(I wrote this entry via the school years, as it seemed to be easier to remember things that way).
Only a few months prior, my parents had moved my sisters and me to the suburban Portland town of West Linn, Oregon. West Linn was pretty small and still somewhat rural when we first moved there. I attended Sunset Grade school, which was half a block from our house. At the time, Sunset was grades 1 through 8th. The middle school student’s classrooms were upstairs in this two-story brick schoolhouse. I was very shy, and wearing glasses and braces, having long, stringy hair, and not wearing the ‘popular’ clothes made me an easy target for bullying. However, I enjoyed middle school. I liked being away from the elementary kids. I felt somehow ‘grownup.’ In addition, having our own lockers and moving from class to class made it different, and therefore fun. I was also tall, had not grown into my body and was a klutz, but I attempted to play sports. However, the sport I continued to participate through most of my teen years was soccer (what you know as football). As I said before, I was shy, and would often spend my lunch hours in the library, but that was okay, I developed a good friendship with the school librarian, and when she found out I was a big fan of Walt Morey’s books, she invited the author to a school assembly. Needless to say, I was thrilled to meet him. This was the age when you are too old to go trick-or-treating, but too young for school dances. It was an awkward stage for me, but life turned out okay. We bought an adorable Samoyed puppy, who we named Czar. He was the best dog. . .ever. I remember Friday nights and going rollerskating at the local rollerskating rinks. I also remember summers playing on the park (which was across the street from us) and wading in the wading pool. The big movie for me that year was The Empire Strikes Back – I swear I must have seen it twenty times. I had a huge crush on Harrison Ford. News events I remember are the “Miracle on Ice” in Lake Placid (when team USA beat Team Russian for the Gold) and the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Not everyday do you have a volcano erupting in your backyard.
1980-1981 7th grade – age 13
Again, I attended Sunset Grade School. I played basketball that year, but we lost every game. I remember when computers were first introduced – old DOS systems. I would spend my lunch hours playing the role-playing game, Oregon Trail. Rollerskating rinks closed and gave way to indoor water slide parks. However, those metal tubes were dangerous, and lawsuits waiting to happen, and closed as fast as they opened. I attended my first band concert with my younger sister, Beth. We were supposed to see Styx, but Tommy Shaw cut his hand a few days before the concert and they canceled. We saw Men at Work instead. MTV had launched and we had cable for the first time. Like the song lyrics say, “I watched MTV all afternoon.” I loved Duran Duran and the Go-Go’s, and wore out my cassette tapes. The big movie of the year was Raiders of the Lost Ark. If I hadn’t already loved Harrison Ford before, it was impossible not to love him after this film. I did a lot of babysitting this year for the neighbors. News events I remember are when President Reagan was shot and the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. For our summer vacation, we had a family reunion at Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota.
1981-1982 8th grade – age 14
This was my final year at Sunset Grade School. I had worked the summer before making fireplace kits for the company my dad worked at, so I could attend an Especially for Youth Conference at Ricks College, in Rexburg, Idaho (now BYU-Idaho). I attended the conference with several church girl friends. This year’s transition was particularly hard on me, as all my church friends were a grade higher then me, but the same age. (Because I had been held back in 2nd grade). Therefore, they were all in high school, while I was still in middle school. To help with some of the transition, I was given permission to attend Seminary (usually reserved for grades 9th through 12th) a year early – so I could attend with my friends. Seminary is an early morning Bible study for teens held often before school. I went through a small stage of wearing headbands and leg warmers. Egads! Pop culture things I remember are Michael Jackson’s album "Thriller" and the movie E.T. To this day, I still cry at the ending. I also remember loving Knight Rider, but I think I was in love more with the car then David Hasselhoff. I had my first job delivering a weekly supplement newspaper. Hated the job, but earned enough money to buy a BMX bike. I loved to ride that bike all over our neighborhood. Arcades took over the landscape and you could find arcade video game cabinets everywhere, even in movie theater lobbies and inside 7-11's. My favorite games were Ms. Pac-Man and Centipedes. We also bought our first Atari 2600.
