Those hair(y) days…into the 90s…

Mid 2019, blogpal @traciyork shared a selection of family photos from her childhood.  It set us chatting about how photos like those reflect the essence of the period through the fashions:  furniture, clothing and, of course hair.

It made me contemplate the very few photographs I have of myself as a young adult in the 80’s.  The era of big hair, bigger shoulder pads and great the best music.

They were the days of Kodachrome and Instamatic.  Photographs, unless they were professional, were often hit and miss.  Not everyone had a camera.  In my youth it was more miss than hit.

It occurred to me that in a time when it seems the world has stopped, to go through my shoe boxes and to keep that promise.  It was also, to some extent spurred on by longtime university friends sharing photos of a spring vacation in 1982.


It’s a mixed blessing that decades perfectly mark certain eras in my life.  So it is with the 80’s that saw me finish school, head to university and then to work in Johannesburg.  Those were seminal years.  They were also among the happiest in my life and what I did, and the people I met continue to shape who I am and what I do.  Some of those early friendships endure.  Happily.

As I finished school, in 1980, the BeeGees were in their heyday, Abba had had theirs and nobody had yet heard of Madonna.  I headed to my matric dance (prom) in braces:  I refused to smile for the camera.  We all wore frocks made from “trilobal”.  I refused to let my mother make my dress.  One of my happiest memories is of shopping for this dress – with my father.

An unsmiling, rather shy and awkward 17 year old in September 1980.

As I recall, we did dance to the BeeGees.  Every school dance I can remember always ended with the queen of disco.



The following year I headed to university.  The beginning of a new decade and on the cusp of adulthood.  All the photographs I could find of that year were of the “miss” variety.  The following year, 1982, is one of the happiest years I can remember.  I just seemed to begin to settle into my own skin.  A few weeks ago, there was some fun chat about those days on Facebook and particularly about a seaside vacation.

This 1982 hit always transports me back to that beach and little cottage by the sea.

Courtesy of Facebook – a photograph I knew nothing of until nearly 40 years later.

In the days that I comfortably wore “skinny” jeans.  I think we called them “stove pipes”.

Courtesy of Facebook:  photograph I knew nothing of, until a couple of months ago.

I shall not share a photo of the two of us taken just last year when Douglas and his family popped in to the market.  I didn’t know that we had been so beautiful.

Now two professional photographs:  the first for my campaign for election to the students’ representative council.

August 1983

The second, to mark my graduation and my 21st birthday.

May (ish) 1984

Two years later I headed to Johannesburg.  My first job was writing distance learning materials.  We wrote them in long hand and then took turns to type them up and into electronic format.  There were only two PCs available.

1986:  Taking my turn.  Floppy disks, bad hair and even worse earrings. They look like mint imperials. They were all the rage.

When I left that job, my wardrobe had to become more “corporate” and the hair followed suit (ha!).  I was also deeply involved in volunteer work, which required casual attire, and really, really formal, and everything in between.

1987:  The same outing as I wrote about here.

A lot more sedate as I “grew up”.


Dressed up for a charity day at the races.

Not negotiable: the seal of approval from my son from another mother.

This is what ended the decade:

1990:  No comment.

This 1989 song always takes me back to that apartment and that year:


Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post script

  • I’m participating in blogpal @tracyork’s April challenge of sharing a post every day during April – on the Hive blockchain. I succeeded last year – on Steemit from which the new blockchain “hived off”… and… it’s fortunate that today I had something to get off my chest!  And…
  • It seems a good way to constructively use the time during a compulsory lock down, right? For more about this initiative, please check out Traci’s post.

  • If you’d also like to both join the challenge and post from the WordPress platform to the Hive blockchain, sign up here.

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