I was 12 when it came out in the Cinemas and it was my favourite of the trilogy, by about 15 I preferred Empire. So for 3 years it was my favourite film of all time until my tastes matured . As an adult I can see what is wrong with it and what it lacked in hindsight, but at the time it seemedthe perfect ending to the trilogy.
You just described my experience as a kid.
I saw ROTJ when I was 11 years old, and I LOVED it as it was my favorite of the trilogy in 1983. I would say around late 80's/early 90's the Trilogy started coming on SyFy Network as a marathon for the first time, and I started to realize how great Empire was and how inferior Jedi was.
The irony about Jedi is as a kid I loved the Jabba part, and didn't mind the Ewoks, and thought the Throne Rooms Scenes were OK. As I got older I thought the Jabba part dragged, the Ewoks were lame, and now I love the Throne Room Scenes.