Monday, October 29, 2012

The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest

Today is the beginning of Cally Jackson's The Year I Turned 18 blogfest to celebrate the launch of her new book, The Big Smoke.

The idea for the blogfest comes from the fact that both of the main characters in The Big Smoke turn 18 in the course of the novel. So, Cally is asking participants to write about our own 18th year.

I turned 18 way back in 1986, so I am a long way off from Ceara and Seb, the characters who celebrate their 18th birthdays in Cally's novel.

When thinking about this blogfest I realized that I don't have any particular memories of my 18th birthday at all. I have vivid memories of turning 16 and, especially, 21, but 18 doesn't stand out much.

But there were lots of things about 1986 that do stand out. It was the year of the Challenger space shuttle explosion and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. And, on a much lighter note, the "only in the 80s" event Hands Across America was held in May and an estimated 6.5 million people held hands across the country.

I have to admit I don't remember Hands Across America taking place in Cincinnati, but according to this Wiki entry my hometown was in fact one of the cities along the route. And, none other than Chewbacca was our celebrity representative. I can't imagine how we got Chewie but had I known he was going to be there I feel sure I would have gone down to the route to hold hands.

I was too old for toys in 1986 but there are still a few from that year that I remember vividly, as both were horrifying. One was the My Buddy doll, who was probably the inspiration for the demonic Chucky. He also had a Kid Sister. I hate dolls in general, and these are particularly creepy.

But the most terrifying toy of all was undoubtedly Teddy Ruxpin, the talking teddy bear.

I had a teacher that year who was so in love with her Teddy Ruxpin that she put him on her desk and had him talk to the class nearly every day. It goes without saying the woman was more than a little nuts.

The most popular movie of 1986 was easily Top Gun and I can't deny I totally loved that movie in the '80s. It hasn't aged well, to say the least, and it now seems like the cheesiest thing ever, but it was a fun time back then.

But when I look at this list of "big movies" from 1986 my favorite is easily Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Unlike many '80s movies, Ferris is still fun to watch today. And I will never tire of "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?" or of Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago. :D

One last bit of 1986 popular culture, the three most popular tv shows were The Cosby Show, Family Ties, and Cheers. These shows aired in a 90 minute block on Thursday nights on NBC, and we never missed them at my house. It seems strange now to think we actually had to watch them as they aired if we wanted to see them, as it's hard to remember like before DVRs and On Demand viewing.

So that's my quick look back at 1986, the year I turned 18. It was fun to take this little walk down memory lane. :)

Congratulations again to Cally on the release of The Big Smoke! Here is a short blurb about the book:

Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance.

When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?


  1. Oh my-- the memories (gulp). I turned 18 in 1982. Your post brought back lots of memories that made me laugh (I was married in 1986 but still remember quite a few of those!)

  2. Fun idea for a blogfest. Teddy Ruxpin has to be one of the creepiest parts of 1986. Ferris Bueller was the best part! I was 16 then.

  3. OOh yes such a cool blogfest!!! Unfortunately I can't participate because I'm not 18 yet!

    Have a nice day!

  4. Oh gosh that teddy bear is creepy O_O

    I LOVE 80s movies and Ferris is one of my faves! That one and Weird Science :P

  5. It's funny because I don't really remember 18 either - 16 and 21 yes, but not 18 so much. The 80s all seem to blend together for me.

    Oh, and I remember watching that block of TV shows, too! I sometimes catch those old episodes of The Cosby Show on TVLand. :)

  6. I only remember eighteen because it was when I escaped high school and entered college. And yes, your teacher was a little nuts.

  7. It was sort of disturbing to my ears to hear you say "way back in 1986." I had to stop and do some math, because my 18th happened back in 1969. Yikes!

    But I somehow recall things about the same as you: "...vivid memories of turning 16 and, most especially, 21, but 18 doesn't stand out much." Interesting.

    Thoroughly enjoyed your recap of 1986, though. That was the year I married the best man for me of my entire life.

    Always enjoy your writing, Julie. Thanks for posting! :~)

  8. I actually graduated high school on my eighteenth birthday, so I remember it well. Big celebrating that night. And I recently watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off again, and it really does hold up. Still a fun movie.

  9. I was graduating from 8th grade in 1986 and Hands Across America rings a bell and of course, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

  10. I turned 18 in 1983 and was married three months later. YIKES!

    Hugs and chocolate,

  11. Ferris Bueller's Day off is a great movie. I was always a little freaked out by the My Buddy doll because he looked a little too much like Chucky.

  12. I loved Top Gun at the time too. I haven't watched it in years, but I don't think I will now... I'd hate to see how cheesy it is now. That doll is awful!

  13. Thanks so much for entering the blogfest! I entered your post to the linky list and updated my post to hopefully make it a little easier to understand what you have to do!

    Ferris Bueller's Day Off is such a classic. Makes me want to watch it again! :-)

  14. @Julie, I'm glad you liked the post, thanks!

    @Theresa, yeah, I can't imagine who thought Teddy was a good idea in the first place.

    @Jess, oh, thanks! Even if you make me feel old LOL. :)

    @Samantha, isn't he the worst toy ever? Weird Science was fun too, I haven't seen that in ages.

