Friday, November 30, 2007

Fashion of the 1980s

November 30, 2007

Tonight the yearbook committee is throwing an 80s Night as a fundraiser for the yearbook. For the past few weeks the teens have all been abuzz with fashion of the 1980s. "What did people wear in the 80s" has been the question of the month. It's hard to explain the 80s. There were so many different looks, and most of them were extraordinarily hideous: the "Material Girl" look, Flashdance, Thriller, Miami Vice, Jane Fonda, headbands, Swatches, sunglasses, acid-washed jeans, banana clips, parachute pants, shoulder pads, leg warmers, high top Nikes. The list is endless.

So in the spirit of 80s Night, I found some photos that best exemplify my tasteful style in this decade.

We start at the very beginning: 1980. I am sporting a button down Oxford, jeans, and clogs. My hair is particularly stylish with its feathered look.

Here I am in 1982. There are several hot items to note here: my boyfriend is wearing a classic 80s pairing: an Izod shirt (I had 13) and corduroy pants. To insure that we are a properly preppy couple, I am wearing an Oxford (I had a dozen) and a hairband. I believe those are my Calvin Klein jeans.

This shot was taken in Italy in 1983. This was one of my most popular looks: the printed turtleneck under the Oxford shirt. I probably had a dozen turtlenecks to go with my dozen Oxfords. In New York with also completed this look with an Izod polo shirt under the Oxford and a sweater tied casually around the neck. We called this look "dueling collars." No clue.

Now this look is unbelievably classic. This is my senior prom, 1984. The color of the year: dusty rose. My hair is carefully layered and feathered and appropriately short. My boyfriend's white tux is also quite fashionable, and, again, we are properly matching. Oh, and is that an add-a-bead necklace I'm wearing?

Fortunately, graduation gowns have a classic look. But my mother's red handkerchief snazzily sticking out of her pocket clearly points to the 1980s. Oh--and that feathered hair still.

Here we are on spring break from college in 1985 with some excellent examples. Joel is wearing Docksiders and some weird printed shirt. Lauren is displaying the Perm, which was an essential hair element for men and women alike. Suzie and I have classic footwear: the white tennie with bobby socks. Sweet.

I'm not sure what the hideous grimace is all about, but here I am with my oldest brother in 1985. The particular look going on here: stirrup pants with colored socks over the pants. I wore these particular black pants to death. I remember buying these Firenzes for about $30, and they were well worth the money.

Here I am, still wearing them. And Randy is sporting a sort-of Maimi Vice look with the open shirt and granddaddy T underneath. Very sexy.

But not nearly as sexy as this look in 1986. Suspenders? What was he thinking? In his defense, his mother took him shopping, and I think this is the one and only time he wore this...outfit. And so as not to make Randy feel too embarrassed, please note that my dress has a pink tie on it.

And what is up with this shirt? I don't know whose closet I grabbed that one out of, but, wow! That is serious 80s garb.

A few more examples of 80s at its best. Tracy is wear red thermals under her jeans with the tightly tapered legs. She's also got the high-top tennis shoes look going on, the big white shirt, and the bandana around her neck. Claudia and Kathy have the striped rugby shirt look; and to complete the red, white and blue theme that we apparently thought was photo-worthy, I have on tight white jeans. I remember that they were slightly cropped (enough to show off my red socks) and had zippers on the ankles.

Here are my brother and me in 1988. I included this because of my red Chucks (or Cons as they are called down here). Just goes to show that some trends are good ones and deserve to come back every 20 years or so.

And again, you can't go wrong in a graduation gown. In 1988 the eclectic and often downright scary looks of the 1980s were heading out and making room for a whole new set of fashion faux pas in the 1990s. I suppose when Duncan is a teenager, they will be having a 90s Night. I can hardly wait.


Friday, November 30, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Arby (
You're brave. Very, very brave! :)
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Friday, November 30, 2007 - hey!
Posted by DrHibiscus (
I CAN'T believe you posted that picture of me in the plaid pants / suspenders / red shirt combo... Have you no sympathy whatsoever? I'll never be able to show my face in public again.
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Friday, November 30, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by skdenfeld (
Nice! In his suspenders , Randy looks like Duckie from Pretty in Pink.
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Saturday, December 1, 2007 - BWWWHAAAAAA
Posted by Anonymous (
I so needed that laugh! I could "hear" you in each description....too funny! You all look like a Benetton commercial; I could hear new wave music and smell a shopping mall through your post. How very Breakfast Club/Valley Girl/Dirty Dancing it all was back then 'eh?

