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?