Skip to main content

#TBT: My December of 1996


Picture it: December, 1996.

I'm freezing in the back row of a van with my fellow speech-and-debate teammates in a shopping mall parking lot somewhere in Massachusetts. We've just finished (victoriously) competing at the annual Holly Speech Festival at Natick High School. We're still in our suits, blazers, and ties, and we're all exhausted. As I wait for some of my peers to come out of a nearby Starbucks, I proceed to listen to a mixtape on my Aiwa cassette tape player. It consists of "Lovefool" by The Cardigans and "Wannabe," a catchy gem from a new Britpop group called the Spice Girls.

Some of the guys talk about catching a late showing of Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet, a daring retelling of Shakespeare's classic starring that girl from My So-Called Life and the pretty boy who was on Growing Pains for one season. I then make a mental note to add to my Christmas wish list a VHS copy of Independence Day. (I saw it twice in theaters earlier that summer.) I think it's on sale at Nobody Beats the Wiz or Sam Goody...

I am a junior at Iona Prep, halfway through a school year that will see me soar in the category of Oral Interpretation with my poetry and prose readings of Shel Silverstein and Stephen King. (I proudly place 2nd in the state of New York the following May at a tournament in Albany.)

I am also an avid fan of Melrose Place, and I begin chatting with my friend James about the juicy storylines of the current fifth season. ("Who the hell is Taylor McBride, and how is she tied to Peter's past?" "Will Sydney ever find love?")

During this time I am also intrigued by TV promos for a new thriller from Wes Craven called Scream.


I think to myself: Drew Barrymore's starring in a horror movie now? I'll have to go check it out. And I do -- on Christmas night, with my father. We hit up the General Cinemas multiplex in the Bay Plaza shopping center in the Bronx after a festive day of unwrapping gifts and eating. Turns out I love Scream. Like, really love it. It's the best scary movie I've seen in a long time. It has the best opening scene (and twist) I've ever seen. It's smart. It features characters who are just as knowledgeable and obsessed about horror movies as I am. And it's genuinely thrilling. I become obsessed with this movie and see it again with a bunch of my friends later in the new year.

It is December of 1996. I think of how I'll have to get used to writing "1997" on my homework and essays in English class. I think about how we're three years closer to the new millennium. I wonder what will come then.

In 2016, soon to be 2017, I wonder about similar things.

@TheFirstEcho

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Class of '98 Turns 40

We are the Class of '98.

We're a little too old to be Millennials, yet too young to be GenXers. As of now, half of our lives has lived in one century while the other half lives and moves forward in another.

For us, Cabbage Patch Dolls were the 80s, Tamagotchi was the 90s, and Napster was the dawn of the 00s. We grew up with cassette tapes and Saturday morning cartoons. We came of age with CGI dinosaurs and the rise of the Frappucino. And we approach middle age with memes, reboots, and viral videos all designed to distract us from middle age.

We were too young to fully understand the words "Challenger explosion." We were too young to appreciate the fall of the Berlin Wall. But by the time places like Waco, Oklahoma City, and Littleton pinged on everyone's radar, we started to grasp how scary the world could be.

Our adolescence was defined by jagged little pills, prescriptions from Dr. Dre, and the fact that some of us were naughty by nature. We learned that nirva…


13 Things You Probably Didn't Know About 'The Golden Girls'

When one nostalgically binges on all seven seasons of The Golden Girls like me (I swear I have a life), you pick up on a few things. Certain patterns appear as you continuously witness the consumption of countless cheesecakes inside a fictitious Miami kitchen and hear one St. Olaf story too many.

Here's what I noticed after playing my DVDs of this 80s classic over the past several months (and if you're already familiar with the following factoids, excuse me for underestimating your fanaticism)...

1. Actor Harold Gould, who played Rose's long-term boyfriend Miles Webber from Season 5 to Season 7 (and throughout most of the short-lived spinoff, The Golden Palace), also appears in the first season as Arnie Peterson, Rose's first serious beau after her husband's death.

2. The same can be said for Sid Melton, who played Sophia's deceased husband Sal (in flashbacks and dream sequences). He also appears in a Season 6 episode as a jester in a medieval-themed restauran…

Just Because: 9 Music Videos That Take Place in Laundromats

It's one of the biggest music video tropes that's rarely explored in pop culture.

The public laundromat has become a go-to location for artists when making a music video for a single they wish to sell to the masses.

But WHAT IS IT about a space where ragtag groups of strangers gather to fluff and fold their delicates? Is it the obvious metaphor of dirty versus clean? The scintillating possibility of people stripping off their clothes for a wash?

I was feeling a little nostalgic (as usual) and took a look at some of the vids that have fallen under the spell of spin cycles over the past 30 years...

"EVERY HEARTBEAT" / AMY GRANT (1991)

Back in the early 90s, the Christian pop tart followed up her massively successful "Baby Baby" with "Every Heartbeat," a personal childhood favorite of yours truly (the Body & Soul Mix, of course). In one of the two vignettes featured in the video, a laundry-toting hottie attempts to flirt with a young woman who re…