many a Saturday flying kites. The kite company Gayla made a heck of a kite back in the 80's that was affordable, and barring too many crashes to the earth.. were incredibly durable.  The first thing I would do when buying a new kite, was to buy two rolls of kite string and combine them into one spool.  My friends and I would see just how high we could fly our kites, and there were times we'd fly them so high, they'd appear as tiny specks in the sky.

The kite of choice for my friends and I were the Gayla "Baby Bat" model of kites.  They were a black kite that came with two adhesive blood shot eyeball decals.   We always hoped for fast side winds so we could fly them low over the road while hiding behind fences so as to freak people out who were driving by.  I'm not sure if we ever frightened anyone, but we giggled the entire time while engaging in these shenanigans.

Another favorite past time I had as a kid was fishing.  Even at a young age, I appreciated the serenity and calmness I could obtain from an afternoon of angling.  My friends and I took pride in our tackle boxes and would open them up to proudly display and trade different lures and tackle.  Most of our fishing excursions began with trading sessions where we'd barter with one another as if we were trading baseball cards.   Fishing is something I hadn't actively done in over twenty years, and have recently took up the hobby again.  Just like back in the day, maybe even more so.. its proved to be a great stress reliever.

Possibly my favorite form of entertainment as a kid however, was riding my bike.  I must have logged thousands upon thousands of hours pedaling through my youth on a bike exactly like the one you see here.  The beginning of many a Saturday afternoon began with me oiling up the chain on my BMX bike, airing up the tires, and heading out for a day of adventure.  I'd ride around to my friends houses one by one to gather up the gang, and we'd cruise around the neighborhood, or go off road to have some fun.

My best friends lived across town, so many weekends I would load the bike up in the car, and my Mom would drop me off in the early morning for the day, or for sleepovers.  Since they lived in the country, we had an extra fun time riding our bikes.

We'd start our day by packing lunches for ourselves that usually consisted of sandwiches, chips, and some sweets.  We'd stop by the gas station to get some bottled soda, and then it was off for a day of exploring and adventure.  Many times we'd also bring our fishing gear or kites with us, which insured us a full day of fun.

At the end of the day we would quickly run inside for dinner, and then it was right back outside for more playtime.  We didn't think of heading back indoors until after sun set, and even then.. we'd try to stay out as late as we could.  When we finally did come inside and settle down, we would sit around reading comic books or playing with Hot Wheels or STAR WARS action figures until more great programming came on TV.
Usually at about 9:00 or 10:00  p.m. on a Saturday night, wrestling and music videos ruled the airwaves.  If we were lucky, we'd be able to catch a Hulk Hogan or Andre the Giant wrestling match.  Afterward, we'd flip through the channels searching for the newest music videos.  Finally.. we'd search for something spooky or stimulating to watch, like late night horror flicks, Elvira Mistress of the Dark, or the Benny Hill show.  After the end of the broadcasting day, the old color bar test pattern would appear across the screen, and we'd finally shut the TV off.  But it wasn't the end of the day for us by far.

It was like a game for my friends and I, to see exactly how late we could stay up.  We'd keep each other awake by talking about the mysteries of life, future plans, and girls.. (which I guess could've qualified as one of the  mysteries of life) and an infinite collection of other topics.  Many a sunrise on Sunday morning is when we finally closed our eyes for some rest, only to be awakened by our folks a few minutes later to get ready for church.

So in short, that was the typical Saturday for me on most weekends.  While I did SO many other things during my free time in the 80's, these activities are what stand out in my mind the most.  There are countless other activities and fads we used to partake in as kids, all of which I'm sure I'll eventually write about sooner or later.

How about you?  Does anything listed here ring a bell, or sound similar to your weekend activities as a kid?

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