Tuesday, June 22, 2010

cultural disconnect

(ah, a second blog post today because it is keeping my mind from thinking other things. the car is fixed (nearly $400 later) but fixed nonetheless and the hubs is on his way out of bfe. i have a pounding headache and i'm trying not to think that it is really a brain tumor, hence my eye issue. yeah, that's how i think sometimes. i have scrubbed both bathrooms and swept/mopped the kitchen floor.)

if you've been reading here awhile you probably know i am an army brat. the hubs is too. we met in high school in germany. department of defense school. i was in germany from 10-12 grade (83-86) and because of that i have a little cultural black whole.

pop culture overseas is not the same as pop culture here. even for a military base we lagged behind the trends. there are songs/movies that debuted during those years that i have no clue about, despite my passion for both music and movies. for the most part this really didn't impact our daily life because we were all in the same boat.

back then we basically had one american place to shop (the px) and it wasn't on the cutting edge of fashion. this made shopping for a prom dress challenging. we shopped a lot of catalogs (and in fact my dress from the hubs' senior prom came from the jcp catalog). eventually i ventured out into german stores and bought clothes there, but looking back they weren't the same things the kids in the states were wearing.

usually a tour of duty like that is about 3 years so there were always kids coming and going. when they came they brought w/ them knowledge of current, stateside trends and music. one of our friends came and went quickly (i think her parents were professors and not attached to the military) when we were in 11th grade. when she got back to the states she sent us video tapes of these things called....music videos. i think she sent every duran duran video made. we'd gather at one of my friends' houses and watch them for hours, wondering at this amazing thing. music videos. i distinctly remember the first time i watched mtv---it was the summer we came home from germany and i was at an aunt & uncle's house. adam curry was the dj. that's back when they actually played videos and only videos.

during my senior year my grandfather was diagnosed w/ throat cancer. my dad and his sister (who happened to also be in germany at the same time, because her husband was stationed at the us embassy) got emergency leave to go back to the states for his surgery. they removed the throat cancer but my gpa had a stroke and died before leaving the hospital. when my dad came back after the funeral her brought me these shoes that were apparently all the rage in the states. jellies. do you remember those? plastic, jelly like shoes. they must have been incredibly cheap because he brought me like 5 pair in different colors. i thought i was the shit! they were very uncomfortable but i had something new! from the states! and nobody else had them.

very few of us in high school drove. none of my friends drove. we turned 16 while overseas and while technically we could have gotten our license it was pretty much a red tape and insurance nightmare that few chose to deal w/. the hubs had his license before coming to germany so he was one of the few drivers that i knew. this of course made him a HUGE deal (as if he weren't the bmoc anyway) in our neighborhood. i didn't learn to drive until i was 18 and heading off to college. even then i didn't get my first car until my junior year in college.

when it came to news we got all of our info from the armed forces network. our television watching selection was severely limited. this was way before computers or the internet or satellite, etc. i remember watching the challenger blow up over and over again on the news.

video tape players came out while we were there, or maybe a little before we got there. we had so many bootleg movies. the hubs' dad had a million, no kidding, he had a butt load. cataloged and everything.

casey casem on armed forces radio was our only link the top songs of the day. of course madonna and culture club, wham, nena and the like were popular. the kids (boys and girls) in school dressed up like boy george or madonna, depending on the day.

the summer i got back to the states i went to my first civilian movie in 3 years, legal eagles w/ robert redford and darryl hannah. when the theater got dark and the screen came on i stood up for the national anthem. my aunt looked at me and giggled and then i sat down. they always play the national anthem before the movie on army bases. old habits died hard.

so many differences.


cheatymoon said...

When I was connected to the air force base in the U.K., I used JCP catalog a lot!

Not Your Aunt B said...

Interesting! I didn't know all that. Funny how that changes things.

Kristin.... said...

Wow. I had no idea that it was that different. Jelly shoes. I hated those things and am pretty sure I never wore them.

Antoinette Meaterson said...

I broke so.many pairs of jellies...I loved those things. They were all I would wear in the summer.

I'm also just commenting so that you know I still read you and haven't abandoned you. :)