Rather than dwell on age, I made a list of facts from 1981. Some of these show how much life has changed, some how much has stayed the same, and they all tell you a little more about me (even if it's just the fact that I felt they were worth listing):
1. "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey was a favorite song. Thanks to Glee, it's popular again. (Not a favorite of mine, so I guess I'd say "thanks" - for nothing - to Glee.)
2. January 20: Iran released the American hostages. Present day: still tension between the US and Iran. You'd think something could have been done in 33 years.
3. President Regan was shot. Spoiler alert: he survived.
4. May 13: Pope John Paul II was shot. April 27, 2014: Pope John Paul II is granted sainthood by Pope Francis, although as far I know this is unrelated to the 1981 assassination attempt. (I'm not Catholic, but it's interesting.)
5. October 6: Anwar Sadat, president of Egypt, is assassinated. Yikes. I tend to think of assassination attempts as things of the past, or at least the turbulent '60s, but apparently not.
6. July 29: Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer. I would like to say that turned out well, but, sadly, it didn't. (I greatly admire Queen Elizabeth II but I can't say I care much about her oldest son. And Diana, well, what a complicated story.)
7. The first American test tube baby, Elizabeth Jordan Carr is born. 2014: we're dealing with all sorts of issues related to when life begins and how we "help" couples make babies.
8. Popular on TV: Fall Guy starring Lee Majors. I used to watch this in syndication. I have no idea what it was really about but I remember a lot of explosions.
9. New cartoon: The Smurfs are brought to the US by Hanna-Barbera, even though they were created in 1958. I spent hours watching this cartoon.
10. Popular Movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones and it. was. (and remains) awesome.
11. Acclaimed movie: Chariots of Fire. This was an attempt to show the events of the 1924 Olympics in real time. No, I'm just kidding. But seriously, what a long movie. I have no idea if it was accurate or not. I do know it spawned an entire generation of piano students (of which I am part) that pounded out that theme song over and over and over again when we were supposed to be practicing something else.
12. Disney Movie: The Fox and the Hound. "Tod!" "Copper!" "We'll always be friends, forever." *wipes tear from eye* OK, not the best Disney movie ever but are you made of stone?
13. Died: Vera-Ellen. Fabulous dancer from what would become some of my favorite movies: White Christmas and On the Town, among others.
14. Died: Natalie Wood. The circumstances of her untimely death are still debated in 2014.
15. Born: Elijah Wood. Frodo lives!
16. Born: Hayden Christensen. Anakin lives! (And those
17. Born: Natalie Portman. Obviously, we have a lot in common...
OK, I have to say that I had no idea that Christensen and Portman were born the same year. Kind of weird to think we own paperdolls of these two. (Yes, we own several sets of Star Wars paper dolls. PADME'S COSTUMES WERE COOL, OK?)
18. Born: Josh Groban. "You raise me up..."
19. Researchers find the wreck of the Titanic. And then when I was a teenager, James Cameron made a wreck of a movie about the Titanic.
20. MTV is launched. I can't say I ever watched MTV but I did watch some VH1 as a teenager.
21. September 21: Sandra Day O'Connor becomes the first female Supreme Court Justice. I think her legacy is a bit muddled, but still, it's notable.
22. The original model 5150 IBM PC is released and the sticker price was $1,565. 2014: we carry computers more powerful than that in our pockets.
23. Average income: $21,050.
24. Average cost of a new home: $78,200 (And I didn't research it but I'm pretty sure interest rates were fairly steep at the time.)
25. Gallon of gas cost: $1.25. 2014: arm and leg of first born. (OK, yes, I'm bitter about the price of gas. That happens when you drive a mini-van.)
26. Popular toy: Monchhichi dolls. They cost $7.97, and yes, I have one. And a Monchhichi puzzle at my Grandma and Grandpa's house. Please contain your jealousy.
27. Post It Notes are introduced by 3M. Thousands of people smack themselves and say, "Why didn't I think of that?!"
28. The ten most popular names for girls are: Jennifer, Jessica, Amanda, Sarah, Melissa, Amy, Nicole, Stephanie, Elizabeth, and Heather. I will know approximately a million of each in my lifetime. (Kidding, of course. I'm an introvert and don't know a million people. But still, most of the girls I knew growing up had a name from this list. I have a cousin with two names from the list!) My name is #64 on the list.
29. Jacob Have I Loved is published and wins the Newbery Medal. I read it as a teenager and think it's awful. I should probably read it again now and see who was right.
30. The 2nd Amelia Peabody book is released: The Curse of the Pharaohs. I read it as an adult and it cements my abiding affection for Amelia Peabody, Emerson, and anyone else Elizabeth Peters cares to write about.
31. I'm born in a city that I won't live in until I'm 19 years old.
32. My parents bring me home to our 2 bedroom house, our mixed breed long-haired, white, possibly Husky-mix dog (Muffy) and our two calico cats (Callie & Mollie). The second cat will live long enough to see me dating. (We called her the chaperone cat because she would sit behind us on the couch. When Philip tried to put his arm around me, the elderly cat would fall on to us. I have no idea how my parents trained her to do this.)
33. I'm the first granddaughter on both sides of my family. I'm the first grandchild on one side. A mutual admiration society is born: I love all of them and they're all crazy about me. (Just stating the facts here, you understand.) I also have two great-grandmothers alive when I'm born, only one of which I remember.
See? 1981 was a pretty amazing year.
Sources: What happened in 1981?, The People History
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