Thirty Years Ago… 1987

 

1987.  The year of Glasnost and Oliver North.  My junior and senior years of high school.

I look back to 1987 as a pivotal year in my existence.  For a teenager, there were some pretty major events in my life that year.

The biggest was my first grandparent passing.  My paternal grandmother died of cancer in the Fall of ’87 and it shook me up.

Another big thing was something called “Emmaus”.  This was a church retreat through my Catholic church in Ridgefield, CT.  For first-time Emmaus attendees, you were a candidate.  Those who had already been on these weekends were the workers who ran the whole thing.  I was a candidate in February of ’87 and got to work on the Liturgy team on a weekend in September of ’87.  This was a life-changing experience for me in a lot of ways.  I had always been somewhat religious, but this cemented it for a long time.  As well, I lived in New York but a part that was very close to the border of Connecticut.  I could walk through the woods behind some neighbor’s house and be in CT.  As a result of Emmaus, I met many wonderful new friends including one of my best friends in high school.  I spent a lot of time in Ridgefield, more than hanging out with people from my own high school.

I had four jobs that year.  The first was working for a comic book price guide in Ridgefield.  The owner of that magazine was also a co-owner of a comic book story in Danbury, CT so I would help out up there at times.  That summer I worked at Smith Ridge Market, the local grocery store.  I was “poached” by the nearby Vista Pharmacy in late summer and worked there the rest of the year.  I always worked throughout high school.

I didn’t get my driver’s license until after high school but I managed to take Driver’s Ed in the fall of 1987.  That made for some interesting rides.  I still remember the instructor having to hit the brake pedal on the passenger side as I was driving.

What I remember the most about 1987 was the music.  I wrote about 1986 last year, but 1987 just added to the list of alternative bands I discovered that year.  Bands like 10,000 Maniacs, Crowded House, Echo & The Bunnymen, Aztec Camera, and Erasure.  Bands I enjoyed before only got bigger, such as The Smiths, New Order, The Cure, Alphaville, INXS, R.E.M., Gene Loves Jezebel, The Housemartins, and Depeche Mode.  U2 had their biggest album to date with “The Joshua Tree”.  Rush had an awesome album that year and I got to see them in New Haven, CT that November.  For me, the best album of the year was New Order’s “Substance”.  That Christmas, a bunch of bands contributed to an album called “A Very Special Christmas” which I still listen to every year around this time.

There was a freak ice storm in early October that year.  It knocked out power in a lot of areas around us.  But the real “white-out” happened in the summer but I’ll hold on to that one!

The Yankees were my team and I saw them a few times that year.  Don Mattingly was my hero! The New York Giants won their first Super Bowl that year, beating the Denver Broncos in a close game.

There weren’t a lot of memorable movies that year.  The #1 grossing movie was “Three Men And A Baby” which tells you something right there.  I would say my favorite movies that year were “The Lost Boys”, “The Untouchables”, “Good Morning Vietnam”, and “Innerspace”.

In my family, the dynamics changed a bit.  Two brothers went to college and a third returned home for a bit after graduating college.  The youngest (me) and the oldest in the house.  That was different, but fun!

I spent a lot of time cycling into Ridgefield that year after school when I wasn’t working.  It kept me in shape but it was usually to go see about a girl.  True story!  The late days of Spring and early Summer were spent at “The Reservoir”, a local spot where a bunch of us would jump off a cliff and rope-swing.  I tried my first cigar that year.  I learned quickly I don’t like cigars.

I started “clubbing” at a place called Kryptons that year.  A friend of mine who bartended there would always help me get in.  Those were crazy times with my friend Pete.  I spent a lot of time “partying” that year.  I was young, crazy, and a bit wild.  I remember after my grandmother passed, one of my cousins got married.  I had a few at the wedding reception and somehow I wound up on stage singing Michael Sembello’s “Maniac”.  Not one of my prouder moments for sure!

I was in a school play called “The Boyfriend” that year.  I was an Assistant Stage Director for the school’s annual “Variety Show”.  My favorite classes were AP American History and Creative Writing.

I got my wisdom teeth out that Spring and a couple of weeks later managed to get a sausage seed stuck in one of the sockets.  Now that was pain!

That fall, the beginning of the end of the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia was starting.  We all tuned in to see if Jessica McClure could get out of that well.  Pope John Paul the II came to New York City. That summer, daytime tv was hijacked by the Iran-Contra hearings with Oliver North famously pleading the 5th Amendment. I was still creating pinball games on our Commodore 64 on snow days.

1987 was the height of my teenage years.  The best of times before the “real world” fully kicked in.

Tonight

There is so much going on tonight.  First up is the first Town Hall meeting (which I filed a FOIA complaint against the Governor’s Office and Christina School District for a violation of the seven day notice) for the Governor Carney let’s screw with Christina School District one more time.  Second is the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education meeting in which they pick up a new board member and tackle the resolution similar to the Christina resolution on sanctuary schools and all that.  Finally, it is the Capital School District Board of Education meeting.  My son goes to school there again so I have a vested interest in what goes on in their district.  I can’t possibly attend all of them.  So which one am I going to?  Who gets the honor? Continue reading

1986

I was 15 when it began.  A year that changed so much.  A time when I began to find out who I was and broke out of the mold I set for myself.

A time for BHTL…

A time for friends…

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A time to be happy…

A time to win…

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A time to be young…

A time to pretend…

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A time to panic…

A time to appreciate…

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A time to look away…

A time for heroes…

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A time to pray…

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A time for dreams…

A time for love…

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A time to look to the future…

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A time to run…

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It was 1986.  I was a high school sophomore and junior during this year.  We lost a teacher before she ever entered space.  We joined Hands Across America.  The Police got back together for the Amnesty International concert.  The beginnings of Glasnost led to the end of the Cold War as fallout fell around Chernobyl.  Ferris took a Day Off while Molly got Pretty In Pink.  We wasted our time watching Geraldo find a bottle of moonshine but we were obsessed with Max Headroom.  Bill Buckner let a ball slide between his legs while we watched a Refrigerator do a Shuffle.  For myself, it was a reawakening that changed my life forever, where the bizarre met the future.  Howard and Phil told us No One Is To Blame.  I was a short-lived Drammie.  A lady rose in stature once more.  The term “going postal” was born in Oklahoma but we lost a couple good ones at my school.  Lindsay Lohan entered the world while there was some affair going on between Iran and Contra.  I worked at a comic store and helped out with a magazine about comic books as well as the local pharmacy.  I spent a lot of time that summer in Ridgefield where I left my heart for a while.  I played football in Vermont one weekend and was an Antassawomack Beach Bum another.

To truly get this article, you had to be alive at the time, and probably into some of the same stuff I was at the time.  Alternative music, comics, Yankees, and movies!  The Cold War was still going on but we could see the beginnings of a warm-up.  I walked out of my own shadow and became… something!  It was a chrysalis but I didn’t find out what came out of the cocoon until many years later.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  It was 1986…