It was the summer I fell in love with a movie about a speeding bus driven by Sandra Bullock, was introduced to Dave Matthews Band (and a chocolate-loving Southerner named Forrest Gump), and agonized over the fate of Billy and Alison's relationship after she left him at the altar to confront her sexually abusive father on Melrose Place.
The summer of '94 was also my last summer as an innocent eighth grader. High school was an intimidating reality that was creeping up on me, and I did everything I could to enjoy those last days of freedom. I was too young to get a summer job yet too old to endure another several months of day camp. What was a 14-year-old to do? This: ride my bicycle throughout the neighborhood, make X-Files-themed mixtapes, and nurture my Aaron Spelling addiction by tuning into the Melrose spin-off Models Inc. every week.
That summer also saw the peak of my obsession with all things R.L. Stine. If Terence Malick were to direct an abstract film based on my childhood memories it would include flashes of riding in the passenger seat of my mother's Pontiac 6000-LE station wagon while cradling a paperback copy of 99 Fear Street: The House of Evil, taking in the saxophone solo of "Ants Marching," and sipping from a Boku juice box.
And who could escape this bespectacled chick?
1994, where did you go? I miss you.