The Angels…

I have fallen in love with many a Blog here on WordPress. By far, one of my favorites is The Hindsight Letters which features posts about your geeky, pimply, hormonally insane, ever-shifting, teenage days and what lessons you may have gleaned during days gone by. I never failed to be moved or tickled by the their posts and hopefully you will too.

Today, is definitely a red letter day because they have featured one of my letters, “The Angels” which talks about all things 80’s and the magic of friendship. Leave a little love ;).

Copy of blog post:

Dear me at 14,

You will remember all the mistakes of your youth with a cringing sense of horror and embarrassment as time marches relentlessly on. The few things you did right will become  beacons in the dark and the only thing that saves you, in the lurid and unforgiving light of reflection, is the knowledge that mistakes are a part of growing up.

The eighties arrived with a crash and a bang and you were catapulted into J.H.S. You will remember being terrified and thinking you would never make new friends. You will be wrong. There you learned untold lessons and discovered nine girls, one by one, who became The Angels.

You will never forget our obsession with all things adult: boys, sex, drugs and our first, halting steps into womanhood. It was our time of first kisses, make-out sessions, first loves and shades of heartaches on the road to becoming.

We preened in the Yard after school, congregated, flirted and gyrated. You will always remember the goofy wonder that you all felt at halting any sports activity, if only momentarily, with whatever crazy antics you psyched each other in to doing. You will come to understand that it was our first taste of the power that women wield over men. Stop!!! You didn’t have to be so blatant and throw caution to the winds but driven by hormones we remained blissfully unaware.

You will delight at how we teetered on the edge of adulthood, shared Judy Blume and gorged on pizza. We shared clothes and makeup, passed notes in class, giggled in the bathroom and spent untold minutes putting on Starlight Magic makeup. It was wasted time trying to make ourselves gorgeous, as if we already weren’t. Accepting your body is an art that will take you at least another twenty years to learn.

We became artists at cutting school and finding places to hang out. We did our thing at Games, Games, Games, when Video first reigned supreme, amidst the cacophony of blinking and flashing machines. John Jay and Central Park were our favorite haunts or anyone’s house where parents were absent or present but tolerant. It is only three years later that you will realize that cutting is NOT your friend.

Together, we would become obsessed with The Warriors and Flashdance. Flashdance which we saw nine, yes nine, times in an attempt to memorize Jennifer Beals, her every move and ingest the yummy Michael Nouri. We
worked out which was our healthiest obsession.

The Angels were cool. Cool like the unspoken characters from We Jazz June. Cool like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance. We were so cool that we wanted to make love on a real train, like Tom Cruise and be sexy like Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business. Because cool meant everything and you were cool as long as you were part of a group. Cool was who you hung out with, who would stand up for you and what you wore. We were so cool that we broke down barriers in our connection although we didn’t know it then. You will remember how efficient we were at eliminating outsiders because, God help us, that made us even cooler. Thank God we discovered as adults that we didn’t have to work so hard to be cool.

No other decade will ever be as memorable as the 80’s to you. You will discover Rock and fell in love with AC DC, Pink Floyd, Rush, The Police, Van Halen (OMG David Lee Roth), Phil Collins, the B-52’s and Rap before it became Hip-Hop. It will forever be tight shirts, ripped jeans, rock t-shirts, Izod Lacoste, Le Tigre, Kangols, Name Belts, Gold Jewelry, Lee Jeans, Nikes, Adidas and the inevitable jean jacket (collar turned up, of course). Even now, I can hear my mom raving at me because I insisted on  bleaching and cutting up perfectly good pairs of jeans. It will also be the period you recall fondly as “the time before the D cup.”

You will be transfixed with laughter at the recollection of our first experience with alcohol. It defined drunken headiness which is all mixed up with snow, idiocy, freedom and cold. We guzzled Blackberry Brandy, of all things, made angels in the snow and rolled down the hill in Central Park. The Alice in Wonderland statue was still too cool because we related, you see. Nothing could douse our sense of glee except the sight of Dawn’s vomit and her parent’s disapproving faces when we brought her home. Hmm, maybe getting completely shit-faced wasn’t as good as we thought it would be.

You will meet your second mother, Heather. She opened her heart, her home and her shoulder to you. You will never forget the hours spent in her kitchen eating every kind of cheese known to man, hanging with Liana and Sharon, listening to classical music, ogling her incredible collection of books and devouring Oodles of Noodles because you swore you were fat, even though you were thin. She will hold pride of place in your heart for seeing past your skin color, rejecting socio-economic stereotypes and recognizing your spirit, heart and fledgling intellect. Not until you are much older will you know how unique that is.

All those wasted hours whining and moaning about our dysfunctional families, unified in our hate of adults. Only now, as we lose them, one by one, are we haunted by our lack of understanding. Finally, as grown-ups, we understand that love for our children is the greatest of all loves and “get” just where our parents were coming from.

It is these girls that will listen to you with utter fascination and stand up for you. These girls, turned women, that you will fight for, and with, through the years against boyfriends, husbands and life. They will teach you loyalty and compassion, laugh with you at the ridiculous, cry with you at the heartbreaking and even run away with you when it is all too much to bear. Most importantly, the Angels will teach you about the enduring nature of friendship, love and connection. They will become the women whose faces you will look into thirty-some years later and recognize that, only this, our friendship, has remained untarnished and true. This then, amidst a sea of regrets, is the thing you will carry with you.


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