I have to admit that I felt a part of my childhood pass away last month with Michael Jackson. I was at work and got the text from my sister that he died. She was a huge fan of his when we were young. She only had two posters on her wall, one of Boy George and one of Michael J. in his canary yellow bow tie. She simply wrote that day...Michael Jackson might be in a coma or dead and I feel like crying- I guess my love for him never faded."
The passing of MJ made me lament the passing of my own youth. That immature pre-teen girl that I used to be running through yards in my neighborhood, making up dance routines to PYT and Thriller in the driveway with friends...
We would prank call people ( I mean boys we liked )and tape record their "hello? hello? Hello, is anyone there"
I remember going to my friend Lauren's house (she had cable ) to watch the World Premiere video of Thriller. It was huge news, everyone was talking about it at school the next day. We performed it later in the talent show for the whole school in white gloves and a black light. Don't laugh, it was scary.
But nothing prepared me for this next one.
Now I have been told that I have to deal with the loss of director John Hughes too. I grew up with that man's movies and they were the largest part of my teen years. Solon Ohio was just like all of the suburban places in his films and I like that I grew up in a midwest suburb in the 80's. I loved that Hughes was always forcing his characters to cross over into something new. Showing role reversal, both sides of the fence and geek chic. I saw Breakfast Club at the movie theatre with my mother. We sat in awkward silence, later laughing together and I remember her later saying "wow, kids really hate their parents, huh?"
I saw "Sixteen Candles" with a boy at the movies, and was so excited about it. Every girl wanted to find a "JAke Ryan". My friend Samantha had all of the John Hughes movies at her house on VHS (her parents used to own a video shop) and we spent the summers laying in her parents living room watching Weird Science, Pretty in Pink,Some Kind of Wonderful, Vacation, Sixteen Candles ,Ferris Bueller's day off and Breakfast Club over and over and over til we could recite almost every single line.
"demented and sad but social"
My father, according to all my friends was Clark Griswald in Vacation. He even slightly resembled Chevy. That movie somehow catapulted my father into having the nickname Clarkus Claire Griswald (my father's middle name is Claire, yes Claire and according to Breakfast club- that's a fat girl name) My father was the type of guy to drive an extra 3.5 hours to witness a giant ball of mud. Considering I spent most of my Saturdays in high school detention (blame my bonnie and clyde relationship at the time), Breakfast Club was sort of a cool reminder of those rebellious moments. Yes that is me on the right below, yikes right?
My sister always reminded me of the drummer girl (Mary Stuart Masterson ) in some kind of wonderful. I was obsessed with that scene where she asks him if he is ready for the "kiss" with Amanda Jones. The Kiss!
I was crazy in love with all of John Hughes soundtracks- every single one of them imprinted still on my brain (that music has somehow become the soundtrack to my life.) Tenderness by General Public in Weird Science, Altered Images and Thompson Twins in 16 Candles, Suzanne Vega -The RAVE-ups, The Smiths, Echo and the bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs ,and O.M.D. in Pretty in Pink - the list goes on and on and on.
Even "she's having a baby" had amazing songs- like Gene Loves Jezabel. I wanted to be Andie in Pretty in Pink, I wanted the pink vintage car, the record shop job, the crazy room with old kimonos and eventually starting shopping all of my clothes at thriftstores trying to look that way. I can still picture the JAckie O two piece periwinkle polka dot 60's suit I owned and the funny hats with nets. John Hughes made the first movies where outcast teens emerged as cool and music and fashion set a new standard. Hard to believe this picture below is summer 8th grade.
I wanted to wear this dress (below) from weird science so bad, and I wanted that mesh and denim 80's skirt she wears at the mall-
and I loved when she met Gary's parents and said: " You know, there's going to be sex, drugs, rock-n-roll... chips, dips, chains, whips... You know, your basic high school orgy type of thing. I mean, uh, I'm not talking candlewax on the nipples, or witchcraft or anything like that, no, no, no. Just a couple of hundred kids running around in their underwear, acting like complete animals.
I used the lines in his movies as my own words in many high school notes, he somehow spoke our language. When my friend sent me this link, I must confess I got a huge lump in my throat. It made my heart sink with a sense of nostalgia so heavy. Those images from his movies are like intense triggers to diary entries from my past. I can remember listening to OMD in a convertible car in the backseat with a boy. When I see them I want to be in a high school cafeteria, I want to sit in saturday school and stare at a clock and daydream about crushes. I want to be so nervous that someone might call and my parents will be on the phone (no call waiting), I want to go to a school dance and stare longingly at the boy I like while he is dancing with someone else just to remember how awful it felt...and I still want to work at the coolest record shop and have a best friend named Duckie.
and if that doesn't break your heart- read the article attached here from a young girl who kept a pen pal relationship with the director until adulthood. sincerly john hughes