Monday Night Flashback OT: Spring 1987

Last week my friend’s daughter went on her 8th grade class trip, which of course, made me immediately think of my own 8th grade class adventure to Washington, D.C. back in the late ’80s.

Photo from Flickr, by Vinton Chandar

It seems like in my town (small city about an hour east of Chicago), it was tradition for the 8th grade classes (both public and private schools did this) to take a spring trip each year. At my school, we started raising money for the trip in the fall, by raking leaves, selling things and working the church’s BINGO night.

I believe the trip was a four day excursion – we took a bus to the airport, flew to D.C., and then spent the weekend on a chartered bus seeing the sights. We were taped into our rooms at night – i.e., after a bed check, the chaperones put masking tape over our doors so that they’d know if we’d busted out. Smart, huh?

I do remember seeing some sights, posing for the necessary class panoramic photo on the steps of the Capitol, and being disappointed that the Mall didn’t actually have any stores. I also remember listening to Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” endlessly on my Walkman.

If my memory serves, this was the only overnight class trip I took until college. How about you? What were your more involved school trips? Where did you go? How did you get there? How was your Monday?

38 thoughts on “Monday Night Flashback OT: Spring 1987”

  1. I can tell I’m sick and tired of Children BS, because I’m snapping at the toddlers a lot, and I can’t figure out how to stop.

    I can’t wait until the BF finds a job so we don’t have to live in this house anymore and I don’t have to deal with being around children all the time.

  2. Since I’m from the DC area (Northern VA specifically, and we ALWAYS refer to it that way, to not be muddled with the rest of Virginia), I went on zillions of trips to DC and Monticello and Gettsyburg. I always found it strange that people would come all the way there just to go to those museums and walk around, because having it right there all the time makes you kind of take it for granted. A lot of the ‘touristy’ things I never even did until I was in my late 30s, like go to the Lincoln memorial. But I did ride in the Rolling Thunder a couple of years ago with a friend of my stepfathers after he died (the stepfather, obviously, not the friend) and that was pretty awesome. I’ve moved out of the area now (although I own a place up there still that I rent out), so next time I go I’ll be more in ‘tourist’ mode than local. And yes, do not block the escalators by standing on the left! People hate slow there!

    The best school trip I went on, though, was in high school, as part of the literary magazine/journalism studies. We went to Richmond and took some workshop/classes at UVA and had a blast. Well, except for the guy I was dating at the time, who was sharing a room with my best friend and was trying to get him to go away so he could be alone with me. Dude, you do not think that you can put my best friend out and accuse him of cock-blocking you. Uncool. Boyfriend was dumped shortly thereafter in a rather ugly way.

      1. Nope. Or .. sort of but not really? They couldn’t find what they wanted with the applicants and now are wondering what went wrong and they’re going to look at the job again. But I might get a slimmed down job offer (editor instead of editor-in-chief) in two – three weeks so I ..feel a bit weird right now.

    1. Anecdotal evidence alert!

      This has absolutely been true for me. In 2006, my doctor had me vaccinated after I’d already gone through the whole diagnosis and suffering and treatments, etc. I got vaccinated when my symptoms had been raging for about 4 months, and within two weeks they were suddenly gone. 6 years later, they have never returned. It maybe a complete coincidence, and I’ve had doctors since who insisted that a causal connection was impossible. But if there is even a slight possibility that the two were related, I remain eternally grateful to that first, awesome doctor who was willing to force my insurance to cover the vaccine when other doctors would have said it was pointless for me to get it.

      1. That is awesome. Your immune system for the win! I’ve never had any symptoms or problems but I’m glad I got myself the vaccine anyway.

        I’ve sent the link to a friend who’s been treated as well – hopefully her doc might get on board.

  3. My school never took a D.C. trip, but in the sixth grade they took us “camping.” And by camping I mean we had to stay in cabins with running water that were in the woods. This was about the time that the other kids were starting to bully me in middle school, but before things got bad, so the trip wasn’t terrible. I remember that it was the middle of winter, but there was no snow. We were all looking forward to going sledding, but no luck. I also remember there was a team project were we had an egg drop. Each team was given a roll of masking tape and a bunch of individually wrapped straws and told to make a casing to protect our egg. The egg dropped from the highest height without breaking won. I took charge of my group like a boss and had them unwrap the straws and use them to build a box that we then stuffed with the straw wrappers. Our egg did not break. At all. Very proud moment for me there.

  4. I went to DC with a group of 4H junior leaders, because I live in Indiana and 4H is cool. (Because of 4H I can make an icing rose, sew fancy things and build rockets. Also, I got to go to DC…) I’m kind of a clutz, and I tripped my first night there and fell down a flight of stairs, breaking my ankle. I got to see the inside of a downtown DC hospital at midnight on a Saturday and it was intense. I got to spend the rest of the trip tooling about on crutches or in a wheelchair, and I realized DC was not really designed with people in wheelchairs in mind.  (I haven’t been since 1988, so a lot may have changed.)

    We did so many things in what I think was only four or five days. We saw all the monuments, a peace and justice center, the Smithsonian museums, the Capital and a play (Shear Madness.)  We also went to a homeless shelter, then to our local representative’s office. I asked my rep about both accessibility and the number of homeless people we’d just seen, because I was precocious, idealistic and tired of not being able to get over curbs by myself. My representative (who I think is is still in Washington) said the media exaggerated the number of homeless people in DC, and another dirty liberal got her wings. I’d out him, but I can’t remember which Hoosier gasbag it was we met.

    I have family in Northern VA who say I can visit any time, I’d love to get back and see the city again.  I’ve only seen an handful of big, busy cities and I love them.  I get a total ladybrainboner for the architecture in DC, I’d love a chance to see some of it up close.

