I was scanning Facebook, trying to decide what to write about this morning when I stumbled upon a post from a friend that had pictures of various items I should remember from growing up in the 70s/80s. I clicked on it, figuring I’d see a few things that would make me smile and I’d be on my way.
Well, there were over 300 photos of things I actually do remember! Everything from jelly shoes to Pert shampoo. There were photos of the Steam and Curl that I burnt my neck and forehead on, repeatedly (Yes, I’m that coordinated and I have actual scars to prove it.), to the pair of roller skates that I had to have one Christmas. Does anyone remember Loves Baby Soft? I can still remember how it smelled, probably because the scent nearly bowled me over each time I’d walk into the girls’ bathroom at school during the fifth grade. I hadn’t even gotten all the way through the photos before I decided what my blog would be about today.
You see, I can remember my mom talking about the stuff she grew up with. From time to time, I can still get her started on a decent walk down memory lane. I am always fascinated to hear her tales of the soda shops and getting caught smoking in a car outside of McDonald’s. As a kid, I would normally feign annoyance when she’d start in with her music, but at the same time, I secretly liked it. It wasn’t just because of the music itself – which admittedly I enjoy – but because those memories were so incredibly powerful for her. I liked seeing that response! But almost as quickly, my mom tends to remind me of how difficult her childhood was. She always says she didn’t have a happy childhood, describing how she was alone and didn’t have friends. Yet the stories she shares when we talk about music or places she went and things she did during that time don’t sound that bad.
When I think about it, sixth through eighth grade (ages 10-13 for me) were not necessarily the easiest years, at least not socially. I had a rough time with girls at school. When I see pictures of myself from that time, my awkwardness is front and center. I can remember having other girls tease me as I walked to my locker each morning, and it got to the point that I’d purposefully be late to class or arrange to get the things I needed for my first class before I left school the afternoon before, and not even bother going to my locker before first period in order to avoid the situation. Even in my own circle of friends, we bounced between being the target of ridicule or being the one ridiculing one of the others, in some sort of sick “beat, or be beaten” ritual. It was awful. Yet, a lot of these products and images are from that same period of time, and the memories I think of aren’t at all bad. I discovered Duran Duran for the first time at some point during sixth grade, for crying out loud. It is those memories I think about most, not the bad stuff.
Sure, I could spend all of my time thinking about the horrible things that happened during my childhood. The memory of a certain Lisa standing at her locker, and offhandedly telling me how ugly and useless I was, and that I should go kill myself is still remarkably strong, thirty-some years later. There are enough of those instances still in my memory that yes, I could spend a lot of my time thinking about them. I suspect I’m not alone. That said, I’d much rather focus on the happy things. I’m not interested in being angry, or even sad, all of the time. After all, I found Duran Duran during that same period of time. As all of you probably know from your own experience, the memories of that band are pretty damn powerful on their own.
If I added a picture of Duran Duran, or an iconic design or something representing them to that Facebook post – which is here, go enjoy a walk down memory lane as you click-through the images – what would I choose? What is the most iconic image of them that would immediately cause those of us who grew up in the 70s & 80s to smile? I’m nearly stumped. There are so many, and it’s difficult for me to stop the knee jerk reaction of over thinking it! Like all of you, I am a die-hard, incredibly long time fan.
This one, posted on billboard.com as they discussed the 10 Essential Cuts from the band, is the same poster that almost always comes to mind from my room when I think back on it. Of course, so does this one, and this one too. But there’s always the cover of Rio, and even the slanted D design. Each of them stir memories, and every single one is as powerful as the next.
Strangely, I have wondered from time to time if my insistence in following a band that stirs memories from one of the most difficult periods in my life isn’t some sort of bizarre, self-torture practice! The truth is, the band is probably what saved those years for me. The music was the one thing I could count on.
Over the years since, I still find some social situations to be just as annoying as they were back “in the day”. I still struggle with the way women behave when they are in groups. I’d rather stab myself in the eye than go up to a group of women and try to join in. This is why our meet-ups are similar to shock therapy for me, and it’s a direct result from my days in the halls at Sunflower Intermediate. Even so, I still love Lip Smackers, and I can still taste the grape flavor of Bubble Yum bubble gum – it was the ONLY gum I’d chew and the ONLY flavor of grape I like. And of course, hearing “Is There Something I Should Know” still makes my heart sing.