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06-10-2002 @ 10:13 p.m.
Recapturing the '80s

Tomorrow is the last day of school and it can't come a moment too soon! I live for summer vacation. I absolutely love it. Love it with a capital L. Oh sure, I grouse about how hot it gets (but that doesn't happen too much here in Oregon) but I truly love the sense of possibility that happens on any given day. We can go to the beach, the zoo, the art museum, the science museum, drive up to Seattle or over to Bend, we can visit Mt. Hood or Mt. St. Helens, drive out to the Columbia River Gorge and ride a paddle boat, we can ride bikes at local wilderness parks, go camping, hang out all day in shorts and do nothing, play with friends in the park, go out to lunch, sleep in, stay up late, have outdoor parties...the list is endless. It all makes me so very happy. Very happy indeed.

Today was Joey's End-of-Year class party and I was one of the room moms in charge of parties so we threw a mock wedding for the teacher and her fiance. The girls made garlands for their hair with ribbons streaming down the back and the boys made little top hats. I helped the kids all make 2 tissue paper flowers and they kept one and gave the other for the teacher's bouquet. They also made little "wedding cakes" out of cupcakes and mini-cupcakes that they got to frost and decorate and eat during the "reception." The girls dressed the teacher in a toilet-paper wedding dress, the boys made a top hat and cuffs and boutiniere for the groom. Then the girls all acted as flowergirls, walking down the aisle (outside) dropping flower petals. All the other second graders and their teachers came outside to watch as did the principal and the PE teacher. The bride walked down the aisle to meet the groom and I officiated. I made up some silly vows for them to take and deemed them "duly fit for marriage" and at the end, they shook hands. The kids threw birdseed at them as they left the wedding area. It was hilarious!

Back inside, we had a little "reception" for them. They fed each other their wedding cupcakes and we toasted them with Kool-Aid juice boxes. Each child got to have a Polaroid picture taken with the Bride and Groom and then glued it onto a little paper frame that they had previously decorated. It was just great fun and a wonderful surprise for the teacher who knew nothing about it. She was so surprised when her fiance showed up during the pre-nuptial preparations with a dozen roses. It was very sweet. Best class party ever.

After Joey went to bed, I drove to Borders to get a gift certificate (or gift card, rather) for a thank-you gift for her teacher. While I was there, I perused the music section and found a CD I used to have in the 80s (well, I had it as a tape then) and I bought it. Ultravox. I was a major Ultravox/Midge Ure fan back then. (Guess I still am.) I listened to them a lot between 1984 and 1986. The summer of 1984 was a particularly hard one for me--I was dating this guy named Aaron who I thought walked on water. I was completely in love with him and thought we had a big future together. After dating for four months, though, he broke up with me. It was a very odd situation because no boy had ever broken up with me--I had *always* been the breaker-upper, never the breakee. So that was hard. But then, I was hanging out a lot with this guy named John (who I think was gay but he always denied it) and his "gang". We went dancing at a local spot every Wednesday (Ladies' Night, you know). Back then, you didn't dance *with* anyone, the whole group just danced together. We were all big New Wavers with spikey hair and blonde or pink streaks in our hair and serious black eyeliner, etc. Anyway, this group that I hung with that summer was a mixed gay/bi/straight group (though sometimes it was hard to tell who was who so it was dangerous to get a crush on anyone without finding out if it was worth the trouble first, I found out). Aaron was a bass player in dance band that covered a lot of New Wave songs so this dancing group that I hung out with all knew Aaron and the rest of his band because John and Aaron were roommates in this big house with 10 guys in it. Anyway, even though Aaron and I were broken up, I still would go to their dances with my dance group buddies. There was this one girl in the group who had a serious thing for John (which went nowhere) and she thought that John and I were an item because we always went everywhere together. In an attempt to wrest John from my clutches, she would tell me stories about Aaron still wanting to go out with me and saying that he was just taking a break and would be getting back with me soon, blah blah blah. Well, to my 19-year-old obsessed mind, that was gospel truth so I started stalking Aaron. Not really. Ok, sorta. You know, the 10pm drive-bys and showing up at the ice cream place where he worked or casually running in to him on campus (because I knew his class schedule).

Ok, you can see where this is going, right? I found out she was full of shit and just made those things up to get me away from John (which made me laugh everytime I thought of it because even though I suspected he was gay, he acted completely asexual. Never dated anyone, just hung out with a crowd of people and me). So I spent much of that summer in the depths of depression first from the initial break-up and then from the fall-out of this girl's lies. When I put that Ultravox CD on in the car on my way home from Borders, it instantly transported me back to June 1984. It was absolutely uncanny, especially for the song "Vienna." It's a very plaintive, sad and dramatic song and it matched my mood that summer perfectly so I played it over and over and over.

Did I mention that Aaron was Ed's roommate, too?

There are other songs and groups from that summer (and beyond) that have the same effect--Blancmange, Tom Tom Club, Tears for Fears (the really early stuff like from The Hurting), The Fixx, Echo and the Bunneymen, Tin Tin, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Pet Shop Boys, Haircut 100, Aztec Camera, Depeche Mode, UB40, Talk Talk (especially "It's My Life"), Berlin and a few others whose names escape me right now. I've decided I need to recreate my '80s music collection in CDs. I have them all on tape and I guess I could listen to them that way but why should I when I could spend money getting new stuff? Some of it is nigh on to impossible to find, like Stephen "Tin Tin" Duffy, but I think I could find the rest of it. I'm all about nostalgia, Baby.


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