Thursday, June 24, 2010

What were YOU Doing in the 80s?


 Dig out your neon, your teased dos, your pointy shoes and your vinyl! We're going back to the 80s! 

That was on the invitation from Poetikat to do an 80s Retro Blog Post today.

I gotta say -- my 80s weren't like that. We were in full back-to-the-land mode -- milking, gardening, raising a crop of tobacco every year, and making use of child labor.  The two young uns below are my son Ethan and my nephew Andrew. They are helping to pull tobacco plants from the seed bed for us to set out in the field. It would be sometime in June.  This picture and the next are probably circa 1979 but we were still doing this in the 80s.

 
And this below is a letter from me to my grandparents (whom I called 'Ba' and 'Hudy') back in Tampa, telling them something about our life and how we harvest the tobacco.

And this last picture would be in August or September. The harvested tobacco is on the truck, ready to be hung in the barn. Justin is helping by picking up loose tobacco leaves.

Nope, no neon, no teased dos (John's hair is naturally curly), and absolutely no pointy shoes. We did have vinyl records back at the house.

And I did love our 80s.
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26 comments:

joanny said...

Lovely walk back in time -- 80's nostalgia. So nice you kept the letter, your farm was really a special place back then as it evolved even better over time.
Like you I had no pointy shoes or teased hair that was the mid 60's for me --- anyway we didn't have a beautiful farm here in Oregon but a large garden and did some canning and freezing and a little soap making and went to farms for u - pick produce. My first son was born in 79 and I went back to work when he was 2 yrs old -- it was hectic. Joanny

Reader Wil said...

Great nostalgic post! I remember the 80s as a time that I spent studying English. I got two certificates, allowing me to teach English. I started doing so from 1979 to 2005, working with adult students, which was great fun. But I am still learning.

Merisi said...

I love your 80s too! :-)

Martin H. said...

Lovely shots from the 80s and a fascinating account of the harvest, in the those handwritten letters to your grandparents. So important to keep these things. I used to write regularly to my grandparents after we moved away to have our own 'adventure'. I treasure those replies.

Pat in east TN said...

I guess we were doing about the same thing as you were, only on the other side of the county. Aaaah, those were the days though, and what's funny is our youngest son was reminiscing the other night about the fun of growing up at such a time/place. Guess even with the hard work/long days/remote living, a good time was had by all!

Brian Miller said...

how cool that you have that note...in teh 80s my hair was long and my head was banging...

Subby said...

L'see...high school and then I kinda missed the last half( being as I was in th' Navy we weren't in home port much )...I still have no clew what went on...!

Ms EM said...

The 80's for me consisted of graduating HS '81, baby in '81, married & divorced '81 and being broke in '81. After that I grew up, moved to the big city, got a good job and learned that life was what you made of it! This sounds like the makings of a good ole' country song!

June said...

I think the tobacco harvesting is something I would have to see in person to understand. It looks like back-breaking work; I get that much.

The '80s were the first decade of my marriage, so there was all that adjusting to do. And I was breaking my back waiting tables as many hours as I could. When I wasn't working I was working out on Nautilus machines. I looked good.
But boy! Was I tired!

Friko said...

My eighties were nothing like that; city bound and work bound already and not liking any of it.

In fact, I shall now have to go back to the diaries of the time and see if anything at all pleasant happened. Those were the Thatcher years here, years full of strife and disunity.

Jean Baardsen said...

It sounds like none of your readers had the stereotyped 80's. We were living on a sailboat (yes, that's Tropic Moon's picture), including four years in the Mediterranean. I - happily - missed all the TV shows, movies and music of the 80s.

Vicki Lane said...

Joanny -- my first son was born in 72 and I took him with me to my job (teaching in a private school)when he was six weeks old. As you say, hectic.

Wil - your English seems to me pretty much flawless. And I know you speak a number of other languages -- so impressive to me. We Americans are so often monoglot.

Martin -I was fortunate that my grandparents saved my letters -- and I inherited them.

Pat -- Only last night my younger son and my nephew were here for supper and my nephew was going through the pictures and showing his three year old pictures of 'Little Daddy.'

Being on the farm with young children, I was almost as isolated as it I'd been on a sub, Subby. Nor do I have a clue about what was going on out in the world. Mostly we didn't have a TV and when we did, only got one station and that rather fuzzy.

