Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Faulty memory

I graduated from Tigard High School in 1989. Or at least I used to be pretty sure I did. When I look on Facebook at the people who I supposedly went to school with, I kind of doubt my memory. I don't recognize many of them. Not just the photos, the names are completely unfamiliar. Why am I bringing this up now? Well, two weeks ago, the class of 1989 had our 20 year reunion. No, I didn't attend. I don't look back at high school with fond memories, but I thought I had some memory of it. Turns out I was wrong.
Not just about my graduating class, but even about myself in that class. I thought I was more or less unnoticed. I was not part of the "in" crowd. I hung out with a smaller group of skateboarders who thought we badass and misunderstood. At least I did until my senior year when many of them graduated or dropped out and all of a sudden I was pushed back into broader social circle. I felt like I survived high school, escaping with as little damage as possible leaving no trace behind when I left. Then I started to connect with a few classmates on Facebook. One of them said she thought I was the coolest kid in our class. Really? I felt awkward and antisocial. Another said he thought I was a trendsetter. Weird.

So what does this mean? Did I somehow lose my memory of the 80s completely? Or maybe my brain is just doing some cleaning of the mess. More and more people are posting old photos of themselves and their friends from that era. It was an ugly ugly time. What was with our hair? Really? What? And the clothes? If they weren't pegged jeans, stirrup pants or 501s that were way too tight everything else seemed to be way too big. Maybe we were trying to keep some kind of proportion to our hair? I really don't know. My husband assures me that 20 years from now I'll look back and think "What the hell?" about my current styles, but somehow it seems less likely. I think there is a special kind of overkill unique to teenagers. Maybe the teens of today will encounter a similar shock, but I somehow doubt I'll be as traumatized. I'm just not that extreme anymore.
I guess it goes without saying that what was cool then is unlikely to be cool now, but as I gaze at photos of a friend's band from the 80s with Flock of Seagulls hair, short shorts and shirts left untucked but buttoned all the way up, I'm stunned by how off the mark we all were. And no, I will not be posting a high school photo to demonstrate. You'll have to leave it to your imagination. Just think platinum blonde, lots and lots of eye liner. Throw in a Joy Division t-shirt and a thrift store jacket and you probably just about have it.


geekymummy said...

I didn't go to high school with you, but I know you were cool since you can't have changed all that much.

I am having flashbacks to the smell of perm solution and "sun in", my favorite lace fingerless gloves, striped batwing T shirts in "electric blue", thick elastic belts, tiny skirts, thick tights with paisley designs worn with doc martins. Man, I really was cool! I have a secret longing for some of those old outfits! Madonna had a lot to answer for.

Kaza said...

I love the thing about the big clothes as proportion to our hair! (Class of '85 here, though no, I won't show the photos to prove it either!)

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