My Childhood Years On Long Island:
Life on Long Island was pretty good during the 80’s. I attended the Uniondale Public School system up till the 7th grade when at that time my parents decided to put me in Catholic School. During the 80’s the Uniondale Public School System was about as racially diverse as it would ever get. Case in point, see the enclosed picture of my sixth grade class.
School days were structured differently back then. I ended up walking the 1/4 mile to school and back everyday. When the school-day was out we were usually allowed to play outside until it got dark. Then it was time to go inside, dinner, homework, TV, bed. That was the day. There were not too many other distractions.
This was all before the internet and computers had not entered the household as of yet. As a matter of fact, the internet’s big bang was in 1989, the year I graduated High School. We did have gaming systems but certainly didn’t spend a ton of time playing them. I had the original NES. There was really not much to distract you, besides the TV, from your homework. I think we might have had 2 TV’s in the house, nothing more. Many of the shows on at the time were geared towards the whole family, Cosby Show, Growing pains and such. I don’t think we’ll ever see shows the whole family can watch together ever again. They were made during a time when the whole family would sit in front of the TV together.
I must have been twelve when I started delivering newspapers for Newsday back in the early 80’s, the only job a kid could hold at the time. We were called Paperboy’s. Today this practice is long gone. This was the heyday of daily newspapers where, speaking from firsthand experience, practically every person on every block got the newspaper delivered. Just me, my bike and a shopping cart in all sorts of weather. This was an after school job for me so most people were getting their newspapers after 3pm. Not a problem since most people worked and did not get home till after 5pm. Imagine getting your paper after 5pm today? It’s old news! I have to admit it was great business experience at such a young age. I did the Newsday job till I was 16 when I was just old enough to work in a real job stocking shelves at a local pet food store.
During my childhood in the 80’s there certainly was not as much vehicular traffic, kids played out in the street with no fear of getting hit by cars, and during the summers we could hang out and ride our bikes till well after the sun went down. Our parents didn’t seem to mind either. There was no gang problem, there was no rampant drug problems and as a matter of fact most of the problems Hempstead is having today were only just starting to pop up.
I certainly do miss the Long Island of the 80’s but if we turned back the clock I would also miss this time of my life too and I would miss my iPhone. ;)
Friday I’ll have posted my “Early Adult Years” and for Sunday I’ll have “Adult Years 2.0“.