Getting old on a #MusicalMonday or 30 years? Really?



A Fair Exchange - Cover
Some of my experiences from US High School inspired this novel

One day you wake up and discover The Breakfast Club is 30 years old and you’re never going to have hair like Molly Ringwald did in that movie. For me that was today. I mean I know I’m getting older and that I’m not 15 like I was when I first saw that movie but I sure don’t feel 30 years older than I did that year.

I was in Year 10 when I saw that Movie (Hoyts Cinema George Street). If that day was like every other time I saw a movie I took a train from the suburbs and probably had a hamburger happy meal and took the pickles off it as well.

It was an exciting time in my life. That year was epic for me.

I was chosen to go on an exchange to the US for a year. Yep little fifteen ear old Monique got on a plane and went all on her own (with hundreds of other excited teenagers) to America. Big year. Huge.

Anyway I remember that the day I left school for a year a friend of mine called MaryAnne sang the theme song Simple Minds’ Don’ You Forget About me to me as I walked out of the classroom for the last time. I was leaving to go to an American High School which I thought was going to be just like The Breakfast Club, because in my fifteen year old mind life was like the movies.

I must tell you I learned a whole lot of things that year and I had some amazing experiences but not at a school that was anything like the one in that movie. I never did get detention which was lucky because I think the kids in detention probably made Judd Nelson’s character look like he was in kindergarten.

Of all the Breakfast Club Characters I was definitely most like Claire, without any of the attitude. Spoiled, sure. Prissy, definitely. Cool, sadly not ever. I never got detention in Australia either and that was much to do easier. (My Australian school was so much stricter – No hair ribbons? Detention for you. You are late. Detention for you? Forgot your homework? You get the idea.)

So thirty years on what did I learn that year at school?
– What an eye-lash curler was and that some people even used them in History Class (I know, right? That was a surprise).
– That marshmallow Fluff was a real thing and that the factory is in Lynn, Massachusetts where I went on my exchange.
– All 50 States and their Capitals and the correct pronunciation of Des Moines.
– What a lavatory pass was, and in that vein, that hall monitors were a real thing.
– It snows at the beach…that had honestly never occurred to me…I really was quite ignorant.
-It is always best to wait until the teacher introduces himself because they guy with the beard at the front of the classroom who looks as old as your Dad might actually just be a dude on the football team and not your new English teacher.
– That in America kids really do eat inside in cafeteria’s (we sit outside on cold cement here in Australia) and that they’re kind of scary places unless you have friends (and even if you do) and that if you want to see a fight at school that’s probably where it will take place.
– Some couples put the dates they had sex with each other in their yearbook (for real and I still find that confusing).
– Not all big hair is the same. (Mine was big and the wrong big FYI).
– It is good to join clubs because that’s how you make friends at High School.
– American High School really is a lot like the movies.
– Most of what I learned in High School didn’t come from the teachers.

So for Musical Monday I give you two classics. The first is a Whitney Houston number we sang in the school revue. I am a really bad singer but they let me in anyway, I stood between two male football players and sang the male part, it was easier. This song was HUGE at the time and it was a good message (My fave Whitney song from that period was I want to Dance With Somebody).

The second offering is of course Simple Minds.



Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie
2/25/2015 10:46:30 am

My goodness! Fifteen and headed across the ocean to attend an American high school – in Lynn, Massachusetts? Wow. That must have been amazing, just as it would be if you’d been an American, traveling to an Australian high school.

Great music selections for this post and I especially loved your bulleted list of things you learned. I grew up in Virginia and lived in a Boston suburb as an adult (not Lynn) – and I had never heard of Fluff until a neighbor made me a Fluff and peanut butter sandwich, explaining (as I suspect they all do) that Fluff is made in Lynn. It’s a funny little sandwich topping that’s celebrated in that area of the country. I’m back in Virginia and many of the moms I hang with down here have never heard of Fluff – so you received a delicacy, that’s for sure! 🙂
2/25/2015 11:39:35 am

It was quite an adventure! Lynn was so different to where I grew up and went to school in Sydney.

I actually saw Fluff in a supermarket here not long ago…30 years and they’re now taking on the world.

Sandie Docker
2/25/2015 08:12:08 pm

I was an exchange student at 17, to Germany. Most amazing year of my life! Love the list of things you learned 🙂

2/25/2015 09:19:16 pm

I’ll tell you, you are 100% right about the cafeteria. It may have been the scariest part of my school years.

Lee Ann Howlett
2/26/2015 08:43:39 am

Great post! Had me laughing due to some of the ‘flashbacks’ I was having. (Big hair, the school cafeteria, etc.) I went to a number of different schools but they were all in the U.S. (military family) so I can’t imagine taking the leap that you did to another country for a year. Now I’ll have the Simple Minds song going through my head but that’s definitely not a bad thing! 🙂

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