Teenage Lament 80’s Style

2 04 2010

Sherrie came from Hancock County High School, a different world. She transferred to my school in the mid 80s. Something about misbehaving got her booted out of Hancock.  She was seated next to me in English class and we instantly became friends. We had everything in common. Sherrie had stunning big hair and heavy eyeliner. She smoked Marlboro Reds and had her driver’s license! She knew of a place much better than us Bay High School folk and she knew of a people that were way cooler.

Step into the wonderful world of Bea’s Arcade and meet the kids from Hancock. Video games, pool tables, juke box playing Def Leppard… It was the best of times. The teens of this area were totally different than what I knew. The girls all wore big hair, tight jeans and tank tops. The guys were all rough and gruff,  yet handsome and friendly. It was much like a bar scene, but there was no alcohol … well, not sold there anyway. Unlike the Bay crowd, these were the real people.  No cliques, no judging, just always about having a good time.

Sherrie and I had many meetings in the ladies room to discuss boys and gossip about girls. Bunching together over the sink, freshening our faces in a tiny mirror. The line of girls outside grows and they bang on the door. We would prance across the floor like vixen. They all did. I was actually kinda awkward with it. We’d sit at a table and chain smoke with Dawn and Pam. There was a group of guys we ran with, the bad boys of course, and they were beautiful. They all had mullets, wore tight jeans and rock shirts and had bad ass rides. They were totally awesome!

Later in the evening, the girls and boys would split up and pile in cars, driving around acquiring liquor. While this sounds a bit much for a teen, it wasn’t actually that severe. We never got into any major trouble. It was good times back then, before so much crime and drugs and thugs and such.

Derek had a boyish grin and a sports car. He also had the hottest girl in school. Your classic John Hughes story unfolds here.  I remember sitting with him in the parking lot of Todd’s mini-mart. That’s where everyone with cars would hang pretty much and walk from car to car. Being the girl in his car was the coolest. I was almost like a part of his double life. He had this girlfriend, but he was always driving around with me. He listened to cool stuff like Ratt, and he had a blonde curly mullet and big blue eyes. He was the guy Heart warned you about in “Magic Man”. He would talk a lot of talk, but only tease me and I was way too awkward and nervous to even think he would really have an interest in me. Sometimes Joe would ride with us and the three of us would be crammed in a two seater and then it was a double whammy cause he was a doll too. Those nights made the days of Bay High more tolerable.

It’s so hard to fit in when you’re a teen and I had found my nitch.

On weekends I practically lived with Sherrie. We enjoyed each other’s company so much, that even just riding around listening to music in her Dad’s truck was a good time. I remember listening to Ozzy and jumping the rail road tracks with Sherrie speeding behind the wheel, over and over. In the country, people hung out a lot and you could always find something to do. Being that it was the country, the police did not patrol the area. I don’t know if Bay folk just hadn’t tapped into this secret or if the rivalry would not work. Probably it was the latter of the two. There were a lot of scenes reminiscent to the movie “Dazed and Confused“. Cars lined the beach and kids would just walk from car to car. Everyone was jamming their rockin’ stereos, mostly classic rock which wasn’t as classic back then. 5 Gallon drums flowed Jungle Juice and people were friendly.

On the fourth of July there was always a big party, a bonfire and fireworks. Everybody who was anybody was there. Sherrie and I were inseparable staggering around, holding each other up. This is our youth on the cusp of its innocence. Pure fun. If only we had known then what we know now. Could we have made it last a little longer? I know we wouldn’t have changed a thing.

The world has changed so much since then. We certainly did go from a sleepy town to a hopping town with legalized gambling. But, still, I think the youth of today is very different from then also. That was such a simple time. The Ronald Regan generation. A time of pop angels like Debbie Gibson, unlike today’s idols Britney Spears. PG movies didn’t have nudity and if you wanted to see any T&A you’d have to sneak in an R movie.  Video games weren’t realistic, they were about campy aliens and such.  Television was fun and moral.  Music still held on to it’s last chances at having real meaning or talent.  Life just wasn’t commercialized yet.

Sometimes on a Saturday night I wish I was sliding into a booth at Bea’s Arcade, Sherrie seated across from me. We’re sharing fries and drinking Barq’s root beer. Journey’s playing in the background. Boys with mullets bearing concert t’s on either side of us. We plan a Galaga challenge, right after this cigarette…

Def Leppard: A popular 80’s rock band.  Listen here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ5bS3_BCDs
Mullet: A popular 80’s hair style for men.  View here:  http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&tbo=1&gbv=2&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=mullets+of+the+80s&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=
John Hughes: Movie writer/producer/director best known for popular teen stories in the 80’s. Read more here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hughes_%28filmmaker%29
“Magic Man”: A song by the popular rock group Heart. Listen here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYjgh-znxB4
Ozzy: Ozzy Osbourne is a well known hard rock musician. Listen here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRbPWcLode0
Ratt: A popular 80’s Hard Rock band.  Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCzO-DJBC9Y

“Dazed and Confused”: A movie about teen life in the 70’s. Learn more here:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106677/Ratt: Ratt was a popular 80’s Hard Rock Band.  Listen hereDebbie Gibson: Popular 80’s teen idol/singer.  Listen here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h2fxAaXN5c
Brittney Spiers: Currently know pop-star.  Listen here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4FF6MpcsRw
Journey: A popular 70’s & 80’s rock band. Listen here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=barLaHrtvoM
Galaga: A popular 80’s video arcade game.  Learn more here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galaga



22 responses

2 04 2010
uncle jailbird

geez, i feel gypped! my teen years were never like this. i did have some fun, though. my buds and i would ride our bikes through the woods to sneak onto base housing to watch the breakdancers. or we’d steal bikes from the impound yard at the sheriffs department for parts.

