Two things happened that inspired this post.
The first thing: A close friend and I were shooting back and forth during a conversation about what things from the 90’s we missed, we’re 90’s kids. Things like pogs, the way kids were back then compared to our kids, the way music was, and so the conversation unfolded. May I add here we also talked about things we did as latchkey kids, what we got away with, and things our parents would’ve never stood for.
The second thing: I came across a blog that differed from anything I’d ever seen before. It’s called Eight Year Old Me. I could tell this blogger is someone I would’ve loved to have known back in the day. My favorite post so far they’ve done was covering pogs, with pictures!
I could even relate, as a 90s kid, to seeing things that were staples of my childhood and teen years starting to go away. For example: Radio Shack, arcades that were stand-alone in the mall, small toy stores, Sam Goody’s, or even renting a movie from a Blockbusters. It stings a little, the soundtrack of my childhood is now considered ‘retro’ or ‘oldies’ (as if I needed to be reminded I’m getting older >.>).
Granted, some of the things from my childhood have started to come back, like Surge and Tamagotchi (thanks to my husband for the Christmas gift of good memories). Lunchables never went away, but did morph into big lunches with drinks (Uploaded with Drink). As a kid it was rare if I got a lunchable, but I usually got some sorta drink of my choosing and it didn’t come with it. It wasn’t until I became a parent I discovered they had come with them. Such an idea! I only liked the cheese and ham ones, sometimes I’d get feisty and spring for a turkey meat with cheese cause I wanted to feel fancy (yeah, I was odd sometimes and what do you know I still am).
I had forgotten about pogs until I came across a post on Facebook, I joined a group for 90s kids ages ago: The Nostalgic 90s. I still remember having a orange tube that held all my pogs in it. I had it taken up during class one day after another classmate asked to see them. It sat on the left of the classroom on the teacher’s file cabinet until the end of the day (I was in the 4th grade at the time and still remember the tragic day like it just happened). I had to rush to go out the door so I didn’t miss my bus and I figured it’d be safe until the next day so I left it there.
Horror-struck when I discovered that the tube, along with all my pogs and my slammers, had been taken at some point that next morning or after I left the day before. I still don’t know who took it. I remember the teacher saying she didn’t know and telling me I should’ve grabbed it if it was so important. She was right, I should’ve taken a minute to grab it, but it devastated me as a kid.
It’s a cold case labeled: Mystery of the Orange Pog Tube in my memories now. I’d probably have some choice words for the theft if I ever found who. >.>
It wasn’t until later in life I heard the game I knew as pogs was also known as milk caps.
What is a latchkey kid?
I will explain it based on what I know and not some official definition. A latchkey kid was a kid that was left home alone for x amount of time until a parent came home from work.
I didn’t become a latchkey kid officially until about 5th grade. During the time I was one I had no idea it was a ‘thing’ we didn’t have the net back then so I didn’t have a search engine to flood me with answers. I had a library I went to for that answers when I had questions. I also didn’t know about any laws or if there even was one. I was even a babysitter during some of these years. During the years I was one, before my teen years, I didn’t think much of it. It was a ‘normal thing’ for myself and other kids I knew to be trusted to come home safely.
The rules I remember having were as listed below:
- Don’t use the stove. (Why lunchables were so important and because: Parent Quote: Don’t you dare start a damn fire in this house!)
- Lock the door behind you when you come home. Including the deadbolt.
- Don’t invite friends over. (This was followed with a long list of reasons why. For example: Parent Quote: I’m not cleaning up their messes, I know you won’t.)
- Don’t go in our closet! (That was a big one. I did it once, found stuff I wish I hadn’t and never did it again. :shutters: Sorry, Mom.)
- If you use something turn it off when done. (Parent quote: We’re not air conditioning the damn apartment complex.)
- Don’t lose your key! (Usually a key on a string around my neck or stuffed in my backpack with string still hanging on it, I never thought I’d lose my backpack. Thankfully, I never did or I would’ve had to wait for a parent to get home (an hour or more depending) to lecture me about responsibilities and the cost of a copy because ‘we don’t have money to waste’).
There were a few other rules, but I can’t remember them exactly so can’t quote. I did have rules involving talking to strangers, letting people in that were family/friends, opening doors/windows, protocol for answering the phone (when we had one), getting my homework done, or setting down some sort of meat for dinner so it would thaw.
Sometimes I’d find a list from my mother of things she wanted me to do to help out since I was the first one home. As I typed that I just realized this is where I got my list making skills (Sorry, to my spouse, for turning more into my mother o,o).
My mother still holds guilt over me being a latchkey kid. I don’t blame her for it. It was just a different time. I didn’t blame my dad when he was still alive either. It was just something that happened in my life in the early/mid 90s. I knew even back then they had to work.
I feel it helped me grow some as a person. I felt my parents trusted me on some level. They had to. I never burnt the apartment/house down. I learned how to cook for myself without a stove (I was a cold food gourmet chef!), and I got access to the television. Which I never got once my dad got home. I don’t feel neglected because I was one either. I got on the school bus alone, went to school alone, came home to being alone, and then my parents came home, that was my usual routine.
Were you a 90s kid? Where you a latchkey kid? What do you miss? Let me know in comments!