Thursday, March 7, 2013

LYLAS

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When I think back to my junior high days, so many things come to mind- really bad top 40 rap, Luvs Baby Soft and Sunflowers perfume, a Cover Girl compact in my back pocket, after school walks to Barros, awkward dances on Friday nights...and handwritten notes. If you read this blog regularly you know of my penchant for nostalgia, so I'm sure you can imagine my joy this past weekend when I unearthed an orange shoebox full of notes from the glorious 90s, tucked away in a closet at my parents' house. I spent a good hour or two getting lost in 7th grade drama all over again, remembering all sorts of long-forgotten memories. It was the most hilarious trip down memory lane, but even more than that, it got me thinking about the whole idea of note-writing.

First though, let's set the mood with this classic junior high song:

My Boo by Danielle on Grooveshark

I can't remember too much about those good old junior high days as far as classroom and learning time (except being forced to remember EVERY country in the world in World History while in the 9th grade- seriously insane), but what I do remember is the social stuff. And the way we all communicated when we weren't in the same class, or able to talk on our landline phones, the cords wrapped around the corner and under our bedroom doors, was through notes. The "does he like me" note to a mutual friend of a crush, the making plans for that weekend note, the group note (which later turned into a whole notebook my girlfriends and I passed around between every class period), the gossipy note full of secret nicknames and abbreviations, the list goes on.

So I got to thinking about today's junior high and high school kids. Do they still write notes? I'm pretty sure the majority doesn't. And I'm pretty sure that can be attributed to the instant gratification of texting. When I was in high school texting wasn't around. We had pagers- mine, a super cool sky blue Motorola model- but no cell phones outside of those first really big car phones and then the only-in-emergencies-extra-large-flip-phones we'd use to call our parents and check in while out at river parties (pretending we were safe and sound at a friend's house of course). So yeah, even in those years notes were still regularly happening. And later when I actually taught high school, I rarely saw notes being passed or being written. Texting in class, yes...ALL THE TIME...but hardly ever real, handwritten notes.

I think every generation likes to pretend their own generation grew up in a time when things were the way they should be, lived their lives properly (whatever that means), and that anything prior must be archaic, and anything after is just crazy. But of course time keeps on moving, things change. Life now is awesome- technology is wild and amazing and really great, but I think one of the major things kids today miss out on is a social media-free adolescence. I can't say what's better or worse because honestly, all I know is my own experience, but I often get sad thinking about childhoods that are so, so plugged in...and I say this while trying to avoid being totally judgmental in a "my generation was the best" kind of way.

I'm so grateful for that forgotten shoebox up high on that shelf in my old closet, filled with memories and stories and little bits of written history, ones that make me cringe and smile and laugh and think "oh my god, was that really me?" I can't imagine not having those pieces to look back on- I can't imagine what it would be like to have all of those little exchanges and communications via text only, here and gone in the blink of an eye. Maybe I'm just being a cranky "old" person waxing poetic for times gone by, but to me, note-writing is an art form of sorts, a lost art for sure, but something that shaped so many of our lives growing up. I sure love my technology now, but I'm also sure thankful that I have these tangible pieces of my adolescence to remind me of just how far I've come.


LYLAS,
Danielle

41 comments:

  1. I agree with you! In junior high my best friend & I would write lengthy notes (letters, really) to each other. We would work on our replies in class & at home. Our topics ranged from crushes (she liked Tom Cruise!), to home life, to talking trash about other girls (which was really just jealousy), and anything else that 14-year-olds talk about. Well... I'm sure 14-year-olds today talk about things that we didn't talk about BUT that makes me sound like a grumpy old lady. ;)

    I remember the last time I read those notes. I had three medium sized boxes stuffed full & was going through a stage in high school when I was trying to purge. I was embarrassed by the things that I wrote & the fact that I had kept them so long. So I threw them all away. I tossed out all those hours of memories & I deeply regret it.

    I am so glad that you have all of yours & that you can appreciate them. :)

    The Brayn of Chalayn

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  2. Sooo Glenn and I just had a mini dance party to this song. :)

    I totally remember these awesome hand-written notes we used to fold up in all sorts of origami shapes that only highschool girls or our generation know. Loved this post.

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  3. such a sweet post. My best friend and I would write notes to each other too, and poems. I still have a poem from her in a special box but I wish I'd kept the rest. I can't imagine kids really doing that nowadays (did i really just say 'kids nowadays?!?')
    I think this may be the first time I've ever commented on your blog but as I long time reader I am trying to make more of an effort to engage with blogs I love so..hello! x

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  4. I heard "Rhythm is a Dancer" last night and did the most outrageous singalong to it. Kinda like what I just did when "My Boo" started up. My actual jam. Among many others. I loved writing notes with my girlfriends! We had a marble notebook that we passed around, too, AND special code words for all of the people we talked about (mainly the cute boys we were crushing on at the time). Vanilla Cappuccino Burrito? So silly, but no one ever figured it out.

