Pre-Dark Ages Sets . A blast from the past, a really looooooong time ago ... almost like carbon dating. . "The Set That Started It All"
I was introduced to LEGOŽ when I was around 5 years old. My cousins owned the #40 Universal Building Set. It was the best thing on earth considering we spent most of our day playing marbles, hide-and-seek, or make believe Voltes 5, Star Rangers and/or Jack Q (... yes, before Power Rangers there were Star Rangers: Star Ranger 1 had his own motorcycle. Star Rangers 2 and 3 rode together in a motorcycle with a side car; same setup for Star Rangers 4 and 5 ... Jack Q was like Star Rangers, only their group consisted of 4 characters whose masks were the spade, diamond, clover, and heart ... and I think they rode a van ... moving on ...)
My dad was sent abroad for some work training and he came back home with the #30 Universal Building Set, our very first set!
"Primary School Sets"
We were poor. Selling your soul would not be enough to acquire more LEGOŽ. What would a child do? ... Yes! Save lunch money and starve to death for the sake of the bricks. Whoopie!
The first set I ever bought with that darn lunch money was the #6650 Fire and Rescue Van. The order of the other sets is now murky in my memory ... because, besides LEGOŽ, there were also lunch money purchases of He-Man and Skeletor action figures and Nintendo Game-and-Watch (pre-Gameboy for you youngins).
My first Technic Set was the #8845 Dune Buggy. In fourth grade, a classmate was selling it. I bought it used. It wasn't in the best condition. But I did not care. It was the most awesome toy ever (until, of course, I saw the other newer models later ... @##$%$#%*)! In my mind, it was as real as a car can be - functional steering wheel, shock absorbers, gears, u-joint, etc.
"Secondary School Sets"
We moved. I can't remember if my parents gave away or sold all the LEGOŽ (and action figures and Game-and-Watch). I never saw them again.
The last two purchases I remember before entering the Dark Ages were the #8815 Speedway Bandit and #8832 Roadster. Even after a couple of years, I was still bummed out from losing the #8845 Dune Buggy. Maybe that started the decline ...
I'd put the start of my dark ages around 1992.