Just imagine someone awakening after being asleep or on a deserted island since 1990. They might think they woke up on another planet, especially if you offer to send an Uber or Lyft to pick them up. Be ready for a blank stare. Did you mention food you ordered online would be delivered soon by Grubhub, Postmates, or DoorDash? There’s that blank look again. Thirty years ago, the only meal being delivered to a home was pizza – and it wasn’t ordered online.
In 1990, “zoom” was a word we used to describe the speed of fast cars and airplanes, not remote meetings from our home or office. Terms like “smart” phones, “smart” TVs, “blue tooth,” and “streaming” weren’t in our vocabulary.
Remember your boombox? That was how we rocked out to tunes by Madonna, Billy Joel, Janet Jackson, Cher, Bon Jovi, and Garth Brooks, to name a few. Now we plug in our EarPods and listen to our playlist via our smartphone.
In 1990, many of us carried pagers instead of cell phones; price probably had much to do with it. Motorola’s MicroTAC cell phone sold for $3000 in 1990, according to Physics Factbook, and the batteries lasted about 90 minutes – but two million Americans owned one. And that portable landline telephone in the kitchen or den? It was the size and weight of a brick, and you had to extend the long antenna to hear a caller. I don’t miss it.
Movie theaters in 1990 were date-night favorites, but who would have thought 30 years later we would enjoy hit movies in theaters with reclining seats and food-drink service? Movies we loved in 1990 included Oscar-winner Driving Miss Daisy. It won three Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Jessica Tandy, and co-starred Morgan Freeman, who drove Miss Daisy around. The Best Actor award went to Daniel Day-Lewis for My Left Foot.
In sports, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Denver Broncos to win the Superbowl. Baseball season ended with the Cincinnati Reds winning the World Series over the Oakland A’s. There was a Major League Baseball lockout that year, but no games were cancelled. That was good news, especially for the Reds.
So, what did we wear to movies and sporting events? We gals loved our stretch pants and leggings with stirrups. There were no crop pants – you had to have your cool stirrup pants. Our gym wear also included leg warmers. Guys favored jeans or khaki Dockers paired with their favorite flannel shirt. Flannel and the “grunge” look, made popular in Seattle, worked around the country.
Our most fashionable career looks included pantsuits sporting more than ample shoulder pads, which I think were supposed to make your waist and hips look slimmer. Something popular in 1990 you would not wear with a pantsuit was Doc Martens boots. Instead, you teamed that pantsuit with platform heels or wedgies.
Someone who most likely didn’t wear platform shoes was explorer and fossil collector Susan Hendrickson. She discovered the largest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex on August 12, 1990, on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota. In her honor, the T-Rex is commonly known as “Sue T-Rex.” It’s on display at the Field Museum in South Dakota.
Closer to home, 1990 was the year the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum opened in his hometown of Yorba Linda. Presidential libraries are wonderful capsules of history. I’ve visited Nixon’s, Reagan’s, and JFK’s, and I hope to visit others.
Back in 1990, our freeways were clogged and a lot of folks were anxious for the Metrolink to open. It was under construction in 1990, but the initial rides didn’t happen until October of 1992.
Another event that happened in 1990 was the launching of WestCoast magazine. Congratulations and Happy 30th to Publisher Liz Cahn-Castruita and the entire WestCoast team!
Terri Daxon is a writer/contributor for Southern California newspapers and other publications