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pleiades's avatar

Would you please describe your memories of growing up in the 90s to me?

Asked by pleiades (6538 points ) January 31st, 2014

Also were you in your teenager years? Young adult? Give me everything man just go all out on this one, write a freaking column post! Give me your fondest memories, your stance on politics then and now, what you miss most and do you see any similarities between then and now.

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28 Answers

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Juels's avatar

I turned 18 in 1990. Was still hooked on hair-band rock (Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, etc.), drove a ‘69 Ford Falcon. Lord of the Rings was still a book (and cartoon). Wayne’s World made complete sense and head banging to Bohemian Rhapsody was cool. On Friday and Saturday nights, we’d cruise (cruisin’) the main strip, perform the occasional Chinese fire drill and talk up guys. My parents had huge bag cell phones. Our jeans were tight-rolled, stone-washed, and ripped. I think my computer was running Windows 3.0.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I graduated hs in 1991. It was a very fun time in my life, of course, singing Extreme and listening to 2 Live Crew, Milli Vanilli, George Michael. Drinking Strawberry Hill and wine coolers and Mad Dog grape, oh and what was that grape Everclear- Purple Passion…lol Oh and MTV still ran videos, which was cool. VCR’s were still cool and filiming everything was a must for all the cool kids (we borrowed my besty’s mom’s.) Pool was very big as was Garth Brooks and S-10s with big speakers. All the kids in my area wore boots with fringe and had cb’s.

Back then I could have cared less about politics frankly, partying was the only thing on my agenda. Jeff Dahmer and Mike Tyson were big news, that’s really all I remember.

Now I’m a super-responsible liberal Republican that probably cares a little too much, and am ashamed of my ‘my vote doesn’t matter’ attitude back then.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Juels Bagged cell phones, hahaha, forgot that, that is hilarious!! You should totally see my video tapes, so funny. Remember the rugs, the yarnlike hoodie things? I saved like three of them and now they’re back in style woo hoo!!

Cruiser's avatar

The 90’s started with my first marriage and that ended 14 months later. I then met my current wife and the mid 90’s was our time to start a family. 1996 I sold my 2 businesses to work for the company I am at now (which I bought 3 years ago). So the 90’s was mostly raising the kiddies, bizarre events like the Clinton Lewinski scandal and the notorious OJ Simpson trial and one of my all time favorite movies ever…Goodfella’s.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Beavis & Butthead were cool, too.

ragingloli's avatar

@KNOWITALL
I thought they were abominations.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli Then you were too sober…lol

cookieman's avatar

Let’s see…

I started college in 1989, so the first half of the 90s was working 30+ hrs/week and going to school full-time.

The second half of the 90s was working two jobs, paying off debt, buying a house, remodeling said house, getting married.

Socially, it was the best time of my life. We had great groups of friends, always doing something fun, and traveled a lot.

muppetish's avatar

Between July 1990 and July 1999, I was 1–10. As a result, the entirety of what I would refer to as my “childhood” was spent in the 90s.

My memories during the earlier years in the decade (1990–1994) are fuzzy for me. The majority of what I recall with the most nostalgia can be divided into “what I watched” and “what I played” (because that’s what I did as a child.)

I remember watching plenty of cartoons, especially the ones that aired on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Kids WB. When I was younger, I religiously watched Barney, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and Sailor Moon. When I was slightly older, my siblings and I watched The Simpsons every night, even if it was “Who Shot Mr. Burns: Part I” for the five-thousandth time in a row. We saw The Lion King at least five times. In the latter half of the decade, I got really into Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Nick Jr cartoons (even though I was “too old” for those shows.)

My dad bought both the NES and SNES. Although I didn’t play them as much as my older brother, I did have games that I connected with and now have fond memories of, such as _Super Mario World II: Yoshi’s Island. We also had a ton of board games (even ones missing pieces, like Mouse Trap.)

I also had a shit-ton of toys. My parents would buy us things at secondhand stores and since they weren’t expensive, we accumulated a lot of swag. We had collections of pogs, Beanie Babies, action figures, whole Little People sets, legos, etc.

I don’t have 90s-specific memories of what I listened to, because I wasn’t into contemporary music at the time. I hated the boy bands and rap music that the kids at school were listening to, and didn’t get into the rock music from the 90s that I now enjoy until I was in college. The majority of what I listened to was on K-Earth—our local “oldies” radio.

Since I was a child, I wasn’t very aware of politics. I could recognize George H.W. Bush from The Simpsons and Bill Clinton from his appearances on Nickelodeon and Animaniacs, but didn’t know anything about their policies (just that my parents favored one over the other). I remember hearing about the elections on the news, and various court cases and scandals, but didn’t have anything that resembled an informed opinion on them.

One thing that I can garner from this reflection is that I was very much a product of consumer culture and media immersion. I would be interested in comparing notes to the generation after mine to see if their experience was even more heavy on media exposure.

