Thursday, April 19, 2007

He Knows That Something Somewhere Has to Break

Me and some other Ottumwa girls in the dorms at UNI. Don't you love that old Diet Pepsi can?

I figured I'd go on with the "year in review" posts. Let's do years ending in three next, okay? I was going to start with 1973, but then I found this picture of me in the dorms, wearing a sweater vest with a t-shirt underneath from 1983. I thought we all could use a laugh on Friday.

Age: I started it at 17 and turned 18 in July.

Music: Every dorm party included songs from U2, The Police, Men at Work, The Fixx, anything from Michael Jackson's Thriller, The Talking Heads', "Burning Down the House", and Men Without Hats', "Safety Dance". (complete with the weird arm movements from the video) The biggest thing for me was that I finally got to see The Police in concert in November. You can give me all the shit you want, but The Police is still one of my all-time favorite bands ever. I first heard them in 1979. If I remember it correctly, I had been listening to Steve Dahl and company on WLUP blowing up disco records at Comiskey Park. (my brother and I were big Steve Dahl fans back then) Later that night, they played Outlandos D'Amour in full and I was hooked. I went out and bought it the next day and played it over and over, until my brother threatened my life. So, seeing The Police live was HUGE for me. There was a big, ugly snowstorm that day, so half the seats were empty and we could get really close to the band. It was awesome.

Movies: I saw a lot of movies that year. My sister worked at the theater in Ottumwa, so I got to see a lot for free. I was also too young to drink legally, and we'd get drunk in the dorms and then go check out a film. These are some movies I saw that year: Easy Money, Terms of Endearment, Cujo, Return of the Jedi, Flashdance, The King of Comedy, The Big Chill, Risky Business, Silkwood, Scarface, Star 80 and Valley Girl. The one movie that I regret never having seen is Evil Dead. I know.

TV: We watched tons old shows in the dorms. We tried to catch Leave it to Beaver every day. I also saw that made for TV movie, The Day After and thought it was too boring to cause as much controversy as it did. At that time, General Hospital was really big on my dorm floor. It was one of the Luke and Laura momentous occasions and I can't recall which one. She either got raped by Luke and then fell in love with them, or the whole town got frozen by a freeze ray, or maybe that's when they got married. I never paid a whole lot of attention. Did I mention that I smoked a lot of pot back then?

Books: When I was still in high school, I read a lot of Vonnegut, and John Irving, and I liked Russian writers back then too. Once I got to college, I stopped reading for pleasure. It was one of the few times in my life when I didn't.

What I Wanted to Be When I Grew-Up: Like all the other young losers, I thought I was going to die within a year or two, so I didn't worry about a career.

Winter: Winter was bad for me. My siblings were all in college, so I was left alone to deal with my aunt and uncle. I had to do all the chores, inside the house and most of the ones outside too. One positive thing I can say, is that I have an incredible work ethic because of it. The negative part, is that it took me many, many years to scrape up some self-esteem. I almost never went out with my friends and I loved school because it was the only time I could relax and talk to my peers.

Spring: In high school, Spring always meant track season. I was injured my senior year, but I still went to practice and meets. I graduated in May and my aunt and uncle actually let me go to a graduation party. My sister gave me a ride there and back, because she was so awesome. Since we were in Ottumwa, the party was at somebody's farm house out in the middle of nowhere. All I remember, was that this guy Bruce started hitting on me after his girlfriend passed out in his truck, and that's how I knew it was time to go home.

Summer: My aunt and uncle let-up a little on me in the Summer. My brother advised me not to move out the minute I turned 18, because it would be tough to find a place for a month, and I didn't have a bed or anything else for an apartment. My aunt and my sister were finally reconciling, so, for a week or two, my aunt let me stay with my sister because I was detasseling all day and then I went to a Summer writing workshop in the evenings. My sister helped me get into bars and I had an actual social life for the first time in my high school career.

Fall: I went to UNI in August. It was the weirdest experience I had in my short life. I was finally free. I went from being controlled by my aunt and uncle, to having every single freedom I could handle. (or not) I made up for a lot of lost time my first semester in college. My roommate was the Chickasaw County Beef Princess. She was super shy and we didn't have much in common. I hung-out with a lot of older students and the guys who lived down the hall from me, who smoked pot from Budweiser cans, played Euchre and Quarters and quoted Fast Times at Ridgemont High any chance they could fit it into the conversation. I transferred to Iowa City in December.


Matt said...

Did you read much Maxim Gorky? I've loved everything by him but "Mother". That was too ponderous.

Ottumwa and homegrown green bud. Ahhh...I miss SE Iowa sometimes.

Margaret said...

i can't believe the beef princess was shy

fringes said...

No way could I write with all this detail from when I was 17. I may try, though. Very good blog post.

booda baby said...

I love these Year in Review posts; you save me SOOOO much work. I don't even have to sort through my own memories. I just take yours and make a few adjustments and voila. I love that.

I was at the disco demolition - one of my first/vivid memories of split loyalties. So which are you? Happy all the disco's going up in smoke? Or pissed off because you have to forfeit a double header? Tough call for a Sox fan.

Neil said...

For some reason, I hated The Police when I first heard them. I found Sting's voice grating. Then, I totally changed my mind by the second album and they became my favorite. I still find Sting very sexy -- if a man can say that about another man.

Churlita said...


I think Mother was the only thing I read, but it was a long time ago, and I have a hard time keeping all the depressing Russian novelists straight.


MAybe it was only because she was only a Beef Princess and not quite the Pork Queen. it sucks to be second best.


Thanks. I would love to read your try.

Booda Baby,

You were there? That's so cool. I always choose once in a lifetime over a doubleheader, but then I'm not an avid White Sox fan either.


Sting kind of grosses me out now. I liked him better before all his tantric sex talk and New Agey blah, blah. Plus, I was always hotter for Stewart Copeland anyway.

Brando said...

Hey, you broke your Sting tantric sex rule! I will have no choice but to resume production on my Sting tantric sex posts!

Nice shout out to Steve Dahl. I liked the show he used to do with Gary Meyer.

You know, one of my biggest adjustments to moving here was understanding how titles like "Beef Princess" and "Pork Queen" did not mean what I thought they meant.

mac said...

I love these little jaunts down memory lane we take together. And I have to agree with Margaret, how could a girl who loves the beef be shy?

Les said...

your 'here is a picture' is very good I think.

Churlita said...


Damnit. I can't believe I just did that. It's only fair for you to bring that shit up, every chance you get now.

You'd think the Pork Queen would be really good at porking, wouldn't you? It's not always true, from what others tell me.


Thanks. It's probably a scary journey for most of you.

I don't know how that works. Most girls who love beef, are very, very popular.


Thanks. I like it.

Ondine said...

Gosh you were so young when you went to college. Here's a funny coincidence: I knew the Iowa pork queen my freshman year in college. She was really nice. And I totally remember you from Great Mid (the later years), but we weren't friends yet then.

Churlita said...


I remember you too back then. You would come in and wait for Colleenie Weinie after work.