    The beautiful thing about hand written letters and the special notebooks is that when you run across them again, they mean something. And yes, they can be saved! Texts, though sometimes meaningful, are incredibly disposable.

    www.theramblingfangirl.com

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  5. I'm a little sad that my girl wont grow up passing notes like I did...I can still get a landline phone though! Teens & social technology scare me. A lot.

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  6. i remember being a little excited when our school switched to 'block scheduling,' so then me and my friends didn't have to say 'period' anymore. ah, the awkwardness of youth.

    i will take a passed note over a text. any day. even if it is just to complain about how bored they are in mrs. smith's fifth period english class.

    delirious rhapsody

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  7. Oh my gosh, this post brought up so many memories. I remember having notebooks full of notes with different friends. It was such a fun time. I loved the anticipation of waiting for your friend to write you back. And once you got the sacred notebook back you would relish over every word and doodle. Dare I say that I was in one if your classes back in the day, and I most assuredly passed a few notes.

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  8. HAHAHA! As soon as I played this song the floodgates in my memory bank started pouring out so many memories of Jr High and dances and dancing in my room to this type of music. Oh, and of course falling asleep to the local radio station's r&b hour "hot 104 hot love jams". Oh man! Thank you for that :)

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  9. I was such a goody-two-shoes in high school that I rarely wrote notes; I was so afraid of getting in trouble with my teachers. The notes I do have left over from that time are very precious to me. Most of the notes I have are from one of my best friends who passed away when we were in 9th grade. She was the one friend who stayed away from the drama of our little group; I don't know if she just ignored it or if it just didn't phase her, but none of her notes were about what was going on with the other girls. She wrote silly things, drew funny pictures, and used the notes to make plans for the weekend. One of the last notes she gave me said, "I hope we will always be friends." When I found it a couple months ago as I was cleaning, I burst into tears and missed her intensely. While her passing bonded the rest of the group very closely for a while, we eventually broke apart; one girl spread dirty rumors about the others and backstabbed (just like she did when we were all "friends"), one girl fell into the skater group at school and remained friendly with everyone, and the other girl and I remained close friends until our difference in interests naturally lead us in different directions. I still think of that time and remember it fondly, though, and long for the bonds of junior/high school friendship. I am thankful for those few notes I have to remember it by.

    And yes, it makes me sad to think that my kids probably won't have tangible evidence of their friendships long after high school has passed, though I don't intend on getting them phones until they are in high school. (I want to keep the onslaught of social media away for them as long as possible.)

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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  10. My brother and I recently saw someone with a beeper and we freaked out. We had no idea people still used them. Or even more, that they still exist!

    I would take a passed note over a text any day! Back when I was passing notes with a friend during class, we made up our own language so if anyone found our letters, they wouldn't know what we were talking about (or more importantly, WHO we were talking about)! I still write letters instead of e-mails. There's just something so satisfying about sitting down with sheets of paper and writing your heart out, then sending your surprise to a friend. :)

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  11. I have an old box of notes from middle school too! It's so funny to look at them now and see what I was thinking about at the time :)

    Stephanie
    www.violetlilacplum.blogspot.com

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  12. I have a folders full of handwritten notes from junior high and high school. And a shoe box full of pics, used cologne bottles of boyfriends at the time, ticket stubs, anything to remember that time. I love going through it from time to time and remember how different life was back then!
    Love it!

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  13. I went through bouts where I wasn't nostalgic and I threw away old notes and cards. I'm so sad that I did! Also, my young mama wore Sunflowers perfume when I was tiny. :)

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  14. ah, I loved notes. I'm said that technology has probably killed them. My best friend from elementary and high school still occasionally sign off on facebook with LYLAS =)

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  15. This post made me extremely happy and very sad at the same time. All of your 90's references hit home for me, as we're the same age. The notes, oh the notes! The music! Motorola pagers (I recently explained to my 21yo sister that we used to have to spell out words with the numbers and correlating letters! Her mind was blown. 143, 823)!! Sunflowers! Cover Girl compacts! YES! I still have my notes and every few years end up finding them hidden away somewhere in the back of my closet. I'm always a little embarrassed when reading them...so immature, so naive. The memories are fun, none the less. But, it really does make me sad that my daughter isn't likely to have a little box full of embarrassment to look back on. Ahhh...technology :(

    LYLAS! ha!

