Hot Combs And House Phones: 15 ‘Remember When’ Moments From Back In The Day

March 19, 2013  |  
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Channel Erykah Badu crooning back in the day while I take you back to those nostalgic, feel-good times when it seems there really weren’t too many cares in the world. We are the lucky ones, the 70’s and 80’s babies, who can roll back down memory lane when things get too hectic and zero in on a simpler time. Check out these 15 throw-back moments from childhood and early adulthood and see if you can identify.

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Soul Train

Remember when Don Cornelius’s gravely voice echoed against the walls of your living room, along with a multitude of solid gold dancers boogying to the latest tunes? You couldn’t wait to recreate the Soul Train line with your siblings, pop locking, snaking and shaking it fast! You didn’t need Dance Dance Revolution and the Michael Jackson Experience on Xbox Live to kick it.

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Mr. Telephone Man

Remember when you had to actually remember someone’s telephone number? You didn’t have a cell phone that held countless contacts, ruining your ability to memorize. Phone booths were also found on many street corners. Most folk have cell phones nowadays.

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Outside Fun

Remember ripping and running, screaming at the top of your lungs for no reason fun? Hide and go seek, freeze tag and red light- green light fun? What about mother, may I and jump rope? Outside was a world of discovery where you could find fun-all you needed was a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ called imagination!

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Home Sweet Home

Remember when you had to be home before the street light came on? And, oh-if you weren’t there, you’d be in a world of trouble. Your parents didn’t play around – have a blast outside, but when it’s time to come in, your behind better be on time.

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Pick The Switch

Speaking of trouble and behinds, remember when your granny used to make you go outside in the front yard and pick a switch from the tree for your whooping? Don’t act like it was just me, ya’ll! You would try to pick the thinnest one in the hopes that you wouldn’t feel as much pain.

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Hot Combs, Neck Burns and Hair Grease

Black and menacing, the hot comb would grin at me with its teeth while heating up on the stove. Remember when you had to get your hair straightened with the hot comb? And you dare not move an inch when mama would hit that kitchen for fear of a neck burn! You could hear the crackle of heat cook Blue Magic hair grease and hair at the same time.

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Easter Sunday

Remember shopping for your Easter dress with your mom? It was all pretty with lace and frills. And remember the mama threat to keep your hair looking nice so it would last for Easter Sunday?  How you wanted to play with the other kids, but quickly decided against it so you wouldn’t sweat your hair out.

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Music That Matters

Remember when you could actually understand and identify with what rappers were saying? It wasn’t all about money, sex, and cars. Remember when LL needed love? What about sultry singers like Whitney Houston, Anita Baker, Sade, Luther, Freddie Jackson – these were the artists blasting from our car radio speakers.

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What’s DVR?

Remember when you would listen to the radio for hours waiting on your favorite song to come on just so you could record it? Forget DVR, it was you doing the recording. There was no red button, pre-record option. It taught you patience . . . and gave you an affinity for other songs to make your top fav list.

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Pre-Face Time

Remember when you had actual conversations with people? Looked into someone’s eyes, laughed and chatted nonstop. I mean, it’s likely you still do, but far, far less than back in the day. There was no text, Face Time via iPad or FaceBook for that matter. And forget a Tweet…that was for the birds . . . literally.

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Radio RaHeem

Big stereo speaker box propped on pumped-up shoulder. It was all about the speaker swagg. Not only did he set the stage for sidewalk jam sessions, but he wanted everyone else to hear what he was jamming to. Now there’s iPods with earbuds-tiny devices that pack a big volume punch. Beats By Dre is a protege of the iconic speaker box.

Boxes and Jheri Curls

Dudes sported Gumby shaped hair cuts better known as the ‘box’  or  ‘flat top fade’ whilst women (and some men..ewwww) rocked the ever-so juicy jherri curl. Curls were shirt and couch ruiners, staining the backs with activator – a jheri curl’s lifeline. There was nothing like a lil’ Soul Glow back in the day.

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Spandex, Body Suits and Slouch Sock Sistahs

That tight, black pant that stretched along your curves like a second skin. Yes-spandex. You could rock it with a body-hugging bodysuit and turn some heads. And lets not forget about the scrunchy socks. How we loved the different colors to mix and match!

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Real TV

Remember TV pre-reality shows? You watched wholesome, warm and fuzzy comedy sitcoms like The Jeffersons, Cosby Show and A Different World. And we can not forget Good Times! Dynamite!

Say What?

Sike! She thinks she’s ALL THAT! Girl, he is too fly! Remember catchy words and phrases that found their way in your vocabulary?


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  • MsLadyE

    Some more “back in the day” moments:
    1. When adults corrected you when you did something wrong. And you’d get ANOTHER beating when your parents found out.
    2. Going to the hairdresser for a press and curl.
    3. When your mom bought you a hat, gloves, shoes, purse, socks, and hair ribbons to go with your Easter dress. And CANDY CURLS!!
    4. The RCA, Zenith, or Magnavox black and white TV in the living room.
    5. Girdles and garter belts.
    6. Typewriters, carbon paper, ribbons, onionskin paper, and white-out.
    7. High school typing class. (In “Men On Film” voice) HATED IT!!
    8. Rotary dial phones. And talking to a REAL operator, not a computer.
    9. Kickball, jump rope, Mother may I, tag, hide and seek, freeze, and hopscotch.
    10. The candy was THE BOMB back then! Butter Nut bars, circus peanuts, caramels, Red Hots, licorice, Sweet Tarts, candy necklaces, candy cigarettes, Goobers, Raisinets, orange slices, gumdrops, candied ginger, Oh Henry bars, Clark bars, Chunkys, and the bubble gum you got out of the machine for a penny. I’m surrprised I still have teeth left!

  • HoneyDipp

    What sticks out most to me about my childhood are the old school hand clap/jump rope rhymes — cinderella dressed in yella, uno dos siesta, down down baby down down the rollercoaster…… Ahhhhhhh mann! The good ole days! MN should def do an article on these….

  • I’m 25 years old and have NEVER been able to double dutch! I absolutely have to learn how to do that before my bones get too old and start turning into dust! LOL!

  • Janee

    So I definitely started playing “Back in the Day” by Ahmad while going through this list. Good times….good times….

    • Now I wanna go home and watch “The Wood”!!! LOL!

  • Lola 21

    Love the games we use to play, like red light green light, mother may I, also cassette tapes, oh and who can forget when you only had the house phone and was expecting a call from that special somebody, you made sure nobody was on the phone or tryna listen to your conversation on the other phone lol, Good ol’ days.

  • SunshineBlossom

    Times like these makes me miss the early 90s so much (I was born in the 80s)… I remember when candy was 5 cents a pop (back when we used the cent sign), 50 cent sodas and 25 cent jug juices, and 1.00 Pepsi… And the music was bumpin, and some of the fashion styles were off the hook (see what I did there?). Basically my iPod has music up until mid-late 90s (and some early 2000s).

    • Kay

      We are on the same page honey especially with the music . I also remember when you had to unplug the phone cord to use the internet. Lol

      • SunshineBlossom

        Right!!! Sometimes I would just purposely unplug the phone cord so I would have more time (with the 56k modem)…until my momma caught me, then it was lights out lol

    • Kma81

      And how about the candy we used to have? Now and laters , jingles, bazooka joe bubble gum… You could rack up with a dollar back in the day 🙂