Oh may tapered jeans NEVER come back (though they are trying with the Skinny least they aren't highwaters yet).

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Saturday, December 1, 2007 - Too funny...
Posted by Prodoceo (
I graduated from highschool in '81. I think just about every item of clothing you showed was something that I owned too!! Very funny...each picture made me laugh harder!
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Sunday, December 2, 2007 - Oh my goodness!!!!
Posted by fyftn (
I am at home, sick, and in no mood to laugh. Yet, this post is priceless. My head hurts worse now but well worth it. The pics of Randy are priceless. I'll have to see if I can dig up some old pictures to make you feel better.

Great post!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday Memory: Angie Through Two Decades

November 26, 2007

Two decades sounds hefty, doesn't it? Yesterday my friend Angie celebrated her 40th birthday. I wasn't really sure until today that she actually turned 40 because I always got mixed up about Angie's age; but indeed, Tracy confirmed for me that Angie is now 40. I don't know why Tracy and I weren't with Angie yesterday; it is really inexcusable to miss one's 40th birthday. I hope that a trip to Atlanta is in the near future, but for now, I shall gift Angie with a little photo-journey down memory lane...

Angie came on the scene as a sophomore when I began my senior year at Milligan College. I sort of think she transferred over from ETSU, but I'm kind of fuzzy with those details. I have no idea how we became friends, but she lived a few doors down from me in Sutton Hall. She had great clothes and a hair crimper. She had a blue Nissan with "AngieKaye" on the license plate, and she was from nearby Kingsport. Her high school boyfriend was named Paul, and we had many great evenings of angst together over our lost loves. Because our college didn't have sororities, we made up our own. We designed fabulous t-shirts that we thought no one could read, although, of course, we did have some Greek scholars at our college that probably could have read them. We took long drives after supper in Angie's car, and went dancing at every opportunity. Angie's dad was an executive at Aladdin Plastics, so she always got us good laundry baskets. And for reasons that are too difficult to explain, we called each other "Rowena," and so we were referred to as "The Rowenas."

Let me explain the photo above. As part of the required Humanities course at our college, you had to do a final project. I think this was Tracy's project, although I'm not sure about that. But obviously, we are dressed to represent Fashion in the 20th Century. That's me in the 60s garb. Angie is in the 80s ripped jeans and Flashdance t-shirt next to me. I have no idea what decade Suzie, in the floor-length dress, or Kelly, in the pantsuit, represent! I think Tazzy and Kathy in the back row are from the 50s, and who can even imagine why Stymie, the blond guy, is in the picture.

Here is Angie graduating in 1990 with Claudia, who was a little crazy. I had already graduated and been married a year by the time Angie finished, and I believe she lived at home for a year after this. But again, my memory is a little blurry during the time in my life....

I do know, though, that Randy's and my apartment was THE place to be. All our friends fondly remember Poplar Street; in fact, a poem and a song have been written about those days on what are known as The Tree Streets in Johnson City, Tennessee. In fact, this is a good time to insert the lyrics of "Poplar Street Serenade," written and sung by our friend Steve Campbell:

Poplar Street Serenade

We rolled down the hill as the others watched on
We played in the rain and the streets as we danced
Kicking up water from the sidewalk streams
Oncoming cars flashed their headlights as we ran
through their beams.

We lay in the street and we stare at the sky
The moon on my face and the rain in my eyes
Thought of the time we've spent here in this place
Will echo and fade with the moments we try to retrace

Cool autumn air surrounds us all
The striped canvas chairs on the porch
Cradle our bodies and nurse our aching heads
from the wild time we had the night before
Warming our souls from within
Forgiving the sins of the days we leave behind
As we write another verse to the song
We call the Poplar Street Serenade

Coffee in one hand I wrap up with the other
In a tattered old quilt that was made by my mother
Swap stories of lover neurotic lament
Of hours and heart and money that we wished we'd not spent

Slump down in my chair and I take it all in
Life's silly whims I don't have to defend
With all of these people so careless and free
All drawn by the seasons and mountains of East Tennessee

Life was good and sweet and easy back then. We all lived on practically nothing, listened to a lot of music, and shared our clothes and whatever food we might have. Although I was married and madly in love, I could aptly share my single friends' heartaches and woes. And Angie had her fair share of them... In the picture above we are at an annual all-day concert on the Nolichuckey River called Rockin' on the River. There's nothing more fun than sweltering in the Tennessee sunshine with your friends.