    I think it’s really neat how so many of us have shared this same experience. I wonder if any of our trips overlapped?

  5. We haven’t had a spontaneous gif party in a bit, we should do that.

    I’ll start! Here’s a group hug for everyone who’s stuck with us through servpocalypse12.

    I lost most of my gifs in a separate computer related catastrophe (2012, the year all of Selena’s computers went to shit at once) so I need your best offerings under 1mb (so they won’t make the uploader cry.) to restock my gif pantry.

  6. I never went on a school trip to DC, but we took a lot of family trips there when I was younger because my parents were big on educational/historical vacations. It’s where my deep love of museums comes from. Although my mom always tried to steer me away from the Air and Space Museum, because all of the school groups made her claustrophobic.

    Since I’m from Florida, most end-of-the-year trips were to theme parks (Busch Gardens in 5th grade, Universal in 8th, Disney for Grad Night), which were fun but not a huge deal. When I was 14, though, I went on a spring break school trip to Europe. It was pretty touristy, but is was good for a bunch of kids who hadn’t really been outside the country before.

    Also, when I was in 4th grade we took a 2-day bus trip to Tallahassee to see the capitol. It was mind-blowing at the time because OMG we’re staying in a hotel! But I realize now that Tallahassee pretty much blows.

  7. There are two that really stick out. The first was my Battlefields trip at 14 – it’s a pretty common trip for British schoolkids to make; you go through the areas of France and Belgium covered by First World War battlefields and graveyards. A lot of people knew they had relatives who had died, and I wound up visiting the grave of three of my relatives (great-uncles.) That was pretty heavy.

    The other really big school trip I’ve taken was to Rome and Pompeii – covering Roman ruins throughout Rome, Herculaneum, and of course Pompeii. I got to go on that trip with my favourite teacher, who really made the trip 800x better; basically I was an unapologetic teacher’s pet the entire time because what he was saying was immense, seriously.

    There are smaller ones I’ve taken for MUN conferences, but they weren’t really special in terms of where we were going…

    Actually, I’ve had a pretty good “trip life”. I always qualified for financial assistance so they were never too expensive.

  8. I went to DC for spring break in 7th grade with the youth group from my church. It was awesome! My group stayed in this huge three-story house with an elevator, and this crazy older girl went streaking through the top floor. I raced my crush up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, fell in love with the aquarium in Baltimore, and dragged my two ridiculously heavy bags through what seemed like endless airports. In all, a good trip. :)

    Also, we sang in the subway, and people loved it.

  9. Keep the DC field trip stories coming! My office is right in the heart of the tourist district (Madame Tussaud’s is right next door, and Ford’s Theatre is around the corner) so there are constantly giant buses unloading hordes of kids in their early teens wearing coordinated shirts. It started about 2 weeks ago, and isn’t gonna let up until school lets out.

    If any of you have kids going on these trips, possibly talk to them about the importance of not, oh, taking up the entire sidewalk while walking six-abreast, not standing on the right LEFT side of metro escalators (stand left walk right!) (stand right walk left!) and realizing that yes, they’re there to have fun and that’s great, but there are also people who live here and work here and are sometimes in a rush.

    ETA: I am an idiot, who is bad with right and left.

    1. I have a quick question. Is it really stand left, walk right? I was always taught it’s the other way around. Like driving, you pass on the left. So when on escalators, airport moving sidewalks, etc it’s stand on there right

  10. My eighth grade trip was to DC as well, which was a really big deal when you’re from Idaho.  That’s a hellofa long way!

    The least awesome part of the trip wasn’t realized until many many years later when I found the picture our class had taken on the capitol steps with our senator . . . one Mr. Larry Craig.  He looked just as creepy in our class picture back in ’94 as he did trying to explain to America that he sits on the toilet using a wide-stance and was in no way soliciting sex in that airport bathroom.  Misty, watercolor meeeeeemmmories. . .

  11. 3 day overnight to an ecological preserve in fifth grade.  (We got to slide in the mud through protected wetlands.  And handle giant snakes.  it was awesome.)  And then senior year band trip to New Orleans.  Also awesome.  Now, back to my impromptu dance party.  My man roommates are gone, so my living room has now become a lingerie club.  In which I got too hot to wear clothes so now I’m dancing in my underwear.  I think my life has become a porno.  I’ll report back if the pizza guy/plumber/repairman comes to the door.

    1. *knock knock*

      ‘scuse me ma’m.  Sexyville PD here.  We got a report of a disturbance in the area.  We’re gonna need to search the premises.

       

      I haven’t seen nearly enough porn to do this justice.  Someone help a gal out.

    1. I’ve been swinging indecisively between excited and worried. The setting and animation is gorgeous, though, and the leaked clips show nothing but glowing promise, so yeah. Sqee-worthy excited. Plus, I just read some very pleased reviews so fears

      1. I adored the pace and storytelling techniques of the first series. Also I’m curious to see how they are going to portray adult!Aang’s “reign” as the Avatar and how that influenced the world Korra lives in. But alas, I do not have cable at the moment and won’t be able to tune in… I haven’t torrented in a long while, but may have to break that rule to myself for this one.

      2. I’ve been avoiding reviews and scene clips from Kora just so I’ll be surprised when I finally get to see it. But being without cable (always), I have a great love of the torrent. Really kind of excited about it, much like the next season of Adventure Time!

  12. My eighth grade trip was to DC too! I mostly remember speed-walking from monument to monument. And our group being made fun of for being excited to see a squirrel on the White House lawn (“You can tell they’re from West Virginia!”), which I found pretty mortifying. I also had an atrocious haircut, and inexplicably wore a t-shirt with a cloud-print VW beetle on it.

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