Friday, April 07, 2006

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 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!


  • Wonder what Cathy is up to these days? I always loved the John Hughes movies, I identified with the cool freaks more than the preps. My Husband says he always liked the Molly Ringwald girls in High School. Good thing, cause he married one.

    By Blogger Marcie, at 4/07/2006 11:34:00 AM  

  • I agree with Marcie, John Hughes movies all the way.

    I so wanted to be Molly Ringwald. I even dyed my hair red for a while!

    And thanks for the nice words GF!

    By Anonymous rhonda, at 4/07/2006 11:36:00 AM  

  • LOL...When I was a teenager (as opposed to a pre-teen) I was all about John Hughes movies. I thought MR was so hip and stylish. She made me love red hair! And the soundtracks to JH movies were the best.

    By Blogger IzzyMom, at 4/07/2006 11:40:00 AM  

  • Your use of muffuggin cracked me up.

    I had that same sitter only her name was Lisa and her boyfriend was a super hottie named Kevin with a Rolling Stones' Lips tatoo on his shoulder. I was thinking of them recently because I saw Kevin's obituary in the paper.

    By Blogger Jenny, at 4/07/2006 11:55:00 AM  

  • I grew up with four older siblings who were 8 to 14 years older than me, so I had lots of (bad) influences living right in the house with me. Their clothes and tastes in music influenced me some, and thanks to my older sisters I started drinking Tab and dieting when I was 9. There were pieces of Cathy in all my older sibs.

    Like others have mentioned, the John Hughes movies influenced me some too, but I didn't identify closely with anyone in particular. Molly Ringwald kind of annoyed me. I like those movies more now than I did then, I think.

    By Blogger Mrs. Davis, at 4/07/2006 12:16:00 PM  

  • Probably my aunt was my big influence in the late 70s. She was in high school then and lived next door with my grandparents (she's about 15 years younger than my mom). She was (is) gorgeous and popular and had a great-looking boyfriend. And a lava lamp!

    Then like you all I graduated to Molly Ringwald in the 1980s. I soo wanted to be Samantha from Sixteen Candles, and have my boyfriend be Jake Ryan. Sigh.

    I was pretty much a good girl until college, but then all hell broke loose...

    By Anonymous Nancy, at 4/07/2006 12:19:00 PM  

  • I was more of the goody-goody girl who sooooooo wanted to be Olivia Newton John. I watched Grease and Xanadu about a gazillion times and then when Grease 2 came out, I dreamed of the day I would be the star in Grease 7 or 8.
    Madonna then had me mesmerized in the 80's and actually still does (I mean, LOOK at that woman, so tight and fit and energetic). If the wavy curls ever come back, I am so getting another perm! JK

    By Blogger kfk, at 4/07/2006 02:21:00 PM  

  • When I was 4 my parents, in the midst of a total emergency, left me with my Aunt Joyce's 17 year old brother Billy. Billy looked a bit like Matthew Mcconaughey, but with long hair. Even at 4 I knew he was a hottie. Not one to let a little babysitting gig cramp his style; Billy actually took me with him to a keg party. It was the first time I remember hearing Led Zeppelin. Needless to say, my parents flipped out, and I never had a babysitter outside of Grandma again. The sad after thought is Billy is now a very pudgy, totally bald, unemployed father of 2 bratty teenagers.

    By Blogger hipstermom, at 4/07/2006 03:58:00 PM  

  • I had a sitter just like Cathy! Only her name was MaryBeth and she brought over Aerosmith albums. I also remember I bought my first pair of Levi courdoroys with my paper route money...they were teal green, and I thought I looked so cool.
    Ditto on the John Hughes movies.

    By Blogger Pattie, at 4/07/2006 04:27:00 PM  

  • okay, i must have been a little weird. maybe still am. but i wasn't really into what was going on. oh yes, i wanted the feathered hair (but didn't have it), wanted to wear the blue eyeshadow (but wasn't allowed). when we'd play at recess, i always wanted to be farrah, and then of course "chris." had a great pair of rainbow threaded gouchos, the roller skating tennis shoes, and a banana seat bike. but as far as movies go, the one that influenced me the most as a youngster was "The Turning Pointe" with Mikhail Baryshnikov (and yes i have the spelling memorized, thank you very much). i too wanted to be a badass. i definately identified with the punks. and unlike marcie, i wasn't the molly ringwald type, i was the judd nelson type. so i've been told.

    By Blogger cameo, at 4/07/2006 05:20:00 PM  

  • Ah, the days when parents were smokers. Our kids will have it a lot harder, no?

    I loved reading this post. Like Marcie, I really wonder where Cathy is these days. you should have put her last name somewhere, then maybe if she googled herself she'd find you!

    By Blogger MrsFortune, at 4/07/2006 05:34:00 PM  

  • Oh wow! Of course the John Hughes movies were huge in my life, but I think the flick that left the most lasting impression on me was the movie "Foxes". It had Jodie Foster, Cherie Curie (from The Runaways!), and Scott Baio. I was only 8 or 9 when it came out but I was convinced that all teenagers, at least the ones in California, lived like that. I own a copy of that movie today, on VHS. It does not stand the test of time, but the scene where Jodie Foster's character plays "More than a Feeling" by Boston gives me the chills every time I watch it!

