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.