I didn’t mean to write all of this, but I am avoiding a real writing deadline, so..

bolwerk's avatar

The only thing I really miss about that time period is not hearing about fucking 9/11 every day.

Here are some You Had To Live Them To Believe It memories, partly explained.

Food: fast food was unquestionably more popular. I don’t think foodie culture really existed yet.

TV: The Simpsons appalled suburban parents. Beavis & Butt-Head really peeved people. For some reason, people liked Urkel (I can’t explain it).

I stopped watching TV regularly circa 1996, and haven’t had a TV since 2006.

Other pop culture: Nude magazines were coveted treasures for every teenager. Women in porn still had hair on the junk. Grunge? Hipsters still have the look, but the music seems mostly gone now.

I think the most groundbreaking changes have been in tech:

• early 1990s: editing autoexec.bat to desperately get a little more “high memory” in my 486 DX.

• Before 1995 or so: Windows and Macs already existed, but computer gaming was almost exclusively done in DOS. Windows was for the office or for using nascent online services. Designers used Macs, which were practically one-trick ponies until OS X. Laptops were mostly monochrome, at least until the late 1990s.

• Big fat CRT monitors took precious real estate on every desk

• sometime around 1993, I got a multimedia kit for my computer. It came with a National Geographic CD with incredibly short video clips on it. My father told me that it might one day be possible to play a full screen video.

• 1995: suddenly everyone started posting a URL in their ads.

• before that, old skool CompuServe had real celebrities on it’d and they’d casually talk to you. Later on, EVERYONE was on AOL, at least for a little while. I still have an AIM account running in Pidgin.

• mobile phones were for affluent businessmen until the late 1990s.

• Internet security was comical, especially on Windows.

• BBSes: dial-in terminals people would use to communicate, even access some basic Internet services by proxy (e.g., email or UUCP). If you don’t know, it would be hard to explain today. They were probably at their peak in 1995, and practically extinct by 1997.

• mid-1990s: downloaded Slackware Linux in 24 hours on a 33.6 kbps modem in 1996 or 1997. Just gave it up late last year. :(

• Throughout the decade: Apple struggled in financially strapped obscurity, Micro$oft was the devil.

Gaming: 8-bit Nintendo lived into the mid-1990s. SNES v. Genesis was a really big deal; almost any boy who was a tween in the early-mid 1990s was very emotionally invested.

Politics: the Republikans were already play-with-their-own-poop batshit nuts, and seem downright sane next to the current crop.

Urban areas were full of ravenous minorities whose sole biological function was to rape-murder you for your tennis shoes. Rudy Giuliani fixed that. True fact.

Bonus link: Here’s M$ trying to tug at your heartstrings with some 1990s nostalgia. Amusing, but doesn’t make me want to use their crappy products. It includes a lot of trite stuff. Those snap-on-your-wrist bracelets had a brief explosion of popularity in 1990; I don’t remember ever seeing them again.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I graduated from High School in 1995, it was all about shedding 80’s hair bands and donning the ubiquitous flannel shirt & doc Martens. I actually rotated between tie dye shirts and Iron Maiden t-shirts. I never did the grunge thing. I remember printing out papers using a dot matrix printer and using “windows” 3.1. on a i386. I remember my NES was starting to show it’s age and you had to do things like carefully position or blow on the cartridges to get them to work. I had a beat-to-shit ford escort and worked at dairy queen in H.S. then shift factory work at night and school during the day. I played in rock bands till ~ 98. Parties were good through the turn of the century then I got serious and got a real job. Politically I was a confused liberal like everyone else in my circles my age and in my part of the country.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Oh yeah, don’t forget offices with typewriters and ashtrays on every desk, too.

Juels's avatar

Smoking and non-smoking flights.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Metallica, Megadeath and Slayer t-shirts yo!

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cookieman's avatar

Where the hell is @90s_Kid when you need him?!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@all Answering machines and changing your intro was VERY important..lol, especially if you had friends and did it together. Oh, and that baby-crap yellow was in style, I hated it, like an ugly gold color, blah. Loose harem-style pants, too.”

Seek's avatar

I was born in late 1985.

I still lived with my dad until mid-1994. These were my golden years of staying up all night playing NES video games (and the occasional Atari). We had a computer, but all my dad knew how to do was play chess. I tried to tell him Uncle Ralph taught me how to use his computer, but no one trusted me on ours. So it sat there.

I remember filling out a voting card from the newspaper to determine which comic strips should keep appearing, and I remember being incredibly sad when Calvin and Hobbes was cut.

I remember dancing with joy in the living room when the TVGuide announced a new cable channel: Cartoon Network.

CBS Kids – Saturday Morning.

Watching Star Trek: The Next Generation every week with my dad. And reruns of Bonanza.

Getting into trouble for quoting Bart Simpson.

Favourite movies: The Beastmaster, Karate Kid, Three Ninjas, Surf Ninjas, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the first and second, screw the third one). Lots of ninjas, haha.

