Memories of a Lifetime: 1981-1985

1981 – The Town Talk started printing a morning paper in 1981, which meant that most of us in the composing room worked the night shift. I would work nights the last 24 years of my time with the Town Talk. The page makeup department would work from 4:30 PM till 1:00 AM.

1982 – Another year in which I am drawing a blank, as to what happened during that year. Nationally, the Gannett Corporation published the first copy of USA Today, which makes it 31 years old today.

Gasoline cost 91 cents in 1982. The first CD player was sold this year. A Sony 19 inch color TV was being sold for $499. You can buy a RCA 19 inch color TV at Wal-Mart today for only $124, a savings of $375 thirty-one years later.

One of the major events for me was that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was opened this year in Washington, D.C. The memorial is of particular interest to me, since the soldier that replaced me in Vietnam died two months after I left and his name and the name of my cousin from Maine are both on the wall. My cousin was a warrant officer flying a helicopter when shot down and killed.

1983 – This was the year we went to Disney World in Orlando, Florida and tickets only cost $18 back then. Epcot Center had opened the year before, so we also went to Epcot Center while at Disney World.

Later that summer we went to Greeneville, Tennessee to see my dad and his wife. You could walk out their back door and see the Smoky Mountains.

The Town Talk celebrated their 100th anniversary by giving each employee a coin, which can be cashed in during the year 2033. The paper will be 130 years old on March 17 of this year.

You could buy a Dodge RAM 50 truck for $5,665. You could buy a toy General Lee car from Dukes of Hazzard for $5.99.

1984 – By this time the years were running together with no particular memory of this year. By 1984 the price of a gallon of gas had skyrocketed to $1.10 a gallon, compared to 91 cents only two years earlier. The same Dodge RAM 50 truck that cost $5,665 in 1983 was selling for $8,995 in 1984. Movie tickets cost only $2.50.

1985 – Another year with no personal memories of it. Looks like when I hit my 40’s my memory bank had deposits less often.

Gasoline was a cent cheaper, than in 1984 with the price now $1.09. A Tandy computer and monitor system was $999. Bacon was a $1.65 a pound in 1985.

A Rolls Royce car for kids were being sold for $500. The vehicle was motorized with a top speed of 5 MPH and featured working headlights and brakes.

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