1982-1983 9th grade – age 15
This was my first year at West Linn High School. I was still pretty shy, but participated with the pep club at all the home high school football games. I wanted to be a cheerleader very badly. I got my driver’s permit and began to learn how to drive. I think I took ten years off my mother. I had a wonderful Language Arts teacher who encouraged my writing and helped nurture my talent. All my sisters and I could talk about was the release of the movie Return of the Jedi and my parents took us to see it opening day – they never did that before! My sisters and I loved it and of course saw it a dozen times. I think we spend half our summer at the movie theater. I also saw the movie Tron, but admit, I didn't "get" it. I decided that year I wanted to become a director and no longer a veterinarian. (Oh well, I didn’t have the math or science grades for the field anyway). The big television show we all talked about the day after was The A-Team. I, of course, crushed on Dirk Benedict. I also remember watching the final episode of M*A*S*H and I cried when the helicopter with Hawkeye lifted off. My sisters and I ran into Richard Simmons (fitness guru) in an elevator at the Portland Hilton one Saturday morning. Yes, he is that bubbly in real life. I had also been a huge Little House on the Prairie fan growing up and a lady from our church was the aunt of Pamela Roylance (Sarah Carter). We were invited to meet Pamela on one of her visits home. That summer, my family made a trip to southern California. We visited Disneyland, Universal Studios, Hollywood, and Long Beach, and saw the Spruce Goose and Queen Mary (where "Ship of Spies" was filmed).
1983-1984 10th grade – age 16
My sophomore year, started very rough. I had to have surgery on my jaw and then developed a bad staph infection, so had to have more surgeries. I started the school year with my mouth wired shut and ate nothing but milkshakes. I took a part time job washing dishes at the school cafeteria. I also became involved in the theater department. One day, one of my friends from grade school asked if I wanted to help work on the set – that was all it took, and I was involved in every production after that. Cell phones began to hit the market commercially (they were heavy and had limited talk time). This was also the year Scarecrow and Mrs. King premiered. I was immediately hooked. Movies I remember were Ghostbusters (I never laughed so hard), Indiana and the Temple of Doom, Romancing the Stone, and Flashdance. I became interested in dancing, but didn’t start dancing until my senior year. My style began to change (more 80's pop culture) and I wore midriff shirts, sweatshirts that hung off my shoulders, and jackets with big shoulder pads. I also finally lost those stupid braces. In addition, I got my drivers license and got my first real job working at a movie theater in Portland, Oregon. It was only a couple nights a week and I didn't make much money, but I could eat all the popcorn I wanted, drink all the soda I wanted, and see as many movies as I wanted. I was in movie heaven!!
1984-1985 11th grade – age 17
This was my junior year, and I began to break out of shell. I continued to be very involved in the drama department, became a Thespian, and received awards in stage managing and set construction. I also became involved in speech and debate and took home several awards. My style of dress is much like what I wear today – Levi's, t-shirts, with an unbuttoned dress shirt over it, and Nike tennis shoes. I also started to wear my hair very short, after a brief ‘hair don’t’ also known as a perm. My younger sister got me hooked on Days of Our Lives (I shipped Roman and Marlena) and we finally got our first beta-max video recorder. Now we could record our favorite shows. I loved to record Scarecrow and Mrs. King and play my favorite scenes over and over again. Met Kristian Alfonso at a meet and greet with my younger sister, Cathy. I was involved in a bad car accident on the way to Seminary one morning and rolled my mom’s car into a ditch. I was buckled and suffered bruising from the seat belt held me and where my arm hit the driver’s window. My younger sister, Beth was not so lucky, and was thrown from the front seat to the back seat – to this day, she has back and neck issues. This was also the year I was blessed with chicken pox. Ugh! (Even though my parents swear they exposed us in our younger years). My favorite movies were Back to the Future, Witness, and The Breakfast Club. I got my first car, a 1978 Pontiac Sunbird – an ugly green hatchback with wood paneling. Yuck! I saw the Beach Boys, Power Station, and The Kingston Trio in concert. That summer we drove all the way across the United States stopping in several states and visited Salt Lake City, New York City, Washington D.C., Boston, Nauvoo, Palmyra, Niagara Falls, and Stonington, Maine. We also visited many relatives, and this was the last time I saw my grandfather alive.