    By Blogger Mrs. Chicky, at 4/07/2006 06:23:00 PM  

  • This may sound silly, but the movie that really sticks out as representing what I wanted to be like? "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

    I wanted to be Ferris. I wanted to be the smart kid who could outthink all of the adults to get my own way. I actually was pretty good at running circles around many of the adults I knew, and brat that I was, I took pleasure in it. I could have won an Oscar for some of the performances I gave.

    By Blogger Christina, at 4/07/2006 07:14:00 PM  

  • Repo Man. I loved Repo Man.

    And my parents were growing the weed, so I didn't have to go far for it.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 4/07/2006 07:40:00 PM  

  • Love, notice the present tense, John Hughes movies. Molly was my idol. Especially in Pretty in Pink. Hello? She made her own clothes and had a pink car. She ROCKED! I still want to be a little bit of a bad girl. I think that is why I have tattoos.

    By Anonymous Nixie Knox, at 4/07/2006 09:26:00 PM  

  • I had a babysitter who gave me half pepsi/half hawaiian punch as a drink. I thought it was the elixir of the GODS!

    By Anonymous blackbeltmama, at 4/07/2006 11:11:00 PM  

  • Man, the babysitter I adored was my sister but all she did was lock me in the bathroom so she could have beer parties....LOL (but I still worshipped my big sis)

    Hmm...a certain movie I adored growing up(I think it was older at the time though so it would make me seam much older than I am...) made me work my butt off on roller skates so I could be super cool...but I am too embarassed to say what the movie is.....(I rewatched it recently as an adult...and oh my, it SUCKED)

    By Blogger Emily, at 4/07/2006 11:19:00 PM  

  • Mrs Chicky -- OMG! Foxes! I LOVED that movie. I forgot all about it. It was so dramatic. I don't know why but I'll never forget the part where Cherie Currie coughs up blood into the oxygen mask. I remember thinking teens in California were like that, too. I just wanted to grow up and hang with all those bad But I wasn't bad. I never even skipped a single day of high school!

    Mrs Davis --"pieces of Cathy" I love that!

    Nancy -- You had a "cool" aunt. You're so lucky! I only had old, weird aunts with hairy moles.

    Jenny - Awww...Kevin died? That's really sad :(

    KFK -- Xanadu? friend and I loved that movie. We were all about ONJ! And I really loved Grease 2. Maxwell Caulfield was a cooo-ooo-oool rider. Remember that song?

    Hipstermom -- That's a great story. No wonder you turned out so hip!

    Domesticator -- No way! You had your own cool babysitter. And teal cords? Oh, how I did covet thee :-p

    Cameo - I watched the Turning Point on cable not too long ago. And gauchos *sigh* Loved those!

    Mrs Fortune -- Would you believe I can't remember her last name? I remember the names of her neighbors but not hers.

    Christina -- lololol...Ferris Bueller was brilliant AND cool!

    Dawn -- Your parents grew the weed? mine were all about the cocktails. But weed? No WAY! Repo Man...forgot ALL about that.

    By Blogger IzzyMom, at 4/08/2006 12:07:00 AM  

  • Nixie -- I loved that damn pink Karmann Ghia and the fact that she could sew. Why would ANYONE want to be one of those stupid socialite bitches??

    Blackbelt Mama -- it actually sounds kinda good! I thought you were going to say she put booze in it or

    Emily -- Was it Xanadu??? C'mon. Fess up!

    By Blogger IzzyMom, at 4/08/2006 12:10:00 AM  

  • Sadly, I was banned from tv for much of my "high school" days - but I liked the sex scene in Top Gun. I used to sneak it when my parents were away...

    I love the Pretty and Pink stuff too - mainly because it was the "not-so-hot" girl thing wins - always a great hope giver.

    By Anonymous Kristen, at 4/08/2006 09:50:00 AM  

  • I haven't been here in a long time, but I wanted to stop by and say hi again. Glad to see you are getting more comments. Congrats.

    By Anonymous Maria, at 4/08/2006 04:58:00 PM  

  • Great post. Wish I had a cool babysitter like that -- glad I know better for my kids - ha ha.

    I was such a Molly Ringwald wanabee myself and thumbs up to John Hughes!

    By Blogger sunshine scribe, at 4/08/2006 06:06:00 PM  

  • OMG! First guess?! LOL

    Yea...have you watched Xanadu as an adult? YEEEEESH!

    ..::sigh::.. But I SO wanted to be Kira, and it made me roller skate my heart out...LOL

    By Blogger Emily, at 4/08/2006 08:51:00 PM  

  • Kristen-- Molly Ringwald not-hot? The hell you say!!!

    Emily -- Oh man...Xanadu was a horrible movie! But I do recall thinking it was pretty dang cool at the time. My friends and I were ALL ABOUT roller disco lol

    By Blogger IzzyMom, at 4/09/2006 02:47:00 AM  

  • Movies....influence....Dazed and Confused was one later in high school. I was more influence by music than movies...

    By Anonymous chelle, at 4/09/2006 11:36:00 AM  

  • I was in the stoner/freak group. My high school achievements show it. Boys with long hair, rock concerts, drugs, blah blah.
    I thought I was too cool for Molly Ringwald. I much preferred getting super stoned, going to Police Academy and getting hysterical. Loved horror flicks, oh and anything with gratuitous sex or the combo movies like Halloween, American Werewolf in London, etc.

    By Blogger gandhi rules, at 4/10/2006 08:54:00 AM  

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