ElderSong Publications celebrated its 25th anniversary year in 2010. The company was started with the publication of the original first edition of Down Memory Lane in September 1985. The popular resource was revised and updated in 2005. In keeping with the book’s theme, we have included some highlights from the year 1985, followed by some reminiscing and discussion questions for your group. Enjoy the stroll down memory lane.

  • The second inauguration of Ronald Reagan as 40th President took place in January. Ask:What do you remember about the 1980 election between Carter and Reagan? Were you a supporter of Reagan? How did you feel about President Reagan’s age – the oldest president to serve? Name Reagan’s favorite candy. (Jelly beans)
  • New Coke is introduced to the public, but after several months on the market, it is replaced with the classic Coke. Ask: What do you recall about soda pop growing up? Did you drink Coca-Cola or Pepsi? Share memories of buying nickel Coke from a vending machine.
  • U.S. Route 66 is officially decommissioned as a federal highway. Ask: Did you ever take a car trip across Route 66? Tell us about your adventures going out West. Name some of your favorite roadside sights along the famous route.
  • Microsoft Windows 1.0 is released. Ask: What do you recall about learning to type on a manual typewriter? What do you remember about the first electric typewriters? When were you first introduced to the computer? How did you feel about the switch from typewriter to keyboard?
  • The new comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” debuted in newspapers. Ask: Did you look forward to reading the Sunday “funnies”? Name some of your favorite comic strips. Were you a fan of Calvin and Hobbes?
  • The Nintendo entertainment system is introduced to Americans. Ask: What do you recall about the introduction of computer games? Did you ever buy your grandchildren a video game? Tell us what you remember about penny arcade games and pinball machines.
  • The first Air Jordan shoes from Nike went on sale. Ask: What do you recall about the legendary basketball player Michael Jordan? Did you play basketball in high school? Tell us about Chuck Taylor All-Star basketball shoes (black or white, high-top or low-top). How much would you pay for a pair of basketball shoes?
  • The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum opens in Cleveland, Ohio. Ask: What do you remember about the beginning of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s? Are you an Elvis fan? Why did teenagers like this music so much?
  • Yul Brynner reprised his role as the King of Siam in the musical The King and I on Broadway. Ask: Did you ever see The King and I or another musical on Broadway? What local theaters showed live dramas or musicals? Were you ever involved in community theater? What do you remember about the actor Yul Brynner? Why do you think he played The King for so long?
  • Sportscaster Howard Cosell retires from TV sports after 20 years with ABC. Ask: Tell us about Howard Cosell’s colorful personality. Share your memories of Cosell and Monday Night Football, Muhammad Ali bouts, and the Olympic games.
  • Cincinnati Reds’ player Pete Rose breaks Ty Cobb’s All-Time Hit Record of 4,191 hits. Ask:Are you a baseball fan? Do you keep up with the records? Did you ever hear your father or grandfather talk about Ty Cobb, who held the hitting record for over 50 years? Which baseball records do you think would be the hardest to break?
  • Expo’ 85, a World’s Fair, is held in Tsukuba, Japan. Ask: Did you ever attend a world’s fair? What’s the experience like? What do you remember about the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York? Theme? Exhibits? Souvenirs?
  • First Lady Nancy Reagan appears on the January 14 cover of Time magazine, with a cover story about her growing role in the administration. Ask: What do you think should be the role of first ladies? What do you recall about Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” drug awareness campaign? Tell us about some first ladies whom you have admired.
  • The cost of a U.S. postage stamp rises from $0.20 to $0.22 in February 1985. Ask: Do you remember when stamps cost two cents or three cents? How often did you go to the post office? Do you enjoy writing letters? How do you feel about e-mail replacing hand-written letters today?
  • The Ford Taurus is introduced to American consumers. Ask: Did you ever own a Ford auto? Share memories of the Thunderbird, Mustang, or Lincoln Continental.


The following trivia questions are taken from various chapters of the ElderSong resource, Down Memory Lane, Second Edition.

  1. What was the name of Fanny Brice’s child character? Baby Snooks
  2. Which famous trumpet player was called “Satchmo”? Louis Armstrong
  3. What kind of a car was Jack Benny famous for driving? A Maxwell
  4. Which Marx brother had the big mustache? Groucho
  5. Who was the most famous dance team of the 1930s? Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
  6. On which coin is Franklin Roosevelt’s face? Dime
  7. Who was Spencer Tracy’s favorite leading lady? Katharine Hepburn
  8. Who was the Supreme Allied Commander in World War II? Dwight D. Eisenhower
  9. Which first lady spent her White House years doing beautification projects all over the country? Lady Bird Johnson
  10. What was Jackie Gleason’s occupation on “The Honeymooners”? Bus driver

“DOWN MEMORY LANE ANNIVERSARY” written by Sue Hansen. © 2010 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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