Awesome themed cereal, and not a single whole grain to be found. Examples: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – Those are arrows. Arrows I say! – Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. Combo Box – that was a big hit in my house. I got Zelda. My little brother got Mario. Little sister was too young to eat cereal yet. Haha!

Beakman’s World and Bill Nye the Science Guy

I definitely dressed like Stephanie Tanner when I wasn’t sporting my Thundercats T-Shirt

In July of 94 I moved to Florida, and in with my grandmother and aunt who is six years older than me. Immediately I was thrown into pre-teen obsession mode (the Dark Times, I like to call them.)

Enter the New Mickey Mouse Club – I can still do the name list from the beginning. And for what it’s worth, I hated Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears from day one. Keri Russell was my favourite, and that guy named Josh. I have no idea what he’s doing these days.

And my aunt had this CD some boy band called The BackStreet Boys. They didn’t have an album released in the US yet, but my grandmother had taken in a German foreign exchange student a few years before, and she had sent the CD to my aunt.
When their first self-titled American CD was released, I was upset that the song “Darlin’” was nowhere to be found. I remember in 6th grade (So, ‘96, 97) we were supposed to bring in a CD of music we like, and I was made fun of for liking that group. A few years later they released “Millennium” and everyone was utterly apeshit for the Backstreet Boys and I was over it and into metal and hardcore, and early 90s R&B like Blackstreet and Usher.

In the late 90s I found religion. But that’s no fun to talk about so let’s stick with pop culture.

Favourite TV in the late 90s:
The X Files Definitely.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Friends

Favourite books:
Lurlene McDaniel’s young adult sob story series about dying kids called One Last Wish. I was pretty depressed anyway, so it was nice to read about people whose lives were empirically worse than mine, even if they were fake.
The Babysitter’s Club Read mostly because someone gave me a box of these books, literally over a hundred, and reading was more interesting than talking to my family.
Fear Street because I was so much cooler than those kids who read Goosebumps.
Animorphs
Everworld – because mythology is awesome.

And by Y2K I was 15.

SwanSwanHummingbird's avatar

Slackers
Doc Martens
Apathy

hearkat's avatar

@muppetish – My son was born in the spring of ‘91, so most of what you wrote mirrors what I remember of his childhood – with the exception of Sailor Moon and the Nintendo systems – I was a mean mom who didn’t allow video games until he was 9 or 10. He did have games to play on the Mac, though… Reader Rabbit, The Backyard, Math Blasters, Dr. Brain, etc.. Lego came out with a CD-ROM game and Muppet Treasure Island was pretty advanced (though that might have been early 2000s…).

trailsillustrated's avatar

It was a great time! I had just graduated dental school with no student loans! So I had lots of money, lived in a really cool little cabin in the west hills, had a sports car and a poopy old cessna 150. We took it everywhere. The party was on! I saw Nirvana for free at a big old place in Seattle called the Barn. I saw the dandy warhols and everclear for free too. We dressed really crazy in 70’s clothes and platform shoes. I don’t remember watching much tv. I was dating a rich guy that had a cell phone! it was a brick phone. It was so much fun. On y2k I was on a radio show discussing investments, the host asked me if I was prepared. I said I had a can of beans in the cupboard. I wasn’t worried and didn’t care. I sure remember ren and stimpy, and a computer cartoon called Radiskull and devil doll. And I remember being at my first job when they started bombing in that first gulf war. I was scared. And flying back and forth to australia and you could smoke on the plane! and the galleys would be just FULL of people sitting on the floor, drinking huge cans of foster’s, and smoking.

GloPro's avatar

NES Super Mario Brothers 3 and Contra. NKOTB… Jordan was so dreamy! Milli Vanilli, I really hate how hard it is to track those songs down now that no one knows who really sang them.
It was safe for me to walk 20 minutes up the two lane streets to get to my friend’s house without anyone having to drive me.
I had 4 television channels, an Fox was the risqué one. If you consider Married With Children risqué.
Belly shirts, body suits. Curling iron burns on my forehead.
Duke or Carolina took every NCAA tournament win there for awhile. Grant Hill is the man!
And Zima. Can’t forget the Zima. With a Jolly Rancher in it. Crystal clear Pepsi, anyone?

Seek's avatar

Bacon? Bacon? I smell bacon. Only one thing smells like bacon and that’s bacon. Bacon, bacon bacon bacon THERE, on the bag, what’s it say? I CAN“T READ!!! Please, please give me what’s in the bag! Chewy, yummy, smoky BACON!!!

,,, No, it’s Beggin Strips, brand dog snack from Purina. Dogs don’t know it’s not bacon.

IT’S BACON!!!

….............Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

Clap, clap!

Ch-ch-ch-CHIA!

You turn the plank, and snap the crank, and boot the marble right down the chute. Then watch it roll and hit the pole, and knock the ball into the rub-a-dub tub, which hits the man into the can. The trap is set; here comes the net!

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