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This is one of the years chosen for me to write about in the meme in the previous post. I had two years chosen, and rather than pick one, I decided to write about both.  I'll write about 1990 either later today or tomorrow.

I was 13 years old for most of 1983. I finished up the last half of 7th grade and started the first half of 8th grade that year.

I think it was in 7th grade that I really became attached to the library. I had been a big fan of reading for a few years by that point, spending most of my summer vacation reading rather than playing outside, finishing 6 - 10 books a week. But in 7th grade I was in Jr. High, where I could spend part of my lunch break on my own looking for books at the library in my school, rather than as someone who was brought with several siblings by my mother to the library to pick out a few books in 1/2 hour or so.

I became fascinated with a series of cookbooks that I found there - each book covered a cusine from a different country. There were tons of photos of food and the country and it's culture, along with detailed instructions on how to make the food. I enjoyed the book on France in particular and the photos brought up a longing to visit that country. I checked out that particular book several times and got my first late fine on that one.

Towards the end of 7th grade I discovered fantasy and the Chronicles of Narnia books. We were supposed to have picked out a science fiction book for my reading class, and I had accidentally picked up The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. My teacher informed me that it was the wrong genre, but he let me use that book for that reading project anyway.

I loved it, read all the sequels,  and the next quarter (the last of the school year), when we assigned to write a short story, I wrote a fantasy in a similar vein. A friend of mine and I decided that we had too many ideas for a mere story and wanted to make it a book, so we consulted with Mr. Rausch, who  told us that it was a great idea, and that we could be excused from all the rest of our assignments for that quarter to work on our books, and then at the end of the quarter he would grade us for the class on what we had written by the end of the quarter.  I had over 80 handwritten pages and I was awarded an "A" for the quarter.

In late 1983 ( 8th grade) was when I discovered that I enjoyed gothic novels that I found, surprisingly,  in my school library - the kind where the young governess is hired at an old English mansion with a man with a secret and she is surrounded by danger and usually rescued by the man. I wasn't to read Jane Eyre for another 8 years which was the precursor to such books. The first one I read was "On the Night of the Seventh Moon" by Victoria Holt, who then became my favorite author. I've since come to realize that she's not a great writer though prolific, but at the time I read everything I could find by her at the library.

Other books I read that year where "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance" by Herman Wouk (the mini-seriesof TWoW had aired earlier that year, and I had really gotten into it.) "Firestarter" by Stephen King

Songs I remember from 1983 were "Let's Dance" by David Bowie, "Here Comes the Rain" by the Eurythmics, "Little Red Coravette" by Prince, "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler, "Every Breath You Take" by the Police, "Beat It" by Michael Jackson, "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats, and "Putting on the Ritz" by I can't remember who.

A woman I babysat for on a weekly basis bought me the Flashdance soundtrack LP for that Christmas, which I really loved and would dance to in my room.

There were some really fun summer blockbuster movies in the summer of 1983 that I remember waiting in long lines to see: The Return of the Jedi, Superman III, and War Games.

War Games inspired a little early computer geekery. We had a Tandy computer that hooked up to the t.v., but no programs for it. There was a little manual that taught basic, and two of my brothers and I programed it to asked questions and respond (without the voice aspect) like the computer in War Games: "Shall we play a game? How about Global Thermonuclear War?" etc. I started to really enjoy programing the computer, and my brothers got jealous of all the time I spent on it, wanting more time to work on it themselves, and they ended up hiding it from me. I can't exactly remember why, but when I talked to my mother about it she really wasn't supportive of getting the computer back so that I could use it.

My family moved from Sandy, Utah to Salt Lake City, Utah in the summer of 1983 and it felt at the time that we were moving from the sticks to the Big City. We moved into a house that had been built in the 1930s which seemed old after living in relatively new houses for most of my life.

The neighborhood was in the 15th East 15th South area, and two houses down it had a quiet, little shopping area which included a family market run by asian women, a drugstore that had some really old products on its shelves and was quite dusty in places (but I could buy fresh gummy bears there -- and later sour patch kids -- for a penny apiece), Smokey's Records, and The King's English bookstore, the only business from then that's still there -- it's now a very trendy area with a couple of high priced restaurants, a pet groomery and a Starbucks and Einstein's bagels.

I was given the basement bedroom all to myself. It was the only finished room in the basement, and the room connected to my room was a dirt basement room which was also a new experience for me, and I had a nightmare not long after we moved in that dead people were burried there and they came alive, zombie-like, and were chasing me . . .

1983 was when I got my first experience as a latchkey kid. When we moved to our new house, the monthly payments were pretty high, so my mom got a part time job at Aztec Copy to help with the expenses.

Since my mom was working and my room was kind of isolated, I got my first opportunity to be a slob, which I did marvelously. In previous homes, my mother would check our rooms each evening before bed to make sure that they spotless. I can remember the frustration I felt as she stood in the doorway to the room I shared with my sister,getting angrier and saying "It's not finished yet!" and searching frantically for what was out of place and not seeing what she was seeing. In the new house, she gave up that kind of vigilence, but when one of my parents did eventually venture down I would get in trouble for the mess, and either be grounded or punished in some other way.

I started school that August at Clayton Intermediate. I was out of place immediately. My parents didn't believe in shopping for clothes in fashion and we frequently got our clothes at Kmart or thrift stores -- which was definitely not cool in the 80s. The kids in Salt Lake were more up-to-date fashionwise than what I'd even been used to in Sandy, and it seemed that they all had more money. I was fairly quickly categorized as a nerd (and not in the computer genius sense, either) and was a social outcast. I wasn't without friends, though.

In the summer I went to my new church group to an LDS girls camp called Brighton. We stayed in cabins, went on hikes, and only got to shower once the whole week we were there. One of my more embarassing moments was playing a game in which you had to stand on one leg and with your arms behind your back you had to bend down and pick up a paper grocery bag with your teeth. After one person would do that, the bag got ripped all around the area where the teeth marks were and then another person would take a turn. The bag would get shorter and shorter and harder to grab. When I was trying to do this, my pants split in the seat as I was bending over, leaving me red faced and with only two other pairs of pants to wear the rest of the trip.

Towards the end of that year breakdancing started to become popular at my school. I had never heard of or seen anything like it before and thought it was amazing. Michael Jackson had made certain breakdancing moves, like moonwalking, popular.

This photo isn't from 1983, it's from the fall of 1982 when I started 7th grade. It's the closest photo I have downloaded on the computer from this time.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC)
Yay for 1983!
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