1986-1987 12th grade – age 18
My senior year was great. I was still involved in theater and performed with a children’s theatre group production of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. I also "lettered" in Drama, became involved in leadership, performed in assemblies, took dance, and received an award from my peers for being the “Most Inspirational Senior.” My favorite music was Huey Lewis and the News (who I saw in concert three times), Whitney Houston, ABC, and Janet Jackson. I loved Whitney Houston and played her tape so much on my Walkman I wore out the tape and the Walkman. My favorite movie was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I was able to see a production of Gigi at the Portland Civic Auditorium with Louis Jourdan playing Honoré Lachaille. Also saw Matthew Broderick in a stage production of Biloxi Blues. After graduation, I was able to travel with my high school drama group to Chicago, Washington D.C., and Muncie, Indiana, performing at the International Thespian Conference. News events I remember were the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion and Chernobyl nuclear accident. I wrote for the school newspaper on Mac Classic computers. My drama teacher encouraged my writing. She thought I was very creative; however, it would be years later until I followed her advice.
1987-1988 Freshman College – age 19
This year I was a freshman at Western Oregon State College. I am ashamed to admit, I choose this school because I had a crush on a young man from my high school, who I had found out was attending this college. Silly - what we do for love. He dropped out his freshman year, but I graduated from here. Summer, spring, and winter breaks I worked at the movie theater. I became very active in theater in college, continued to work set construction, and performed in two plays this year; A Christmas Carol (directed and adapted by Patrick Page) and Just Another Teenage Romance. I bought my first Swatch watch and CD player. I saw Huey Lewis and the News for a second time and my favorite movies were The Princess Bride and Dirty Dancing (if you needed to find me when I was on my break just look in the auditorium playing Dirty Dancing). I listened to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack over and over again. News events I remember was Pam Am Flight 103 exploding over Lockerbie, Scotland. This was also the year we said goodbye to Lee and Amanda. However, I geeked out on Star Trek: The Next Generation. That summer, I went to San Francisco and Los Angeles with some college buddies.
1988-1989 Sophomore College – age 20
My second year at Western Oregon State College, I became shop assistant for the scene shop. I also performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Sleeping Beauty. In addition, I stage managed productions of Irene and No, No, Nanette. I also saw the musical production of Cats at the Portland Civic Auditorium. This was the year I broke my nose during one of the rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I attended a Barry Manilow concert with my best friend, David, at the Seattle Opera House. My favorite movie was Big with Tom Hanks. Favorite music included Pet Shop Boys, George Michael, and Chicago. New events I remember were Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
1989-1990 Junior College – age 21
My third year at Western Oregon State College and I was still very involved in the scene shop. I also began to take tap and ballet lessons and private voice lessons. I performed in A Christmas Carol (again) this time playing Mrs. Cratchit. I also was in a summer production of Oliver! In addition, I took some television production classes through Oregon State University. I saw Garth Brooks for the first time in concert (saw him 3 times). Met Mark Lenard who played Sarek on the original Star Trek. He came to the college as a guest lecturer and then a friend asked if I could drive him back to the airport. He was a very nice man and said I reminded him of his daughter. I bought my first car, a 1989 Toyota pickup. I went to Disneyland and Universal Studios with my roommates one weekend on a whim – because one of my roommates wanted to see ‘Bruce’ the shark from Jaws. Favorite movies were Indiana and the Last Crusade and When Harry Met Sally. I loved Paula Abdul. I also was able to attend a Northwest Drama Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. Our theatre group took the play The Foreigner to the conference. Great time seeing Alaska – not so fun in February. Major historical event during this time was the Loma Prieta earthquake that struck San Francisco during game 3 of the Baseball World Series.
That was the 80’s for me – thanks for the great journey down memory lane.