Open Thread

Monday Flashback OT: Summer of 1999

Happy Monday, everyone! Tonight we are flashing back to the summer of 1999. I hope many of you can play along with me! The summer of 1999 was one of big changes for me– I left the job and the city I was in (suburb of Chicago) to move to Indianapolis. To my delight, Mr. Sally J followed. It was summer spend apartment hunting, nannying for a family, tutoring at night and finding time to spend at the Taste of Chicago ( It was a fast summer, and when it was over, I was in a completely different place both geographically and mentally.

What were you doing in the summer of 1999? Have you had a serious summer of transition? How did you come out the other end?

8 replies on “Monday Flashback OT: Summer of 1999”

I was going into my freshman year of high school. I had just finished the worst year of my life in 8th grade with near-constant bullying, and I would soon be attending a school where I wouldn’t have to see those folks again since they weren’t smart enough to be in my honors classes. I was nervous but ever so excited to be getting out of middle school. It was a great summer.

That was also the same year I got into my county’s “Summer Enrichment Drama Program.” That program was pretty awesome, as they’d put on a musical production every summer. Despite being a rising freshman, my dancing experience landed me in the non-tap, talented dance group. There was the tap group, the non-tap group, and the ones who couldn’t dance and were mostly stationary. Our production that year was “No, No, Nanette,” and it was great fun. We also had the run of a local landmark auditorium for the summer, which was on the campus of a high school. We could hang out in the green room under the stage, go into the orchestra pit, balcony, and other places to rehearse and goof off. The place was built in the 20s, coincidentally the same decade our show was written in, and there was still some original furniture around the place. The bathrooms were large and had chaise lounges in them. The auditorium would be getting renovated the following summer, so this was our last chance to prowl before they did some major restorations.

The place was rumoured to be haunted, and being teenagers we lapped those sighting stories up and tried to spot the ghost, who was said to chill in the balcony most of the time. We’d also hang in the dressing rooms, in the wings, in the stairwells, and the classrooms that were packed with musical instruments, stands, and sheet music. That was just a fun place to frolic in.

We had a karaoke party at one girl’s house, which was awesome. The seniors took care of us younger kids, and they were some great people. This was also the summer of the card game, and I became a pro at Egyptian Rat Screw. Toward the end of the production, we went outside and played kickball for three hours. We would sing Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Chicago, and numerous other Broadway shows at any given moment, not to mention the score of our own show. The Backstreet Boys’ song “I Want It That Way” came out that summer, and five of the senior guys got together and performed it at lunch in the chorus room. Three girls and I performed Madonna’s “Ray of Light” as a response.

The choreographer was this hilariously melodramatic chain-smoking woman who hated working with the people who couldn’t dance, and when she had to help them before working with our dance-talent group, she’d have to go out for a cigarette or four. Then she’d say how relieved she was to not have to demonstrate basics to us. Our director was an intimidating woman to the eye, but she knew what she was doing and was kind once you got to know her. The techie crew was great fun too and gave us some pretty sweet sets for what was just a high school production. Our music director looked just like Michael Stipe and he was a great pianist. We performed with a full orchestra but rehearsed with just the piano, and he was a very calming person. The costume lady was an expert at shopping thrift stores and got outfits for everyone on a budget, though our “bathing suits” were all so hilariously awful that we burst into laughter in our first dress rehearsal. They put the boys in wrestling singlets with white tank tops underneath, and they put us girls in these horrendous orange and green flowered matching tees and shorts since these were “bathing suits” of the 20s. It wasn’t too embarassing since every cast member had to wear one of those two humiliating outfits.

I can’t think of one person who was even slightly toxic. In addition to being in the show, we all got to do different special tasks, and I was assigned to program and ticket duty. This was pretty cool because my friend and I went down into the green room with the paper cutter and created our own assembly line to get those programs and tickets made up proper for the show. We had four days of performances in late July, including a matinee for little kids. There was also a middle school program that didn’t get to do a full show, and they were in our “little kids” audience.

So I’d say that summer of 1999 was a good summer, probably the best summer of the 90s for me! And that August I turned 14. Good to reminisce about that one!

Like lostinmybox it was the summer before I went into grade six. I can’t remember much about the summer, but I do recall spending a lot of time at my friend Chris’s house playing Star Wars: Phantom Menace with broomsticks in his backyard.

I have not thought about Chris in a long time. Last I saw him he was working as an assistant manager at a Subway, had huge gages (sp?) in his ears, and had split his tongue to be like a lizard tongue. Long ways away since Obi-Wan Kenobi and Amidala in the backyard.

Summer of ’99? I was 11 and about to go into 6th grade. I probably went to about 3-4 different Girl Scout summer camps, because I was really into GS at that age. I remember carpooling to camp and blast Spice Girls & Back Street Boys really loud while passing around beat up copies of Tiger Beat. (I really loved a particular issue that had a Leo Dicaprio centerfold, oh tweenhood) This was also the summer where I had a major growth spurt and was the tallest girl in school until around 8th/9th grade. I shot up from about 5′ to 5’5 in a few months, and then only grew about 2 in between 1999-now.

The summer of ’99 was between Sophomore and Junior year, and that was when I decided to leave the International Baccelaureate program at high school. At the time, I was certain that I was opting out of program that was pushing me for no good reason – I could take AP and community college classes and gain the same benefit, without the added stress. Looking back, I see it as one of many times I have chosen the easier path. I always have a good reason, but in the end I think I just prefer not to be challenged too much. It is a character flaw that I am trying to work against, but I wish I had know then to challange my decision a little more.

As a fellow ex-IB-er, I have to say, I think you did the right thing, absolutely. In my school it was possible to drop down to only two IB classes in grade 11, so I ended up doing HL history and HL music. To this day I am grateful that I made that choice. As a result, I got to enjoy highschool, I still had room to play in band, jazz band, jazz combo, sing in choir and run cross country. It allowed me to still be a kid, which I was and though I still worked and studied for my grades in my non-IB classes, there was not the extreme pressure cooker style stress . My friends who stayed in full either got physically ill from stress or were total zombies from pulling all-nighters.

the summer of 1999 I was 12 years old, and my family took a road trip across eastern Canada and into the States as well with my grandparents in their motorhome. I got stitches in my foot in small-town Quebec, finally got to go to the real Green Gables, and discovered Ben & Jerry’s for the first time. That trip spawned a whole lot of family inside jokes that are still going strong 12 years later. Shoot that was a good summer.

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