Tuesday, March 1, 2011


This weeks Red Dress Club memoir assignment was to think of a room from my past.

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Though outgoing, extroverted, I was a nerdy teen. I was quiet at school; full of opinions, I didn't share them with the masses. But if you were to walk into my bedroom back then, my thoughts would have screamed at you. The walls were covered with posters and photos. Most of them were of cute boys, teen idols of the day, from small head shots to full-page color images carefully clipped or torn from the latest issue of Teen BeatSassyTeen Magazine or Jane: River Phoenix, Kirk Cameron, Corey Haim, Johnny Depp, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Christian Slater, Michael J. Fox, Chris Young, Michael Hutchence, Bono. And the coup de grace, a full poster behind my bed frame (whose canopy had long been retired) of the hottie of all hotties, the man who we said was sooo fine, Mr. Jon Bon Jovi. 

In that vein, there were also pictures of my favorite bands, Bon Jovi, Poison, Guns N Roses, U2, INXS. There were other pictures, too, pictures I had drawn, quotes from movies and books that I had emblazoned on notebook paper or construction paper and taken on as my doctrine ("Carpe Diem", the road less-traveled, etc.). Poems I had written, cards from friends. A corkboard held mementos and reminders and photos and ribbons from dance competitions. 

The ornate mirror above the vanity wore pairs of pointe shoes tossed over the frame. It and the dresser were part of my parents' first bedroom set. The walnut stain was worn off on the edges from being moved from house to house. There were cup rings bleached out of the top of the dresser, and nail polish marks on the vanity. The desk was cluttered with books, papers, homework assignments, art projects. There were four little knobs on the desk's top drawer, one in each corner, but the bottom left one had fallen off long ago. I had put a rubber band around the three remaining posts and would pluck the different lengths absent-mindedly as I wrote themes for English and solved equations for Algebra. Tear-stained journals, semi-hidden amongst S.E. Hinton, Paul Zindel, Shakespeare and Francine Pascale on my bookshelf held tales of teen angst and drama, my fears of never being kissed, my hopes of traveling the world, and memories of good times with wonderful friends. They shared the space with my softball and dance trophies, collection of horses and stuffed animals. 

My boombox sat on the floor on top of a box of cassette tapes that housed the aforementioned artists as well as Aerosmith, Bad English, Billy Idol, Cinderella, Genesis, Debbie Gibson, Janet Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Living Colour, Richard Marx, Bette Midler, Milli Vanilli, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Slaughter, Tiffany, Wham!, When in Rome, Warrant and the rest of the "W" hair bands - Winger, White Lion, Whitesnake - all in alphabetical order, natch. Not to mention mix tapes. Much of that would soon change when I discovered Pearl Jam.

A square, tie-dyed banner with a peace symbol hung above my bed. The Gulf War was imminent. In my heart, I was a transcendentalist, a peaceful protester, a fan of "Walden Pond" and Martin Luther King. In reality, I was a middle-class white girl in suburban Kansas City. I didn't even have the guts to participate in the couple of sit-ins that were organized by the hippie kids. I had an open heart, believed in the goodness of people, saw the glass as three quarters-full, and wasn't yet jaded by my experiences. 

11 comments:

Julie said...

Wow, this really left me hanging - but maybe that's a good thing. That sense of anticipation at the end, "who DID this girl grow up to be? How did she become 'jaded by [her] experiences?" - maybe that's just the glimpse we're supposed to have?

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Julie, I wasn't sure how to end it. It does feel pretty abrupt, doesn't it? Thanks for the feedback. I'll try to revise it!

Jennifer said...

Ah, we must have been teenagers around the same time. I literally snorted my coffee at; 'the hottie of all hotties, the man who we said was sooo fine, Mr Bon Jovi,' because I felt like I could actually hear you saying that.

I read your comments and felt that for me the end felt abrupt because the piece in the last paragraph switches from music to politics. I like the sentiment of not yet being jaded and maybe for the purposes of these 750 words getting that across through your changing musicial tastes would make it feel smoother at the end?

Elena @NaynaDub said...

I'm pretty sure we had the exact same music taste! Takes me back to my teenage years!

Amy @ babybabylemon said...

From the description of the musicians on your wall, I was pretty sure we're right about the same age. The part about the gulf war sealed it.

I think that while the switch to politics at the end may be a little abrupt, it is also evocative of the way a teenager's mind jumps around.

Cheryl said...

I love how you had your real self and your wannabe self.

Jessica said...

Oh my gosh, this was me, even the toe shoes! Maybe with a boy band or two though. Well done!

Mandyland said...

There is so much in that room - dancer, athlete, reader, writer, fan. It sounds like a wonderful, crazy jumble - just what being a teenager should be about.

tulpen said...

So much of this was me!! Bono!! Jon Bon Jovi!!

I was smart, and quiet too.

We would have hung out.

logyexpress.com said...

I haven't thought about Sassy magazine in forever. Thanks for taking me down memory lane, I felt like I was in the room with you. Great descriptions!

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Thanks everyone for the feedback! Good times...

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