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  16. Oh my I so remember the notebook writing days. Brings back such good memories! Kids are just going to get more and more plugged in, and they will remember the "good old days" when they just had texting lol. Great post, thanks for sharing :)

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  17. Oh MAN! Found my junior high diaries the other day and freaked out at the nostalgia. HA! Here's my silly post about the experience of reminiscing.

    http://www.frommyhearthtoyours.com/2012/10/dear-diaryyoure-embarrassing.html

    The "sneak out plan" I had taped inside was the capper! :) Thanks for this post. Gotta love the good old days!

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  18. I have a Doc Martin box FULL of notes from junior high. I haven't gone through them in a few years, but I used to read them every once in awhile when I would visit my parents. So much fun to look back and remember the drama and laughter and tears that I shared with my friends all those years ago. By the way, this song instantly transported me back to junior high...I forgot all about it! Hilarious!

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  19. Oh my gosh, just a few weeks ago I was going through my old things and found 6 converse shoeboxes of notes from my best friend from high school, and I was thinking the same thing. Teens now aren't going to be able to stumble upon memories like this, and that is a bit sad.
    http://teapotsandbelles.blogspot.com/

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  20. I can see the fold marks from the notes being folded into their own little envelopes. You know, the ones with the "pull here" tag? Also, my motorola purple/see through pager had a matching BUNGEE cord. I was super super cool.

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  21. This brings back so many memories! I remember it was always an unspoken competition of who could fold their notes cooler haha - wish I remembered how to fold them now!

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  22. Love this! My friend has every note she wrote to her 8th grade boyfriend. We often open up the box and read them and laugh for hours.

    Right now, I do counseling in a high school and one of my client's writes 3 notes to her boyfriend every day. They trade back and forth between class periods and after school since they cannot text during the school day. Glad that the art of note writing hasn't been completely lost!

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  23. OK, so now I have to go home tonight and rummage through memory boxes to find my stash of notes. I'm not sure how many I kept from junior high. But I do know that my best friend and I kept a folder (decorated via collage by yours truly) in high school that we would pass back and forth. It was like one long, ongoing letter.

    Emails were big when I was in college. But now no one even emails anymore. I do worry about our lack of written communication and that the texting is so dumbed down. What happens to a generation who can't pontificate longer than 140 characters at a time?

    I try not to think about it too much, but then I see my 2-year-old is already proficient at using my iPhone and I just want to chuck it out the window and break out the crayons and markers.

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  24. Oh man. I had to look twice to make sure that was that song. Brought back soooo many memories. I remember there being an art behind folding those notes. I could never do the heart for the life of me. Now I look at it and am like...."oh" I think I may go home dig up the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack and trip to memory lane.

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  25. Oh my gosh this post made me laugh so hard. Especially the Covergirl in your back pocket. Umm yeah that was me too!

    My husband teaches middle school and I have wondered about the note thing too! I think it would be awful to be a kid these days with social media. The stories I hear of bullying on FB, IG, Twitter.. yikes. Give me hand written notes any day!!!

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  26. I loved the title of this post! There were a lot of good memories shared! I love opening my hope chest and reading all my old love notes from Brandon. We were actually just in it the other night and Adi walked around in Brandon's letter jacket. Great post.

    Alison

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  27. This was such a lovely post :) I also have a little box tucked away. I looked at all the little notes some time last year. It's so interesting to read your thoughts from years prior.

    ♥ Naomi {Starry Eyes + Coffee Cups}

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  28. First off I have to comment that you and your friends passed around an entire notebook between classes! We did that too! We also passed regular notes too. But two of my best girlfriends and I had an entire notebook that just got passed. Remember folding them all up and within themselves?! I have moved too many times so my notes were all tossed away a long time ago. Tho I still have my yearbooks and there were a few notes in there that I still have.

    One was this "contract" between myself and my best friend - we both had crushes on a couple of these cute skater boys, and we said that whoever got a date with one of them first owed the other one a cassette tape of their choice! hahah kids now probably don't even know what a cassette tape is.

    Its so funny to think about how quickly things changed with the internet and with cell phones etc. I loved this post, thanks for making me think of a little bit of high school and junior high today =)

    xx
    trisha
    veranellies.blogspot.com

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  29. I teach 7th grade language arts, and in my school the art of handwritten notes (and how to secretly pass them during class) is dead. Now students ask to "go to the bathroom" where they text and then the next friend asks to "go to the bathroom" once they get back. Students are constantly talking about how cool so-and-so's vine video or instagram pic is and how lame it is that so-and-so's parents won't let them have an instagram! Times have definitely changed.

