1986, Starting Out
When I found myself heading to Germany with my family for the fall of 1986, I was a pretty ordinary kid, with perhaps a little more curiosity than average and a very active imagination.
Age: 10 years-old
Grade: Sixth grade
Home town: Alexandria, Indiana (population ~ 5,850 at the time)
What do you want to be when you grow up? An archaeologist or a forest ranger.
Hobbies: Reading, writing, Lego blocks, toy cars, experimenting with new kinds of paper airplanes, model railroad, traipsing off-trail, board games (esp. Clue and Fantasy Forest), Atari games (esp. Mountain King), Intelivision games (esp. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons), card games (esp. Uno and Rook), LARPing, inventing games (e.g., “the animal card game”), collecting travel brochures, collecting pieces of electronics, collecting baseball cards, collecting stamps, researching and about history and animals
Favorite foods: Peanut butter, American hot dogs, hamburgers, pork chops, school cafeteria taco salad (aka, “Texas straw hats”), chili, homemade submarine sandwiches, corn on the cob, dill pickles, simple salads, potato chips, boxed mashed potatoes, instant oatmeal, breakfast cereal, chocolate, black licorice, doughnuts, rolls
Favorite drinks: Milk, water, instant decaf coffee, sassafras tea, orange pop, red pop
Favorite books: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings (esp. The Two Towers), Dragon Winter, Wilderness of Four, Hardy Boys (esp. The Tower Mystery and The Secret Warning), Alfred Hitchcock’s Three Investigators (esp. The Green Ghost and Dead Man’s Riddle), Rifles for Watie, various westerns by Louis L’Amour, collections of ghost stories.
Favorite songs: Rockin’ Robin, Bo Diddley, Wipe Out, Henry the Eighth, Daydream Believer, I’m a Believer, Sixteen Tons, Elvira, Mountain Music, Beat It, Billie Jean, Ghostbusters, The Super Bowl Shuffle
Favorite TV shows: Justice League, Space Ghost, Kwicky Koala, Tennessee Tuxedo, The Herculoids, Battle of the Planets, MacGyver, A-Team, Star Trek, The Rifleman, Bat Masterson, Iron House, Simon and Simon, Murder She Wrote, Perry Mason, Facts of Life, Welcome Back Kotter, Get Smart, MASH, The Wide World of Sports, any Olympics coverage
Favorite Movies: Dark Crystal, The Neverending Story, Karate Kid, The Last Starfighter, War Games, Flight of the Navigator, Night Crossing, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Return of the Jedi, The Secret of Nimh, Pete’s Dragon, Friendly Persuasion, The Light in the Forest, Arsenic and Old Lace, old Cary Grant comedies, Dean Jones Disney movies, James Bond summer reruns on TV
Favorite sports: invented various backyard sports, had just played on elementary school competitive volleyball team (played against other district schools), had just competed in elementary school track and field events and loved hurdling, earlier had played tee-ball, local quarter-mile stock car racing at Anderson Speedway, casual fan of Atlanta Braves baseball, casual fan of Houston Oilers football, very into Olympics