Open Thread

Monday Flashback OT: 1997

Good evening! I hope Monday’s been kind to everyone. Last week we revisited 1991, tonight we’re jumping ahead to 1997. I’m thinking of June 1997, in particular. There was a week in 1997 where I was dumped by a guy I liked, saw Prince’s “Jam of the Year” tour in Indianapolis¬† and then saw U2’s “Popmart” in Chicago. It was quite a week. (Thanks to the Internet, I can look up the set lists of said shows, at and

That’s what stands out about the summer of 1997, although I note that was my first summer break as a teacher. As such, I was working two part-time jobs, one as a tutor, one at a drugstore. I zipped around the greater Chicagoland area in my 1996 Dodge Neon, and was still listening to tapes in that car’s tape player. In June of 1997, I was exactly six months away from meeting the love my life, Mr. Sally J. I just didn’t know it yet.

What were you up to in the summer of 1997?


15 replies on “Monday Flashback OT: 1997”

I was in Year 10, and I mostly recall being embroiled in friendship battles in my group at school, where secrets were dealt out like friendship currency, and whether or not your ‘best’ friend spent more time talking to you or talking to her other ‘best’ friend was cause for stormy tears. Ah, those were the days.

I think that was the year ‘Tubthumping’ by Chumbawumba came out, because I also have fond memories of pool parties with said friends where we put the song on repeat for about two hours and joyfully belted it out to each other.

Seriously? June 1997? You want to bring up that point where one goes from being an 8th grader to Freshman – where you move down the ladder instead of up?

All of 1997 can be described as Awkward. If it wasn’t for YM and Seventeen Magazine I would have stayed in that nerdom shell of dirty jeans, worn-out oversized sweaters and pony tails. I was reading fantasy novels and writing emo poetry. Christ.

But, I can say that in June of 1997, we were all graduating up to the high school and incredibly excited about it. On our last day of school we had a party and as usual, it was rainy and muddy outside. Cooped up and hyper, about half the class went outside to play wall-ball and some such. Well. That wasn’t how I would spend my final day. I grabbed a handful of mud, rolled it into a ball and threw it at my friend Jordan. Pretty good shot. But, being a super athlete, he hit me square in the chest. And thus began the Great Mud Fight of 97. Everyone outside started slinging mud. It was glorious. When our parents came to pick us up about a half hour after the first ball was thrown, my mom laughed so hard. I think she was quite proud of my middle school finish. Also. I was COVERED in mud. If you’re going to throw the mud, you have to be willing to get hit by a few yourself. :)

But, then I went back to being a mousy, gangly, angst-filled 14 yr old. Oh and I had just started growing out my bangs. The Horrors.

In June of 97 I would have been about 6 months pregnant and I would shortly be receiving the news that the publishing company I dropped out of school to work for would be laying off almost everyone, including me. And I’ll never forget this conversation — they were keeping a fellow male coworker on because his (lawyer, wealthy) wife was pregnant and they were going to have a kid to take care of. This is something they actually said to my face as I sat there hugely pregnant. Then I had to call all our interns who were on their way to New England to do their summer internships with us and tell them that their internships were canceled BUT I wasn’t allowed to tell them why, which were some of the most uncomfortable phone calls I ever had to make.

I would also get no unemployment pay because I made too much at my second, part time night job to qualify under Massachusetts law. I was supposed to get a guaranteed 25 dollars a week for my dependent, but I only got paid that once. In order to qualify for the unemployment benefits (that I never received) you had to be actively looking for work, so I went on a number of job interviews at 7 and 8 months along that were total jokes because no one will hire a woman who will leave in a couple of weeks to have a baby. I even interviewed for my first library job where I was told if I wasn’t pregnant they would have hired me — which, is, of course, completely illegal.

It was a pretty miserable summer. It was so hot and I was so hugely with child — I just remember lying in bed in the only room in the house with air conditioning being miserable and uncomfortable, and I spent a lot of time at the Yankee Candle Factory headquarters because they kept their air conditioning at frigid levels. I was 22.

(Obviously this was a big summer for me, since I can remember details about it crystal clear.)

I don’t remember anything too special about that summer. I turned 12 that August, and I was entering seventh grade. Mostly I remember how much middle school sucked so summer was much anticipated. I listened to a lot of radio back then, and I remember liking Alanis Morisette and playing with my lovely first pets. I probably did a lot of reading and was still regularly playing the piano back then. I quit the clarinet that year! I seriously hated the clarinet.

I was 12: I had just finished primary school, and missed out on the last day of school to go to France with my family. Though I did get hugs from the *boys* when I left. Ooo. Also my diamond shoes were too tight, and my wallet was too small for all my 50’s…

Oh, 1997. The year my first horse died of a brain aneurysm, and I made my parents let me go to public school, where I had my first panic attack and spent the entire year coming home from school and crying my eyes out. My mom wanted me to get involved in something that wasn’t horses, so I tried out for cheerleading, made the team, and then quit because I hated it. I also couldn’t eat because I was so stressed, so I lost a TON of weight (I was already a pretty bony kid) and my dad kept leaving pamphlets for this camp for girls with eating disorders on my bed. I went to the school formal with sunken eyes and skeletal jowls, and my spaghetti strap dress kept falling off my shoulders. But so many people told me how good my hair looked! Fun times.

June 1997… I had just finished sophomore year in college. I was working three jobs and had my crappy college apartment to myself, since my roommates went home for the summer (but their parents kept paying the rent). Honestly, all I remember was nonstop work. All day, every day. I honestly have no idea how I stayed upright most days.

I was working three jobs in 1997, too! I never saved a bigger percentage of my earnings b/c I ate on the jobs and never had time to spend any money at all when I wasn’t at work, because then I was sleeping. I remember it fondly now, but I think it really sucked ass at the time. That’s what made me go to grad school.

I was in sixth grade and obsessed with anime. You know the Weaboo stereotype? That was me, to a T. My best friend and I would save up all of our money to buy new VHS tapes of the series that we watched (usually at about $30 for two episodes, which we could afford once every 3-4 weeks).

Still a nerd, just… glad that it’s not as extreme as it used to be.

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