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Teenage Wasteland

Sep 19, 2011
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Decorating the inside of your locker was the thing when I was in junior high. There were no computers with graphic design programs and no high speed printers when I started 7th grade in 1977, so my girlfriends and I had to rely on back issues of Tiger Beat, leftover Christmas wrapping paper, brown grocery bags and magic markers we used to doodle our names in the same plump, psychedelic fonts we’d seen on record albums.

There was a recurring theme in the decorating style of my fellow pubescent girls: lots of swirly flowers, a few carefully concealed 4-letter words, budding fashionista collages of Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley, the ever-classic “Hang in there Baby” kitten, some Charlie’s Angels poster shots, more than an occasional bible quote. (This was, after all, predominantly Southern Baptist Texas.)

And then, there were the photos of boys. Most of us were too young for boyfriends. While a few cheerleaders were already going steady with the jocks they’d break up/make up with all the way through high school, the rest of us made due with altars to those famous boys who paved the way for this generation’s Justin Beiber. Shawn Cassidy was well-represented, along with his Hardy Boys co-star Parker Stevenson. All of the popular girls had pictures of Leif Garrett and the Bay City Rollers. The cooler girls featured Peter Frampton and Roger Daltrey. The really bad-ass girls had splashy shots of KISS and Tim Curry. As far as I know, I was the only one with a picture of Che Guevara.

In this age of Facebook and smart phones, I’m sure locker decorations have fallen out of style, but the same archetypes are still part of middle school: the popular girls, the cool kids, the misfits. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t at least one offbeat girl at South Pas middle school with Che Guevara’s picture as wallpaper on her laptop.

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