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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Year Eight - One Wedding and a Funeral

Well, here we are.  We're at the tail end of the 1980s in this month long retrospective of personal stories from the brain and memory of Matthew. 

It's funny how time works.  When I was actually growing up in the 1980s, they seemed like the decade that would never end.  I remember it being a big deal when the calendar changed over from 1989 to 1990 because as an eight year old child, it seemed as though 1989 lasted FOREVER!  To go from the eighties to the nineties seemed like a milestone to me!  And we weren't even close to 2000 yet!

Sigh.  Then again, at the age of eight, I thought everything was exciting.

Anyway, welcome to the eighth edition of A POP CULTURE ADDICT RETROSPECTIVE, which means that I'll be telling a story or two from the year that I was eight years old.  And, to be honest with you, if seven was a not so lucky year, eight ended up being much better.  I was in the third grade with a teacher I enjoyed, I started to hit one growth spurt after another, and I totally slaughtered a group of high school students at the local corner store... Bubble Bobble.  What, you thought I'd actually go after teenagers with violence in mind?  Please.  Not my style.  That, plus they would have kicked my butt.  At least Bubble Bobble was a safer challenge option.

Confession:  I STILL love Bubble Bobble some 26 years later!

Okay, so let's see what was happening in the world of pop culture around the time that I turned eight years old.

Well, apparently my Ninja Turtle obsession was in full swing.  Funny thing is, you could probably buy that same exact shirt that I am wearing in 2015, with the way they've come back in style!  I still don't know how to explain the loud shorts and velcro shoes though.  Oh, and you probably noticed that I didn't really smile that much in this photo.  Let's just say that there was a reason why my nickname in '89 was "Gummy".  Losing nine baby teeth that year probably did it.

Okay, so what else was big in '89 besides the Ninja Turtles?

#1 SONG THE WEEK OF 5/18/1989
"I'll Be There For You" - BON JOVI

Bon Jovi was one of those artists that I could take or leave.  In the case of my sister though, she has seen him in concert some six times.  Or was it seven?  Whatever the case, I like this one.  For some reason though, I always thought that Paula Abdul had the #1 song this week 26 years ago.  Maybe some site was reporting false information.  Wouldn't be the first time.

"See No Evil, Hear No Evil"

I saw not this film, nor have I even heard of this film.  But given that Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder starred in it, I guess it can't be that bad.  Well, barring the poor reviews, that is.


Okay, technically this show tied for first place with "The Cosby Show".  But I've put down the Cosby Show in this spot for the last four entries!  It's time for a change!  And, well...Roseanne was probably considered the "anti-Cosby Show"!

So, 1989 was one of those years in which I saw two different extremes.  I went to both my first wedding, as well as my first funeral.  If I remember correctly, both events took place only months apart.

Now, I'll just briefly talk about the funeral, just because I don't want to make this entry too depressing.  But the first funeral I went to was my Uncle Roy's funeral.  Well, okay, I suppose you could technically call him my great-uncle.  But we just called him Uncle Roy.  I don't really remember interacting with him a whole lot, but from what I have heard, we got along fine.

The funeral itself was a small gathering.  I remember that my parents sort of debated whether I should go or not, because at that time I was still sort of questioning what it meant to die.  I knew what death was at eight years old, but it never really hit me just how final it really was.  The funeral was one that was open casket before the service began, and to an eight year old kid, you think that the person in the coffin is just having a nap.  The only difference is that the person in the coffin won't wake up ever again.  And once you really process that, it's quite sobering.  When my grandmother passed away two years later, I completely understood.

The funeral itself was nice though...well, as nice as a funeral could be, I suppose.  I do remember one really random part of it though.  It was at the burial site, and we all gathered around to watch the coffin get placed into the ground.  One thing I remember is hearing my grandmother screeching, and when we turned around, we saw a little snake slithering around one of the tombstones. 

Does anyone know if that is symbolic in any way?  Please let me know!

Now, as for the wedding, that was definitely a much happier occasion.  Now, I should tell you that the wedding that I attended was my eldest sister's.  And I should also tell you that my sister happens to be fifteen years older than I am.  So, that explains that.  It's not like my sister was in one of those arranged marriages where she was betrothed at thirteen.

So, this occasion meant that we all had to dress up.  Including me, the person who believed that the only person who should wear a tuxedo is James Bond. 

Have a look at our family photo taken on September 23, 1989.

Okay, so that would be my parents, my sisters, and the short kid at the end in the tuxedo and cheeky grin would be yours truly.  It's so funny, in 1989, I was the shortest one of the family.  Who knew that I would inevitably end up being the only one in my family to surpass six feet in height?  Just goes to show you how time flowing can make the impossible happen.

So, there were really no major things that I had to do for the wedding.  I didn't have to read any passages, I didn't have to carry the rings on a little pillow.  All I had to do was show up and throw confetti at the end of the ceremony.  That was all.  Though, I imagine that during the whole ceremony I was fidgeting with my bowtie.  I absolutely hate bowties and if I ever get married, I'm getting one of those ties you can buy at Walmart that all you have to do is pull the tie and it goes tighter.

(I'm really lazy when it comes to formal wear.  Can't you tell?)

The wedding ceremony went well, and the reception was also quite successful, even though there were a couple of parts that I would like to forget.

For one, the reception was held at our town country club.  It was a good location and had a lot of room, but I've never really felt comfortable at places in which only rich people really hang around at.  Of course, that could be because I've never...well...been rich.  At least not monetarily anyway.

Second, I remember having sore feet at the reception, not because of the fact that I was wearing ill-fitting shoes, but because the whole family had to stand around and greet every single guest that showed up at the wedding before we could even sit down and enjoy the reception.  And to an eight-year-old, it seemed like our entire city was invited to the reception, even though it was only a couple hundred.

Thirdly, I thought that my parents were going to absolutely kill me when it came time to serve desserts at the reception.  I had grabbed some of the chocolate mousse, because it looked like the only dessert that I would actually like.  Did I mention that I was wearing a RENTED tuxedo?

Chocolate mousse + rented tuxedo = NEAR DISASTER!

Yep, somehow I spilled chocolate mousse all over my tuxedo jacket, and my parents had a major bird about it.  It wasn't until I discovered how much the tuxedo cost that I realized why that was the case!  Fortunately, the chocolate mousse did not leave behind a permanent stain on the jacket, and it was returned the next day with every single member of my family not even letting on that anything had happened that would cause them to get suspicious.

Not that it really matters much now anyway if they did find out.  The tuxedo shop went out of business in the 1990s anyway.

But, yeah, that's what I remember most about being eight.  Going to a wedding and a funeral.

Tomorrow, we're smack dab in the middle of 1990...and because it's Mother's Day, I thought I would tell a Mom related story.

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