2 04 2010

LOL… that’s funny. Bikes were the keys to freedom back then, aye?

2 04 2010

Sounds like good times!! I think it’s funny how you give so many links at the end like you came from another planet and people wouldn’t understand you. Its really cute. I guess that IS what serious journalists do though. I thought this was a really good blog.

2 04 2010

LOL. Well, you never know who might read it. Some people in other countries may not know that stuff either. LOL. Plus, I was really hoping to turn some people on to something they may not know … like what a great haircut the mullet is or how awesome “Dazed and Confused” is!!! Thanks for visiting, Gar!

2 04 2010
Ivo Stan

Outstanding post! great advice, will take on board!

2 04 2010

Advice? Where? LOL

2 04 2010

Nothing like a stroll through memory lane. Thanks for taking me on a little trip in the way-back machine.

2 04 2010

Yup… and that new 80’s time travel movie is out this weekend, “Hot Tub Time Machine”… though I’ll probably wait for it to come out on Netflix, lol.

2 04 2010
Mike Tucci

This is just fabulous, Susan!! I remember the times. It was so different. I remember being high school and I knew that some people smoked cigs and a few did pot, but hard drugs were non-existent. Also, because we weren’t allowed to smoke in school and I lived on a farm so I never saw friends outside of school, I never saw any of my classmates actually smoking!! It’s funny, I never realized how odd that was until I went to college!

You should definitely write a novel about growing up in the that time. A novel and a movie. You realize that the 80’s will become the 1950’s of the current generation. I remember watching Happy Days as a kid and thinking how idealistic the 50’s were–a more innocent, decent time. And, that’s exactly what the 80’s are compared to now!!!

Mike (2C)

2 04 2010

Great point. The 80’s is fashionable now. Movies are constantly coming out based on the 80’s…etc… the music seems to be returning to popularity… even some of the fashion. I suppose I love that time so much because it was my time, but I just can’t help but think the 80’s was the best decade ever. The decade of decadence yet innocence at the same time. The Regan era! Great times!!

2 04 2010

Yeah, I do remember that time with fondness. My experience was pretty similar, too. Lots of hanging out in parks or down by the river drinking beer (wine coolers for the girls) from whomever scored it. Seems like there was always a way to get lots and lots of beer, even though all of us were teens!

My high school had a designated smoking area behind the high school. It was called The Cage. That’s where the Stoners hung out. Did you guys have category names for the different groups? When I went to a smaller country high school we had Stoners, Sosh’s (sp), and Jocks. People were always trying to figure out what group I was in. In the larger high school in town the groups were not as prevelant.

2 04 2010

Heads & Preps were pretty much it. Others weren’t really categorized. Heads were stoners, Preps were snobs… everyone else was band geeks or just ordinary. I was pretty much ordinary/head. I liked a lot of head stuff, like the music and the long haired guys…etc… but I wasn’t a stoner. Yeah, our school was small and the labels were very prominent!! It sucked actually, but that’s another story. That’s why I liked the County School kids better. There were no labels. It was awesome!

2 04 2010

Ahh yes, good times, good times 🙂 You’re right it was so different back then. I can remember driving around, everyone in the car drinking a beer. We got pulled over a few times, not for anything major and back then, all the cops did was make you dump the beer, or they took it (that would be the smart thing to do…lol!). I can remember just hanging with girlfriends too, you didn’t have to really even be doing anything but, you always had fun together. The simple life…I guess that’s how you’d say it 🙂 Great write Suz!

2 04 2010

Yup. I still miss it. I wish I had just got home from school instead of work today, it’s Friday and I’d love to be teasing my hair and filling it with aquanet for the big night. LOL

2 04 2010
Mr Waldo

The arcades, drinks and smokes I remember, coming home smelling like an ashtray hanging out with friends, parents were suspect but I never smoked and never will.

Didnt get to drive or ride in a cool car until 2000, late bloomer lol

2 04 2010

This was the age I started smoking… and unfortunately, I never stopped! Gosh I wish I never had. I can honestly blame it on these times … everyone did it! This was before there was a legal age limit for cigarettes. EVERYBODY smoked!!! LOL

3 04 2010
Howie Janapol

Dear Suz, those were the days. As they say youth should never be wasted on the young but adults have lost the magic. Peace, howie

5 04 2010

Hey! Where was I all this time?!?!? I’m trying to remember if I had another best friend during that time!! ROFL


6 04 2010

This was more to focus on the point of being an outcast and finding a place to be welcome. Sherrie got me away from that awful class we were in & introduced me to a more open and friendlier crowd than what you & I were experiencing there. That was the moral of this story. Finding one’s place in some tough teen years. To be accepted by people meant so much to me back then, as I’m rather sure you can relate… but you didn’t get into that Hancock crowd as much as me. Apparently you preferred private school boys 🙂 As you know, I preferred the rowdy country boys… and I think you know who in particular I’m speaking of in this write. You know what’s sad, have you seen him lately? He is not doing so well… but that’s another story for another time, I’m afraid.

6 04 2010
Me! (Cathy)

I understand the feeling of being an outcast and finding a place to be welcome totally.. and I understood the moral to this blog. I remember following you a few times to Bea’s Arcade and I remember feeling totally out of place and wanting to so bad fit in like you did.. But, I was the big time Los Angeles city girl– I couldn’t relate to your country boys! lol

And, private school boys?!? hahaha! :o)

8 04 2010
Louis Vuitton Designer Purse

I just like the approach you took with this topic. It is not typical that you just discover something so concise and enlightening.

9 04 2010

Thank you, can I have a free purse? 🙂

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