My 1980s G.I. Joe Graveyard

I grew up in the 1980s, so my memories of playing with toys from that era are filled with Star Wars figures, Transformers, and G.I. Joes. In fact, I often cite the 1980s G.I. Joe line as my last love affair with toys as a child. By the time I was done with them, I had moved on to girls, skateboarding, and punk rock.

I was smart enough to hold on to all of my Star Wars toys, but I guess G.I. Joe broke my heart, so I gave away my collection without thinking twice. My entire stash ended up going to my younger cousin Josh, who lived three hours north of us – and that was that. Apparently he had a good time with them, and passed them along to our mutual cousin Brandon. After he was finished with them, they ended up back in Josh’s garage, where they sat for 20 years.

A couple years ago, my Mom, knowing full well how I feel about old nostalgic things, found them in a musty cobweb-filled box in my uncle Glen’s garage and brought them back to me. Opening that box after about 25 years was amazing! I couldn’t believe how many of the toys were still in decent shape, knowing full well my gender’s propensity to melt, burn, crush, and destroy anything and everything we can get our hands on in our tween years.

3 kids, 3 families, one G.I. Joe collection. Here is how it was returned to me, 25 years later. Not pictured is the Skystriker F14, which is upstairs in my son’s closet as I type this (not sure why I didn’t include it in the pic.). Enjoy!

By Chad Norman

Chad is a marketing and branding strategist, proven leader, speaker, founder, and author. As COO of Catch Talent, he leads day-to-day operations including finance, human resources, marketing, and communications, as well as directs all employer brand client deliverables. Prior to Catch, Chad was VP of Marketing & Communication at SPARC, he served on the senior leadership team and lead marketing and communication strategy across all products and services. At Blackbaud, the leading provider of nonprofit technology solutions, Chad managed digital marketing and online training teams. In 2016, Chad founded DisruptHR Charleston, a bi-annual gathering of HR professionals for a night of networking and Ignite talks. His book, 101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits: A Field Guide, was published by Wiley in February 2012. Chad has presented at dozens of industry events including SXSW, SHRM, DisruptHR, IHRIM, NTC, DMA, AFP, and BBCON and has lectured at Wake Forest University, Indiana University, University of Michigan, College of Charleston, and The Citadel.


  1. Looks like you’ve got some great stuff in there. I had some Jeeps like the ones you’ve got there – The Stinger (the black one) and a desert one as well. I’m not sure if they’re still at my house, stashed away in the basement somewhere. I don’t recall getting rid of them.

    One thing I wish I still had was my original metal Transformers models. Nowadays the Transformers models are plastic and really quite shoddy. The originals were fantastic – I wish they would re-release some of those.

  2. I agree Brian…I had a couple of those metal Transformers as well, and another couple knock-offs – they were metal and awesome as well.

    And don’t get me started on the super-articulated Star Wars figures of today – you cannot play with those…they won’t stand up. The Galactic Heroes are nice though.

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