I'm Bad, I'm Bad, Come on, You Know It...
Oh geez...someone slap me. I just typed Michael Jackson lyrics. I never was a fan but as you may know, it's some kind of universal law that the words to songs you don't like will become forever embedded in your brain and that's my excuse. So there.
Let's backtrack to about 1976 for a minute...
When I was about 9, I had this burnout, stoner, Dazed & Confused styley babysitter named Cathy. (She wasn't stoned when she babysat me every night from 6 to 11pm. Well, I don't think she was. How would I have known?) She would bring over Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac albums and we would listen to music all the time. I swear I don't think I watched TV at night for an entire year. She wore Levi's corduroys and cool 70's iron-on shirts and occasionally, a black rock T-shirt (you know, like the retro ones that are so trendy now). I thought Cathy was the muffuggin' BOMB. The coolest. Girl. Ever.
We would sometimes walk to the park where kids played soccer, baseball and softball at night and find her stoner friends hanging out on their picnic table and I thought the boys were way cute. They had layered, feathered haircuts like every guy in every band has now and they all smoked. Even Cathy would smoke cigarettes on my back porch all evening and dump the ashtray over the fence when she heard the buzz of my mom's VW Rabbit coming down the boulevard. Since my mom was a smoker, she never even noticed the smell and I was more than willing to keep Cathy's secret.
Since Cathy wore them, I begged my mom to buy me some Levi's cords. She relented and I got a dark green pair, a light blue pair and a rust pair (divorce guilt and working mom guilt = coveted Levi's). Every night before Cathy came over, I would wet my cords and put them in the dryer so they would be nice and snug instead of all baggy & loose from wearing them during the day (Yes, five nights in a week, three pair of pants). Cathy had a macrame purse so I wanted a macrame purse. Cathy wore Earth shoes so I wanted Earth shoes. I was smitten. Cathy was my idol. My role model. My very own bad influence.
Oddly enough, I came across a web site the other day of a movie that influenced my pre-teen youth and reminded me of my formative years with Cathy. You may have seen it but more likely you haven't. It was callled Over the Edge and it starred a teenage Matt Dillon as a sort of ringleader of juvenile delinquents in a suburban "master planned" community. This movie was my Rebel Without a Cause. Though Cathy was no longer my babysitter by the time I saw this movie in 7th grade (on cable) the kids in the movie reminded me of her and her friends a lot. My best friend and I wanted to live this movie. Rebellion never looked so fun! Check out this site if you feel like it. Or better yet, rent the movie. The soundtrack is awesome and Matt Dillon is pretty dang cute as a juvie bad boy.
And that reminds me of Little Darlings. God, I loved that movie. Forget Tatum O' Neil's prissy character. Uh-uh. I wanted to be badass Kristy McNichol and do it with Matt Dillon. *sigh* I never did end up being particularly bad so much as secretly rebellious (as in my parents didn't even know what the hell I was up to most of the time). And even that came kind of late...lol I did a lot of things I'd never want my daughter to do but damn, I did have fun!
I guess if there is a lesson to this story, it would be to get really square babysitters for your kids and don't let them watch movies on cable when you're not home.
(Like many of you, I graduated to John Hughes movies in the 80's and forgot all about Cathy. As Marcie said in her comment, I wonder where she is now...)
What movies or people influenced your youth? Who did you want to be like?
PS: When you're done here, be sure to visit my new renter, Rhonda, of Self-Proclaimed Supermom. She has fabulous taste in music and her blog is always a great read. If you don't visit her blog, you're missing out!