Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Red Hen Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
By now, nostalgia for the 1980s is an established sphere dedicated mostly to reminiscence about music, movies, TV shows, fads and styles of the decade, geared toward those who were in junior high or high school during the ’80s. What this kind of nostalgia seems to say is that to these “children of the ’80s” ...
Pac-Man became the first computer game hero. He was originally supposed to be Puck-Man (he was, after all, shaped like a hockey puck), but with the threat that rampaging youth might scratch out the loop of the P to form an F on arcade machines, Pac-Man was born, a name with literally no meaning. ...
If I was ever going to see him again, of course it would be in San Francisco. We’d been in San Francisco together once another time, at the onset of the ’80s, on a chartered bus with an amateur chorus, and he’d said, “When you leave home like this, all you have to do is go 100 miles up the freeway and your life doesn’t seem real anymore, ...
Section 1. 1980
What Satisfies People
She was standing there with a suitcase in front of the television’s cracked-open screen. It was a small suitcase. He didn’t get up. He was reading a textbook from a business law class he’d taken in college, a tough course that had forced him to work harder than he ever had before. Mona and he had studied together. ...
Section 2. 1981
Disguised as Suicide
Just before Jan won the title of Miss Sand Valley, California, her agent— who’d driven 200 miles to Sand Valley the day before the contest and signed her on after the preliminaries—whispered in her ear, Tell them you want to be a doctor, that always knocks their eyes out. ...
Seciton 3. 1982
The Three Screwdrivers
She looks out the bathroom door at him, then goes back to the mirror. He doesn’t look very much like he did five years ago when he was seventeen and they lived in the same neighborhood and walked to school together. She remembers being sad a lot in high school and he would try to joke her out of it. ...
Seciton 4. 1983
Another Honeymoon Over
They’re crossing the desert in late summer. Ranching towns at the foothills of the mountains are spaced almost exactly fifty miles apart. The sidewalks seem full of people. Ranchers come into town on Friday night and vacationers stop here before going on to the high Sierra for camping, fishing, cliff climbing, sometimes death—not too often. ...
Section 5. 1984
Each Other’s History
The summer Olympics dominated her dad’s black-and-white TV for two weeks the beginning of the election season. She has a vague but persistent memory of the phrase “running for president” in a newsanchor voice-over, while the distorted B&W screen showed an Olympic track. ...
Seciton 6. 1985
The neighborhood was called Normal Heights. It had once been the location of the old normal school, and it sat on a plateau above the county’s major river valley, thus normal-plus-heights. No one thought the neighborhood’s name was odd, although few, if anyone, knew that normal schools had been started by the French ...
Seciton 7. 1986
Change the World
It was around then Home Depot opened less than a mile away. It was the first one Marcy had seen. Someday it would be torn down because it was too small. But back then, it was the most enormous hardware store anyone had ever imagined. Bigger than Handyman, than Builder’s Emporium, than Dixieline Lumber. ...
Seciton 8. 1987
Our Time Is Up
The word, that year, was co-dependant. Barb was in a co-dependency group. Too young for a midlife crisis (that, believe it or not, was from 1965), but was exactly where she should be to begin probing the concerns of adult children (1983). Yuppies, identified in 1984, had already discovered if their families had been dysfunctional (1981), ...
Seciton 9. 1988
My Husband’s Best Friend
We were there to talk about: My search for a career across the continent, her lover 2000 miles away waiting for a commitment. My husband wondering if being married was what he wanted, our new unintentionally similar haircuts, her budding friendship with my husband. Also: my memories of being fired from a job I loved, ...
They’ll Shoot You
Cici watches Jeremy’s eyes move across hockey statistics in the newspaper. His mother has told Jeremy, in private, that Cici could use some cute new clothes to wear instead of jeans. Jeremy told Cici later. He also told her his mother had informed him—as though it took her a day and a half to do the subtraction—that Cici was eleven years younger than him. ...
Seciton 10. 1989
First Year in Meadville
No curtains on my office windows, un-frilled view through the storm glass, my feet on the ledge, chair tipped, head barely visible to those passing in the hall, remarking, “You spend a lot of time looking out your window.” But I’m working, just like the man in plaid shirt and knit hat, still raking leaves in March. ...
She first encountered the neighbors on the steep adjoined driveways they shared. With an armload of letters, ad circulars and magazines from the mailboxes on the street, Nan’s neighbor was making her way back down toward the houses on her white concrete half of the driveway, just as Nan was headed up her own black asphalt side to collect her daily barrage of junk. ...
Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2009
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