Thursday, April 19, 2007

That is just so high school

Today I've been thinking about how sheltered I was as a kid, and the moment where it all started to change for me.

We lived far, far up north, in a dinky small vacation kind of town, no freeways, no mall, no nothing really. No culture. The lone minority guy in my high school class was a Vietnamese kid. For a long time I was totally hooked on MTV, the way some kids in small towns now are hooked on the internet. It gave me a way to see past sitcoms and boring small towns to something bigger. You know, music is super important to teens. It was extra important to me. Movies were, too. I watched Pretty In Pink this past weekend and it's almost too uncomfortable for me to watch because in my head I was Andie. My big crazy family was pretty similar to the one in Sixteen Candles. You know. (I KNOW you know. I am fairly positive I'm not alone in that.)

(Really, I ought to think about this. I guess if I'm going to put it all out there, I should at least try to make myself look cool.)

My friend Jennifer Jo lived down in Kalamazoo in a big cluttery materialistic house with a shockingly ugly jungle living room and HER VERY OWN WATERBED. They had an above-ground pool and everything. Trashy-sounding, right? By today's standards it is, but back in the 80s it meant you were on the up-and-up, or at least in some impressive debt. (I had an antique metal bed and Lake Michigan to swim in. Anything sounded better to me.)

I was real good at going to the beach, at spending hours on the sand baking, at wading out in 70-degree water and swimming across inland lakes and jumping off the pier and going fishing with cute boys and canoeing and getting sunburnt. But whenever we went to visit Jennifer Jo, things were different. Older, maybe.

I remember one time in tenth grade, I was 15, it was 1985 or 86, I'd been on band trips and to Denver and Chicago and stuff but of course with my parents or chaperones, we went to visit them and she had this friend who had a crazy van. Not a minivan, but a full-on, brown and gold, Uncle Rico Ford conversion van. Bench seats in the back. Carpet. Stereo system WITH CASSETTE. (We didn't even have air conditioning in the car, we didn't need it.) I remember that night we went to Burger King (I'd never been! To Burger King!) and then drove around listening to a great big FM station that played better music than the Boston and Foreigner and yes, KISS, that I was stuck listening to on local radio most days. I remember "St Elmo's Fire" playing. I didn't even like that song. And I remember looking out the window of that van and realizing I hadn't really done any living yet.

Ok, so, we know because it was that stupid song in a stupid brown van with stupid Burger King in my stomach how really naive I was. But at least I realized at that moment that there was a whole wide world out there for me to dive in to, and it made going back to school that fall easier. Going away to college three hours from home easier. From that point on I started setting my sights beyond small-town America. I'll always love some things about small towns. But I never looked back. Just thinking about that today.

I've been super busy this week and have done virtually no knitting. My stepmom got the shawl and she loves it. It is so happy to give knitted objects to people who appreciate them! She's a dear.

Happy Thursday. Sayonara, Sanjaya!


Blogger Chris said...

Thanks for sharing that story. Now I'm wondering when I had a similar realization - I had a really sheltered childhood, too.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

neat story! I however am the opposite, I didn't have a sheltered childhood and being at al those places only made me appreciate what I had at home and how much I loved it. Weird huh!
Everyones different I guess.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

that is a really great story. I love that you aren't afraid to share more of your personal stuff on your blog. It makes me feel more like a "friend".

9:05 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

See, we are more than knitting or yarn twins. I grew up pretty much the same! Boy did I get a slap in the face so to speak when I left my "shelter"! Thanks for sharing! And bringing back some song memories! :)

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Hi from a fellow Michiganian - you just described my childhood/teen years. Loved your story.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous kirsten said...

He's out?? Sanjaya is out? FINALLY!

Oh, and hi. :O)

Happy FRIDAY! Going to Seattle this weekend.

11:53 AM  

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