Thursday, April 10, 2014

Imagine That

I'm using my Thursday A-Z Challenge posts as an excuse to post some throwback photos. Today I'm throwing it all the way back to 1984.

I is for Insurance. Improvise. Innocent. Un-Imaginable.

Yes you are seeing that correctly, and you might be wondering why in the world we'd ever have taken a picture like this one. The reason is simple-insurance.

We were newlyweds and we bought something called Renter's Insurance because we were renters, and grown ups told us we should get some. We certainly wouldn't have wanted anything to happen to valuables like this one now, would we?

Actually no we wouldn't, because to a couple of kids starting out on their own, replacing a television  would have cost money we didn't have. I think the VCR was free. Or rather hubs earned it in some sort of incentive challenge at work. Yay hubs! So we took this picture, and more like it, of everything we owned. We signed up at the bank for our first safety deposit box, and we tucked those photos carefully inside in case we ever had to file an insurance claim. We didn't.

The TV is sitting on a wooden box, which I'm pretty sure no insurance company could replace-ha! I'm not sure where that box came from, but it might have been on someones curb prior to being in our living room. When I looked at this picture I noted it was crooked, but try as I might I couldn't get it straightened. Pretty sure its not the picture that's crooked. I think it's more likely the box wasn't 100% square, and consequently the TV sat a little off center.

Hey kids! In 1984 TVs had antennae! And dials! In 1984 you spent a lot of time standing in front of your TV wiggling the antenna this way and that to make the picture better. And turning the channel dial until you landed on something to watch. Don't feel sorry for us though. It's not like there were 300 to choose from. Back in 1984 you had the three major networks, PBS, and if you were lucky, UHF which gave you a couple of extra stations. Good times!

They were good times. They were innocent in the sense that your life together was out there for the making. They were the beginnings of your happily ever after.

Do you see the plant off to the side? In 1984 plants were 'furniture'. When you don't have a lot of furniture you learn to improvise, and great big plants were ideal space fillers. This one belonged to hubs brother's girlfriend. I'm not precisely sure how we ended up with it but we did, and that plant moved with us to six different homes in five different states. We had to give it away when we moved overseas, but if they'd let me put it on the shipment I would have.

In 1984 most newly marrieds didn't go to Pottery Barn and completely furnish houses they owned. Most couples we knew were living very much like us-in rented apartments filled with hand me down furniture and big houseplants to fill in the gaps. It was grand. I mean that.

It makes me smile when I think about our first home and the kids who lived there. It may have been an unremarkable two bedroom apartment, but it felt warm and cozy to us. What it lacked in the way of  elegant furnishings was more than made up for in rooms filled with love and possibility and big dreams just waiting to come true.

This December marks thirty years since I first sat as a Mrs. in front of our Christmas tree. That tree, like our apartment, was a little light on decoration. Like it knew to leave room for the little girl hand prints and the fragile Big Ben ornament and all the life lived that hangs there now.

I'm glad we started small. I'm glad we figured it out as we went along. I'm glad for the memory of our slightly under dressed first home, and the soft place from which a couple of kids were launched into a future that was all they imagined.

Plus a whole lot more.


  1. Oh goodness did this ever bring back memories. Yes, when we were first married we had the SAME old hand me down furniture and big plants and rabbit ears on our most prized possession...our TV, lol. We had renters insurance too as our parents also insisted. I have actually been thinking about doing a post on how soo many young ones today start off with everything it seems. How in the world did this ever happen? I like our beginnings too. Made each time we added to our homes soo exciting. Enjoy your day!

  2. Love this. Reminds of our first apartment 25 years ago. It was a 1 bedroom basement apartment and I loved it. Just like you, most of the furniture was hand-me-downs. Who am I kidding, most of the furniture I have now is hand-me-downs. I just like it that way, I guess. lol

  3. Thanks for sharing the memories. I think we had the same first apartment in married student housing. We had a hand-me-down couch from his mom that's been covered and re-covered and now sits in our son's basement. It's sturdy (they don't make 'em like they used to), and comfy, and long. I love your TV on a box. Good thing it was only two steps to get up and change the channel!

  4. Ah yes, the hand me down furniture or stuff you got from the curb. Amazing what we did when we first got married.

  5. I think we are the last generation that knows a start like days with Target, HomeGoods and Ikea newlyweds start out with amazing decor! My daughter is getting her first apartment this May omg the conversation we have had about furniture etc... she lives in a butterfly and unicorn world!

  6. I remember taking pictures for insurance and I had Mark take them to work so they would be safe! I remember having my first Betamax player and the remote had a wire attached to it....LOL....things have really changed.

  7. I totally remember jiggling the antennae to get better reception, and the dial... Oh the dial. In my earliest recollections we had about 30 channels because Dad splurged and paid for cable. Ah, the good old days.

  8. I think kids miss out on the joy of accumulating their own "stuff" when they begin with new things (and a lot of debt). Plants as furniture - I remember it well. I also remember when everyone had a centerpiece which was a candle which had been allowed to spill over onto the top of a pretty wine bottle. Great times. Great post!

  9. Hubby called our decorating back then "Early American Box".
    Also... you had a VCR in 1984? Lucky! We didn't get one until 1993!

  10. I love this trip down memory lane. We got married seven years after you did, but not much had changed. Our first TV was eve black and white!

  11. boy talking about bringing back memories with those rabbit ears and aluminum foil. Thanks for the smile!!! and for stopping by

  12. You know, now that I think about it, we had some big, decorating plants too! :) For sure had rabbit ears!
    It's kind of amazing how people used to "get by" ! HA!