Whew, Mrs. EM -- '81 was a year to remember for you! Yes, it has the makings of a country song -- just add a dog, a train, and a pickup truck.

June -- Working in tobacco was about as good as doing Nautilus -- I looked pretty good then too.

Friko -- Surely there must have been a few pleasant moments...

Poetikat said...

Wow! That was the antithesis of MY 80s, apart from the fact that I did bend over a few times in the course of dancing.
Sounds like a heck of a lot of work, but idyllic nonetheless. In fact, your photos are making me think of Neil Young's album, "Harvest".

Thanks so much for participating!

Kat

NCmountainwoman said...

When I look back on the early 80s I can't believe that person was really me. Not working, a maid two days a week, doing charity work, playing in two bridge groups and spending summer days with the children at "the club." Glad to say I woke up again in the last half of the decade and realized once again that I was more than "someone's wife."

Tammy said...

The 80s just seem to be low key to me--nothing really defines it in my world, I guess. I was graduating school, entering the work force, moving out on my own etc--so some great things happening...oh and I did have some big hair at times. ;-) No pointy shoes or disco. The 60s and 70s were just so flamboyent and turbulant at times, and I guess those were the decades I was most impressionable as they are what I remember more. Seeing the pictures of the tobacco harvest was very interesting! I love how your letters have little illustrations too. :-)
Tammy

Helen T in SC said...

I don't remember much about the 80s other than it was the decade I fell in love with the Chicago Cubs. (Lifetime South Carolinian, however.) I would chart Cubs games I saw on TV and would go see the Cubs when they came to Atlanta. Actually met my favorite baseball player, Ryne Sandberg, in '88. It was the decade of the great American game for me.

Vicki Lane said...

Yes, the 80s were very different for you too, Jean!

It was fun digging out the old memories, Kat!

That might have been me, NCmoutainwoman. I was in the Jr. League and doing Good Works but then I came to a fork (pitchhfork?) in the road . . .

My big hair was back in the 60s, Tammy.

Well, that's a different take on the 80s, Helen!

willow said...

Love your wonderful earthy 80s, Vicki! Super post.

Niamh B said...

Beautiful amazing pictures, and it's so interesting to see the different things we were all up to then!
Brilliant to see the letter too...

maría cecilia said...

So nice coming back to the 80`s Vicki!!! I love seeing your youngs working on the field. It reminds me so many things my parents use to do.
cariños,
maria cecilia

bo parker said...

Vicki, you guys were doing tobacco in the 80s identically to the way my grandfather did it in the 40s, the same way he learned as a child around the turn of the last century.
I'm not certain there was a hotter or harder job on the farm than cutting, sticking, and getting the tobacco hung in the barn. And at the same time, "sticking," required a certain knack, if it was done correctly. The later chore of "handing off" was for me, something that I never mastered.
As I drive about the countryside and see all the now defunct tobacco auction barns, I wonder if Burley tobacco is still being farmed and sold the traditional way.

Leah said...

This is really interesting--beautiful pictures.

I love thinking about how different everyone's experience really is.

I loved reading this one.

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks, Willow and Niamh and Maria Cecelia!

That was what intrigued us, Bo -- the fact that we had more or less dropped back in time -- at least where the tobacco was concerned. John plowed and cultivated with mules and, I swear, we used crooked sticks to dig holes to set the plants.

Glad we did it -- glad we're not doing it now.

Around here the only tobacco being grown, to my knowledge, is with tractors and lots of migrant labor. But the harvest and the curing hasn't changed.

Star said...

How very interesting to read about and it has explained a mystery to me too. The lady opposite me in the apartment block has one of those baskets hanging on her deck. I have wondered what it is for weeks. Now I know! Thank you for such an enlightening post. I really enjoyed it.
Blessings, Star

Tipper said...

Love the photos-and the letter is so neat too. In the 80's I was a teenager-with all the angst and turmoil that sometimes goes along with it.

Susan M. Bell said...

Two years after the fact, and I come upon this blog post of yours. How funny. I was born in '69, so was a teenager in the '80s. Ah the music, the neon clothes, the teased up and sprayed bangs. (Ever see a picture of the group Flock of Seagulls? Man, were we all crazy or what?) And the music! I loved everything from pop to rap to heavy metal to classical....but also the albums from the 70s that belonged to my brothers and my mom. Those songs remind me of my preteen/teen years as well: John Denver, Simon & Garfunkel, etc. **sigh**