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My 80s Reunion
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Ch-ch-Changes, as the old David Bowie song goes, talks about how “time may change me.” Well it has changed me, but in some ways, it seems like it’s all the same.

My class reunion is around the corner and sometimes I feel like I’m back in the 80s again. I look around and see teenagers that look like my classmates — except that it’s 2009. It throws my senses off kilter, like I’ve stepped into a time warp.

The 80s were awesome. The nation was patriotic and prosperous. Since the 80s were so great and a lot of great things happened, people got carried away and it became known as the decade of decadence, the decade of greed, the decade of excess. It’s when we all first heard of Donald Trump and Leona Helmsley, and that people could actually be that rich.

It was the decade of my youth.

As much as I loved the 80s and feel a sense of nostalgia, don’t worry; I have no intention of giving myself a perm, putting on stirrup pants, or attempting the “moon walk.”

What I find amusing is how fashions are coming full circle, which I can’t quite understand since our fashion was kind of…funky, but it wasn’t all bad depending on your taste.

A lot of the girls I see around town look like they stepped out of a scene from “Flashdance,” and they’ve never even heard of Flashdance.

They all wear “skinny jeans” now too, but they can buy them already made that way. We invented them and had to make our own by having our moms sew the inseams of our jeans so they got real tight at the ankles.

Recently, I saw a photo of singer Rihanna wearing high-waisted acid-washed jeans. Let me tell you, I owned a pair, as did many of my classmates, but seriously those never looked good. Somebody should’ve told her.

Oakley sunglasses are popular again, as are other brands that have been completely off the radar for the past 20 years, and are showing up on the store shelves.

Because Hollywood is so uncreative these days and can’t come up with original ideas, it is starting to do remakes of 80s movies like Footloose and Wall Street. They tried to bring back Knight Rider to television — it flopped — and now The Witches of Eastwick is supposed to be coming to TV too.

Everyone is listening to Michael Jackson again. Well, okay, that’s more because he just died than because he was hot in the 80s.

But still, it’s all about the 80s.

I think it would be interesting to have conversations at the reunion about what was big news in the 80s — a lot of important history shaped the era. We remember the Chernobyl disaster, the space shuttle Challenger, the war on drugs, and that E.T. phoned home. We also remember the Cold War, the removal of the Berlin Wall, the assassination attempt on Reagan, and who shot J.R.

It would be cool if some of my former classmates wore 80s fashion to our class reunion, but only in moderation. Wearing their old Ray Ban sunglasses or denim jackets — the original ones, not modernized versions — would be fun.

I just hope we have a really good turnout, but I have a few concerns about missing Oakdale alumni. One former classmate who lives in town asked me on the phone the other day if I knew anything about the reunion. I was shocked that he hadn’t heard anything considering the number of alums he works with and the amount of promotion. He said he was “out of the loop.” That just goes to show how hard it is to find old classmates for reunions, even when they still live here.

With the reunion only a couple weeks away, I find myself wondering things like: Who has hair? Who doesn’t? Who looks the same and who’s unrecognizable? Who looks better than ever and who reached their peak in high school? But I think the bigger question is: Just how good is my memory?


Dawn M. Henley is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.