Remembering the Fads of Yesteryear

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Katie Hoskins, Editor-in-Chief

Gauchos and Ponchos, ole!

Probably attempting to actively support the growing Hispanic population in California, elementary school girls of the late 90’s and 2000’s loved to flaunt their Spanish ensembles. Ponchos first made their debut in the early elementary years as a stylish new way to keep warm in a Limited Too t-shirt without the restrictions sleeves impose on energetic arms. In a way, these babies were like a medieval Snuggie prototype, usually with a healthy amount of fringe all around.

Gauchos, on the other hand, came onto the scene in the later years, when jeans the or pants mom picked up at JCPenney were no longer the only option. Complete with a slight flare and tighter fit, gauchos were the ultimate way to show your fashion know-how on the big-kid playground, at least until you graduated and moved into the terrifying and unknown middle school world of Abercrombie, Hollister and Juicy socks with Converse

A pre- X Box and PlayStation World:

While a tiny plastic person shaped like a thumb on a skateboard may not seem like the ultimate form of entertainment, in third grade these things were all the rage. If you did not own a Tech Deck Dude complete with magnetic skateboard or surfboard, you were not one of the cool kids. At recess, everyone would line up their collections and brag about the coolest new models, and during class, the toys found happy homes stuck inside the metal cubbies of desks safe from the eyes of teachers.

“All the girls were interested in the little figures that came with the skateboards, and all the boys were interested in just the skateboards,” senior Charlotte Pitt said, an avid tech deck-er in the day.

But even magnetic plastic figures eventually cease to entertain and the elementary school population had to find a new way to pass the time. For girls, this came in a collection of hand games including Lemonade, Concentration, ABC Hit It and a few years later, Slide. Speed, diction and the ability to freeze on command for unknown amounts of time were all pivotal skills in the games, and many students still have the rhymes etched in their memories.

“I used to play slide all the time,” junior Maya Konstantino said. “It’s funny that I still remember how to play those games, but at this point I will probably have them memorized for life.”

The post-toys years of elementary school also brought on scores of early computer games like Rollercoaster Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon and of course the Sims. At first, all of these games were harmless ways for children to express the inner architect, businessman and all-powerful being within. Cheats were the talk of the wall-ball court and soon every kid knew how to create the perfect virtual world with the click of a few buttons.

But eventually we got tired of building elaborate zoos only to have annoying guests complain about the number of bathrooms and watching virtual families happily live their lives. Things took a turn for the worse. People began torturing their guests, using electric fences to lock them in the zoo and releasing lions and alligators while the masterminds laughed at the resulting frenzy and plotted more ways to create mayhem. Playing Sims with your friends was no longer a fun way of playing dollhouse online, but a brutal competition to see who could ruin lives more maniacally.

Online gaming also got its inception during our younger years with sites like Neopets, Club Penguin and Webkinz.  If you were lucky, your parents bought you a special membership, gaining you access to exclusive clothing for your penguin or webkin animal and other goodies for Neopets, which have since been long forgotten at the NeoPound. Club Penguin was especially popular because you could meet up with friends for some sled racing, or throw an igloo party complete with puffles galore. Kids were occupied for hours on end just waddling through the snowy world of Club Penguin, or even training to become a Secret Agent.

Free time was abundant in our younger years without homework, applications, or  responsibilities at all, and as kids, we found many ways to pass the time. Some make sense to us years later, some not so much. Now, like the mood rings and platforms of our parents heydays, our Tech Deck Dudes and old ponchos have been donated or shoved into the depths of the darkest closet, replaced with iPhone accessories and video games that years from now may seem as obsolete and silly as the fads of our youth.