If you ask anyone born after 2000 what a payphone, pager or fax machine is, they will probably look at you confused.

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Growing up in Gadsden in the 1990s, items like that were modern conveniences and cutting-edge technology. I can remember hanging out at the Gadsden Mall and one of my friends would page me having to use a pay phone to call them back.

As we get ready to close out 2023, let's take a look back on things we once did or used in the 1990s that just seemed to have disappeared!

Slap Bracelets

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I never understood this as a kid, but they were a big thing in the mid-1990s. I remember my high school selling slap bracelets with the school logo to raise money. They were so simple you literally would slap them onto your wrist. Every girl in my high school had at least three of these.

Movie Rental Stores

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Believe it or not, there was a time that we couldn't just push a button and there was the newest movie on our screen. In the 1990s, if you wanted movies for the weekend, you had to go to places like Blockbuster, Movie Gallery and various other video stores.

I had a friend who lived in Birmingham, and we would go to several Blockbusters looking for the newest movies to rent. If one location didn't have it, we would go to the next one. If we want the latest movie now, we push a button, which is nice but not as much fun.

Dial-up Internet

When we think of the internet now, we think of having our phones and "Googling" the things we want or need. In the 1990s, dial-up Internet was the only way to get online, and you had to use your telephone line. You had serious status as a kid if you had a 56k modem on your computer.

Plug in CPU microprocessor to motherboard socket. Technological concept
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My first dial-up service was America Online (AOL) because it was the only one that covered Gadsden and Birmingham. Anyone who grew up during that time knew the familiar "you've got mail" sound when an email came in.

Walkman/Portable CD Player

Vintage walkman, cassete and headphones on the wooden background
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We have music on demand in various ways now. But back in the 1990s, if you wanted music to listen to outside your car, you had to have a Walkman. The Walkman was a small rectangular-shaped tape player that was powered by batteries. You would put a cassette of your favorite artist in the player and plug your headphones on the other side, and you would be ready to go.

As society trended from cassettes to compact discs (CDs), more and more people went from a Walkman to a portable CD player. I remember buying my first Discman from the K-Mart on Skyland Boulevard when we came down for an Alabama game. If you got a portable CD player, you wanted an anti-skip feature, so your CD wouldn't start skipping in the middle of your favorite track.

Disposable Cameras

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When we take a picture now, most of us pull our phones out and take the picture. We can retake or edit it with an app if we don't like it. In the 1990s, we had disposable cameras. We just had to hope the picture wasn't blurry or someone's finger wasn't in the way.

Most disposable cameras had enough film to take up 24 pictures. After taking all the pictures, you would take the camera to a pharmacy, Wal-Mart or K-Mart to send them to develop. Two weeks later, you would get your photos and only then would you know if you got that great picture of you and your friends.

What's your favorite bit of lost 90s nostalgia?

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