But eventually it was time to move on. Randy and I moved to Oxford, Ohio, so he could attend graduate school at Miami University. Suzie (in the blue) lived in nearby Dayton, and Angie and Tracy came up to visit every other month. Jesse was born in 1993, and, as the first baby born to the Rowenas, he was well loved.

And so, fast forward 14 years, and here we are now (well, actually last year) with our own girls (we three also have boys). That me with Laurel, Tracy with Savannah, and Angie with Evie. Tracy still lives in Johnson City and Angie lives in Atlanta. We should see each other more--much, MUCH more--but in this decade of life one is consumed with raising children and navigating full-fledged adult lives. Now we have homes instead of tiny apartments, real furniture instead of our parents' cast-offs, and I venture to guess that we would not enjoy sweltering in the sun anymore. Except maybe for Brian and the Nightmares.

I have known Angie for 20 years, and this is what I can say about her: she is kind and gentle. She has the most beautiful voice. She is funny and beautiful, and she never has a bad word to say about anyone. She is, above all, an encourager. I pray that her life will be full of the love and good will that she so abundantly gives.

Happy Birthday, Rowena. (And if it's not your 40th birthday, it's Rowena's fault.)

Post A Comment!.....


Monday, November 26, 2007 - Yeah, I'm 40

Posted by b-day girl (

Wow! I feel really, really loved. Your post was the best birthday present ever. Here's something important to know about Sarah: Sarah is the kind of friend that cherishes you and makes you feel cherished. Sarah loves deeply and completely.
I love you, Rowena. Thanks for always making me feel way more special than I really am!

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Monday, November 26, 2007 - ick

Posted by b-day girl take 2 (

OK--one more thing: I simply can't forgive you for some of those pictures. YIKES! Was I really so hideous?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

How Sad Is My Bread?

November 24, 2007

Seriously. Look at these pathetic loaves of Amish Friendship bread. Caroline asked me to babysit her bread starter while she was on vacation this weekend, and part of my babysitting included the part where I had to divide up the starter and make my own two loaves of beautiful, delicious bread. I was very, very excited about this project.

Um, yeah. Amish I'm not.

So, seriously, what's up with my fallen bread? (It is quite edible, by the way. It's the presentation that's lacking...)

Post A Comment!.....


Sunday, November 25, 2007 - two words

Posted by onfire (

"soul sister"

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Sunday, November 25, 2007 - Untitled Comment

Posted by anotherblogonthefire (

Are you sure she didn't just give you the Amish 'Acquaintance' Bread or Amish 'I Think I've Seen You Somewhere Before' Bread?

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Monday, November 26, 2007 - so...

Posted by partyoffive (

would that be why I didn't receive a starter from you yesterday??

Edited by partyoffive on Monday, November 26, 2007 at 2:44 PM

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Monday, November 26, 2007 - LOL!

Posted by Prodoceo (

Looks seriously like every loaf of bread I've ever baked. Some people have a black thumb and can't keep plants alive. I can't keep yeast alive.

Go figure.

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Saturday, February 2, 2008 - Untitled Comment

Posted by StillHisGirl (

Have I told you lately that I love you?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Traditions

November 23, 2007

Most years my third brother and his wife host our family Thanksgiving. My brother is on the faculty at Johnson Bible College, which is about 20 minutes away from us, and as faculty they are requested to live on campus. I think it would be a fabulous place to live. For their kids (the ones left at home are now 11 and 15), the campus is their gigantic backyard. They are free to roam about in a wonderfully safe and nurturing environment. Anyway, that has nothing to do with our Thanksgiving except that I always enjoy going there and imagining what life would be like there. I pretty much do that wherever we go. It has nothing to do with being discontent; I absolutely love where we live. There's just this part of me that always wonders what life might be like somewhere else--in New York City, on a midwestern farm, or just 20 minutes down the road.

But back to Thanksgiving. Our family has certain traditions that are of utmost importance. First, there is food.

