laura packardIt’s more than a feeling….

I begin dreaming…

I close my eyes and I slip away…

           Ah, Boston. Not the city, though Beantown’s pretty awesome. I’m talking about the band.

           How do I love thee?  Let me counts the ways.

           Yes, the mighty Bard might have given us some clever idioms all those hundreds of years ago at The Globe that we still use today; like full circle, kill with kindness, in a pickle, love is blind and the naked truth. But the ’80s and its special crop of artists, as a whole, do not disappoint, either.

         Especially when it comes to classic anthem rock and what it felt like to be young and wild and free. I’m rocking my aqua net hair sprayed scrunchie and holding up my mini-bic lighter as we speak. Actually, I’m watching Murder, She Wrote reruns and sipping on Pinot in my husband’s over-sized tee, but a girl can dream, right?

               Seriously though, think about it for a split Swatch’d second, y’all.

               We now, thanks to the glorious 80s, know that every rose has its thorns. Just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song. Don’t even get me started on being only being halfway there . . . ’cause yeah, sometimes we’re just livin’ on a prayer. And even then, some will win, and some will lose, and yes, everyone will sing the blues . . . though, we still don’t really know what happens when doves cry but I think I have finally come to terms with that one.

               I’ve you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a fiercely proud child of that Jordache jean wearing, Goonies watching, shoulder pad stacked decade of all thing decadent, neon and coated in candy-colored Spandex dancing on glow-in-the-dark skates. See, I rang in my 8th year going in, and my 18th going out, so I am bona fide, street cred, fly mother on the dance floor working up a sweat.  I am a tried and true, fully Flintstone-vitamined, Man playing, pay phone talking, Gremlin loving, saccharin sipping, Pop Tart eating wild child of the ‘80s and I have lived to tell about it.

               I know there are those of you out there who are with me; those who loved Luke and Laura, Jack and Diane, The Smiths (NOT the Mr. & Mrs.), Jiffy Pop, the Brat Pack and Come on Eileen. Those of us who waited with baited breath and lost a whole lot of sleep trying to guess who shot JR, where exactly is Fraggle Rock and who was actually in the Funky Bunch, anyway?

               If you have no idea what I am talking about, I’ll break it down.

               ‘Cos it’s Hammer time. Here we go now:

                We grew up wanting all sorts of things: a little pink house, a Cindy Crawford mole, Brett Michael’s highlights and Night Rider’s talking car, Kitt.  We looked out our window every night thinking our boyfriend would really be playing In Your Eyes on a boom box the size of the engine out of his Toyota Corolla with added pinstripes the color of Baskin Robbins mint chocolate chip.

               But despite the excesses and freedoms and fun, my beloved ‘80s had its fair share of snafus; think Cabbage Patch dolls, New Coke, jelly shoes and acid-washed, high-wasted jeans. There were sad and tough times as well; the AIDs epidemic, the loss of the Challenger space shuttle, the Lockerbie flight to name a few.

               Then, there were great, history making events that shaped our future; like a lot of female firsts including the first Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor and our first lady into space, Ride, Sally Ride. And most importantly, we watched as Ronnie told Mr. Gorbachev to tear down that wall . . . and he did. Pretty, cool, right?

               I miss those days; I really do. When there were no palm-sized cell phones, Twitter, Facebook or Skype.

               I was thinking about this very thing the other day when I read something funny about my favorite ‘80s movie of all time, The Breakfast Club. I think it went something like this: If the Breakfast Club took place today, all of those kids would just be silently texting other people about their crappy Saturday and would have never become friends.

               I, like, oh my Gosh, SO, totally agree. Here are the final lines of the movie for my non-80s loving friends so you can decide for yourselves. One of the leads, Judd Nelson, gives a voiceover of a letter – an actual written letter – the students had to submit to their principle after spending the whole day in detention together:

Dear Mr. Vernon,


We accept that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it is we did wrong, but we think you’re crazy for making us write an essay telling us who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain,

And an athlete,

And a basket case,

A princess,

And a


 Does that answer your question?


The Breakfast Club


               I guess that’s why I hang on to the ‘80s – to my youth – seeing as they are as interchangeable as my old ceramic plates on my trusty vintage crimping iron.

               It’s because they mean something. Something that could not be spelled out, as John Hughes wrote, “in the simplest of terms and most convenient of definitions” or condensed into acronym-ed texts that say absolutely nothing special, intelligent or sincere.

               See, we did not have Yik Yak, YouTube or Twitter. Nor did we have email, texting or cells. We actually hung out together. And though epic, there were no embarrassing links to our escapades that, unlike our faded Polaroids, can now embarrassingly stalk a person from an old Instagram account until the end of time.

               We were lucky, instead, to be given the gift of being able to be legends – sure, mostly in our own minds, but bad asses all the same – while living our glory days to our very own soundtrack, one that wasn’t Pandora’d or Songified.

               So, as the Beastie Boys once wrote, “I did it like this and I did it like that,” followed up by some, “U can’t touch this.”

               Peace out, y’all. And as E.T. always said, don’t forget to phone home.


Laura Packard recently moved to Beaufort from Saint Simons Island, GA where she still pens a humor column for Coastal Illustrated/Brunswick News. She has brought along her 2 daughters, 3 dogs, 4 cats and one husband. They sometimes let her write. You can learn more about Laura and her writing at And don’t forget, if you can’t make fun of yourself, someone else will surely do it for you. For Laura, someone else is usually her kids… and her dog, Atlas who she swears is John Candy reincarnate, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.