    @Madeline, yeah, it was kind of surprising when I realized 18 doesn't stand out at all really. I loved that Thursday night TV. :)

    @Alex, I was so thrilled to get out of high school too!

    @Kathy, oh, it's so great to see you!! Thanks for coming by, and I'm sorry if I made you feel old LOL.

    @LG, yeah, I'm actually surprised how well Ferris holds up. It's still very quotable. Most 80s movies just seem so cheesy now but Ferris is still very clever.

    @Johanna, I had forgotten all about Hands Across America but it was just an 80s thing! The intentions were good but it just seems so funny now.

    @shelly, oh my! Thanks for the hugs and chocolate, back at you. :)

    @Carrie, yeah, the My Buddy guy is creepy as can be. I really can't stand dolls of any kind, they creep me out.

    @Annalisa, LOL, I saw Top Gun so many times back then and still know the dialogue but when I see clips now I kind of cringe LOL. It's better for it to stay in the 80s.

    @Cally, congratulations again on your release, this blogfest is fun!

  15. I turned 10 in 1986 and I totally remember everything you just mentioned. My Buddy and Kid Sister, both of which I had no interest in as I liked Cabbage Patch Kids. Remember those? I'm sure you do.

    I used to watch all 3 of those TV shows on NBC Thursday nights, too! Family Ties was my favorite and my entire family would sit around the TV and watch all 3 shows every week. We didn't have the DVR, but we used to record the shows on our VCR all the time, even if we didn't miss them when they aired.

    Such great memories! And, Ferris Bueller's Day Off is still one of my favorite movies ever. (Your teacher with the Teddy Ruxpin bear was more than a little nuts. You were in high school, right? O__O)

  16. Wow, I remember all of that stuff! Especially My Buddy and Top Gun and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Total classics! The Big Smoke sounds great!

  17. @Cathy, oh I definitely remember the Cabbage Patch kids, my nieces had cute ones! And my whole family would sit around the tv on Thursday nights too, we loved those shows. Yes, the crazy teacher was in high school, very strange! Thanks for your comments!

    @Lisa, I just love the 80s, it's always fun to remember this stuff. :)

  18. Teddy Ruxpin was more than a little creepy! *shudder*

    1986 was a good year :)

  19. In 1986 I was married with 2 kids and watching all those shows and playing with all those toys but with our kids. I still have the Cabbage Patch kids and our grand daughters play with them. I have long ago lost the adoption papers however. Great post.

  20. A very neat look back to when you turned 18! I remember Teddy Ruxpin. I think I had one of those when I was a kid. I was disappointed not all stuffed animals talked. Heh.

  21. Thanks for the trip down memory lane - I wasn't 18 in this year but I was around during it and I have a slightly sick love for the 80s :)

  22. oh my gosh...things i remember! loved reminiscing

  23. Hey,

    You have a year on me, Julie, so I walked in your shoes (I left them outside, next to the garage) and I still listen to Depeche Mode, Howard Jones, Duran Duran, The Pet Shop Boys, New Order, (early) U2 and don't tell anyone... Wham! :)

    There goes my rep....

  24. I was eighteen way before 1986!!! It might be interesting to see what happened in that year lol Ancient history!!!

  25. @LynnMarie, I remember my nieces had the Cabbage Patch kids with the papers, very cute. Thanks!

    @Cherie, LOL, I think I would have been freaked out if my stuffed animals talked LOL.

    @Trisha, I have a total love for the 80s too, great decade. :)

    @Tammy, me too, thanks!

    @Mark, love almost all the performers you mentioned, although I do have to pass on Wham LOL. But your secret is safe with me. :D

    @Carolyn, LOL, I'm sure it's not that ancient!

  26. now that was fun! you totally took care of when i turned 18 too! thanks!

    and excellent way to blog tour, with a hop!

  27. @Tara, glad you liked it, thanks! :)

  28. What a wonderful blast from the past! I remember watching all of those great Thursday night shows too! I also remember being sent home early from work on the day of the Challenger space shuttle disaster.
    A huge sadness swept over our office.
    Later that night I met the woman who introduced me to my husband! Julie

  29. @Julie, oh, that's amazing. Isn't is strange how life can work out sometimes? Such a sad day but then you meet that woman and your whole life changes. Thanks!

  30. I can't see the pictures, for some reason, but that's okay, because I know what they look like! I had Teddy Ruxpin (I was in 2nd grade the year Challenger was lost) and my brother had his freaky friend Grubby. You could use a cord to connect them and they would take turns telling the story. I never did have the My Buddy doll (or his sister), but I wonder if the movies were actually scary if one DID have them or had as a kid?

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  31. @Shannon, oh, I didn't even know Teddy had a friend named Grubby!! Thinking of them taking turns just cracks me up, I'm surprised my crazy teacher didn't have Grubby too. Yeah, I would imagine lots of kids got rid of their My Buddy dolls once Chucky came out LOL.

  32. hi! I found you through the Blogfest. Haha! The part about the dolls reminds me of my husband. He does not like dolls for the same reason.

    Thanks for sharing. I followed your blog =)

  33. @Emilyann, thanks, it's great to meet you! LOL, your husband and I are in total agreement about dolls. :D


Thank you for your comments!