Before we went to my brother's, we made 3 pies and 10 lbs. of mashed potatoes. This year we got wild and tried The Pioneer Woman's Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes. They are truly amazing. I would have been perfectly happy just eating an entire plate of these potatoes for dinner. Everyone else brings all sorts of other traditional Thanksgiving foods, and we eat.

After eating comes football watching while digesting and then a rousing hour of basketball. During all of those sports-related activities, I generally pick the people who look least likely to want to be energetic and hang out with them. On comfortable chairs with a pot of coffee nearby.

And the rest of the day consists of these important traditions:

Ping Pong. It's something we're taught to play from babyhood. As you can see, my brother takes this very seriously. He recently refurbished his table with the above inscription painted on both ends.

My mother may be 80 years old, but she's still the reigning ping pong champion. I often slip quietly away after my first game of ping pong to find those ready for another important tradition...

Playing cards. And not just any card game, either. We exclusively play a relatively obscure game called 500. It's somewhat like bid euchre, but not. Again, we are taught to play 500 from early childhood. In fact, most of my earliest memories involve my sitting at the corner of a card table, listening to the sounds of bids and the shuffling of cards.

And while all this ping-ponging and card-playing is going on, there is constant background music.

My brother John is always brings his guitar, and there are always a couple more around in our various homes. Jesse and John played most of the afternoon, with Justus and Owen sitting in now and then. I can't remember a family event that didn't include John playing the guitar.

And that brings me to the final essential: family. I have a great family. They make me laugh a lot. My three nieces and my oldest nephew have always felt more like siblings to me, and it is so fun to watch them be grown-ups. Or at least sort of grown-ups.

Here's Owen and his girlfriend Mandy. He was such a rotten little boy. He would never go to sleep when I used to babysit him. But he turned out to be way cool.

That's my sister-in-law Nancy in the middle with Isaac and Ellen. Owen also belongs to her and Peter, and Seth was outside playing somewhere the whole day.

That's my brother Peter. My mother thinks he is perfect, so the rest of us stick our tongues out at him behind his back.

These are my two gorgeous pregnant nieces, Esther and Ellen. Esther's dad is my brother John, and her mom is Sharon (who somehow didn't make it into any of the pictures but I love her anyway!). Esther and her husband Jim are expecting a little girl in March. We are trying hard to convince her not to name the baby Feather or Rainbow. Ellen, as you might imagine, is the polar opposite of her cousin Esther. She and her husband Justus are sticking with the traditional and naming their son (also due in March) Justus Hamilton Hunter Jr. II. I love them both (Feather and Junior) already, as I have loved their mothers from the moment they were born.

Esther Grace is the oldest of the grandchildren. I was 14 when she was born. And Duncan James is (so far) the last of the grandchildren. My brother Stephen is full of surprises, so I won't be quite so bold as to say that Duncan is the very last. You just never know.

It was a good day. It is good to be surrounded by family, and I am so inexpressibly thankful that my children are growing up well loved by many.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

5 Things I'm Thankful For: The Day Before Thanksgiving

1. Black olives (an essential part of our Thanksgiving meal)
2. My mother's cranberry salad
3. Whipped cream in coffee
4. That the big shebang is at my brother's house
5. Having a big extended family nearby

***** ***** *****

Today is pie-baking day. The weather fabulous. The leaves are falling down in satisfying showers, and the kids are making the most of the piles.

***** ***** *****
And finally, some amazing insight into who I am. I feel entirely validated as a human being:

You Are The Stuffing
You're complicated and complex, yet all your pieces fit together.
People miss you if you're gone - but they're not sure why.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Memory: Thanksgiving Pie

I have always made the pies for Thanksgiving, no matter where we go. I make good pies. I watched my mother make pie crusts hundreds of times as a child, and it is a process I love.

This is Randy in 1991, our third Thanksgiving married. No, he is not 16, and see--he really did have long hair! Actually, this was after his haircut in the summer of 1991, right after he graduated from East Tennessee State University and before we moved to Oxford, Ohio, for graduate school at Miami University. His hair had been much longer.

Here we were coming home from Thanksgiving at Randy's parents' home. They lived just 20 minutes away in Cincinnati. At this time, Grandpa was also still in the pie-making business, so he would have made a cherry pie; I would have made a pumpkin and an apple. Looks like we are taking home the left-overs. In later years I reverted back to making my own whipped cream, but for awhile there we thought Cool Whip sufficed.