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  30. I'm 21, graduated in 2010, so not too long ago... And we still used to write lots of notes/letters then too :) maybe it had something to do with the fact that if you were caught with a cellphone, it would get confiscated for 3 weeks! Even though I'm in university now, we all still write little notes to each other on occasion. I'm oh so glad that my experience of it hasn't completely died out as yet :)
    Lovely post (as always)! Thanks!
    Xx
    PS: LYLAS = Love You Like A Sister? Did I get it right?

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  31. Oh jeez. I'm glad my friends and I weren't the only ones who used that horrendous word "Chica" to call each other!! Why was that SO popular? What a disaster. Ahh memories.

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  32. I love this. I was also in middle school in the 90's and I too, wrote millions of handwritten notes. My very best friend and I had a notebook, that was decked out in cut out magazine images of the Backstreet Boys and tons more, all scotched taped to the front of the notebook. We used secret codes to talk about people, mostly boys, so if anyone ever found the notebook, they'd have no idea who we were talking too. We also made up our own language and for really spicy notes, we'd handwrite it in that secret language. I am still best friends with my best friend and we sometimes sit for hours and read through our notes. They were the foundation of the friendship we still have today and tell so many stories. She even read one as a part of her maid of honor speech at my wedding and everyone cried. Such wonderful memories. I can only hope my daughter will grow up and appreciate those same nostalgic memories I have instead of substituting technology for everything. Thanks for the post and the thoughtful memories it brought with it!!

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  33. My friends and I starting writing letters (in class) to each other each day (more so ones who were in other sections) in junior high school. We still keep up with it now, nearly 7 years later, although we all live in different parts of Canada!

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  34. You're mix tape gave me so many flashbacks! I thought that I was so grown-up wearing Sunflower perfume until I saw them selling it at CVS one day!
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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  35. I graduated in 2007 and my friends and I still passed notes through all of middle school and high school! :) Even though we did all have cell phones by then as well.

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  36. oh man.. i love this post on so many levels. i still have my shoebox full of notes, as well (and my slambook... did anyone else do those? please don't confuse with a burn book, ha!). i never even really thought about that has kind of gone away. even though i don't know firsthand, based on what my colleagues say about their kids, i'm guessing you are right! now they just text and "snapchat" and whatever else. but definitely not the same ... the notes are with me, no matter how many phones i go through. not to mention, i just would not have had the same level of friendship w/out those notes ... they were special, and bonded us (especially the group note!). now everything is so disconnected, it's kind of sad (although i am definitely guilty). thanks for giving me the urge to bust out that shoebox :)

    ps -- definitely had a pager too, mine was the red motorola, ha! it was totally pointless.

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  37. It's really sad to think about middle school without notes. They really were one of the best parts. I wonder what came before notes? The same way texting came after - something must have come before, right?

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  38. Also, GREAT song pick. I'm totally rocking out over here.

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  39. My husband and I were just talking about this the other day - how long-lost the ways of 90's middle school are. Passing notes, slam books, SUNFLOWERS PERFUME (OH my heavens), and calling for your boyfriend (but his little sister picked up the phone and so will not pass it to him). Now all they do is text and look like they're 25. If one day my child gets in trouble for passing notes in class, I may just encourage her to keep doing it in the name of a simpler time.

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  41. I love this. So much. I know, I say that all the time. I mean it. I hate how much my generation has grown up and attached itself to technology but I am glad that the first childhood years of mine were not filled with that. That I got to have all my classic creativity and fun games made up with my sister that didn't include a screen. Yeah we had a computer and that was very fun but still we found other things to do and then VHS was still popular technology and I love that. But I love handwritten notes. There is nothing better. It makes me smile to get an actual note from someone. Email is incredible. Tweets are cool. Texts are great. But it is still not the same as a handwritten message. You know, I never had a cell phone my whole life, until just at the end of last year, and I constantly had people of all ages asking me how I could survive without one? And my answer was simple: I don't need it. Sometimes, it is nice to sit back and not have those distractions and I hated to look around at all the people around me who constantly pull out their phones when they are supposed to be hanging out with their family or friends. Can't you just talk with those people and put away the phone for later? Spending time with people and appreciating the true beauty of simple things is something that people really should take more time for. ANYWAY. As much as I love technology sometimes I wish I grew up in a time that didn't have it all. But I hope to not let all of it overwhelm my life as I get older. To my future boyfriend and husband, I will write handwritten notes. Not just texts or emails or facebook messages or blog posts. But those words on paper that mean so much. And to my future children, I will do the same. And to my friends and family also. Because as much as we say everything new is better, is there really anyone who hates a note handwritten just for them? No. I think those are truly some of the best things in life. Ok. rambling comment ends now.

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