If you went over to the Stephenville Historical Museum last Saturday, you would've thought you had stepped back in time as our town celebrated the annual By-Gone Days On The Bosque with events such as blacksmithing, old-time music, Civil War reenactments, and Western gunfights and to really top the day off, everyone gathered on the square that night to listen to Michael Martin Murphey, whose music takes you back to a time when the west was really wild and cowboys didn't dance.
Both events had a common thread, they took us back in time to the way things used to be. I wasn't around during the Civil War or the Old West and I missed all the things like the ducktail hair and Rock and Roll of the '50s, the hippie movement of the '60s, and the bell-bottoms and disco of the '70s but I did get to enjoy the trends of the '80s and '90s, which called for a different world back then.
Taking trips was different than it is today, if you went to Six Flags with your church or school, you couldn't whip out your cell phone as you were walking out of the park and call Mom and Dad to say you were leaving, you had to wait until the bus or van stopped at a store so you could use a pay phone to call and let someone know where you were going to be and if you took a picture of yourself riding the Texas Giant, you had to take your camera to a shop, then wait two to three weeks and hope the pictures turned out.
Saturday morning was a day just about every '80s and '90s kid looked forward to because we'd all get up with the sun, turn on the TV, and binge-watch cartoons until they were over as we enjoyed a good breakfast. In fact, I can still remember watching classics such as "Pee-Wee's Playhouse", "Garfield and Friends" and "The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show" as the scent of bacon and eggs filled the house.
Listening to music was also different because we didn't get to go on iTunes to find our favorite song, we had to wait for it to come on the radio and if we still couldn't hear enough of it, we had to go to stores like Wal-Mart or Sam Goody, know who the artist was, and buy the entire album just so we could listen to one song and if we wanted to see the artist singing it without going to their concerts, we didn't get to look on YouTube, we had to watch for them on CMT, VH1, or MTV, which actually played nothing but music videos 24-7. If you were a musician and wanted to learn a song, you had to go and actually buy the sheet music or simply just listen to it and hope you had the words right.
Today, kids try and keep in touch with each other on outlets like Facebook or text messaging but back then, we had our own social networking system, it was called playing outside and we made our own entertainment with games such as "Red Rover", "Red Light, Green Light", and a basketball game called "HORSE" and Mom and Dad didn't have to call the cell phone we didn't have because if the sky started getting dark, that meant "Game over, get home now" and the fun didn't end there because we'd turn on our Nintendo or Atari and play games like "Donkey Kong" or "Super Mario Bros."
Basically, we all had fun just being around each other back then; if we did play a game of tag or a video game, it wasn't for competition, it was just for fun and friendships weren't lost if we didn't win and if we tried out for a school activity but didn't make it, we dealt with it and tried again the next year.
In a society where we get distracted by the latest technology and social media today, I'm glad we didn't have to worry about that back then because times were simple. We all got along and loved each other and that's what makes me long to be a child of the '80s and '90s again because we all had each other and that was all we needed to be happy.
Tim Turnbeaugh is a musician who was born and reared in Eastland County, Texas but currently resides in Stephenville. Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.