What Is It Like To Be 13 Again?

By , July 15, 2015 7:38 pm


I have long repressed a portion of my early teenage life. Back then, 1983 to be precise, I was obsessed with the band Def Leppard.

Thirteen is supposed to be a memorable age. I definitely do remember some parts of that year such as my Bat Mitzvah and the two pretty dresses I had for the service and the evening party at our house for which my mom made all the food. We (meaning my brother and I) still joke about her having leftover rice pilaf and chicken cacciatore in the freezer.

It was also the first year of junior high – new friends, new school subjects, new routines. And a locker! I had pretty much the same locker and homeroom on the first floor of St. Andrew’s Junior High for the next three years so that hasn’t left me: 7-8-9-G.

The part I have tried to keep bottled up in the past is that I was a giddy little girl who taped pictures from teenie magazines to her walls. Not just the walls, the cabinets, too. And the inside of the cabinets. Not just any band. Only Def Leppard. Joe Elliott in his Union Jack sleeveless shirt was my man.

Why? I have no idea. I guess because he was cute. Sure I liked the music. I guess.

Why has that moment from my past been so hard for me to deal with over the years? It makes me shudder to have been that girl in 1983. Over the years when Def Leppard songs have come on the radio I would quickly turn them off. Classic repression symptoms.

My interest in Def Leppard only lasted a short while. Soon after – I can still remember the day in grade eight – a friend introduced me to U2. So I moved on. In grade ten my English teacher, Mr. Polley, introduced me to music history through Simon and Garfunkel and I never looked forward again in my musical tastes.

In psychological parlance, I went home last night; Val and I went to a Def Leppard concert. Having been married to Val for nearly ten years now, I am aware of his own past with Def Leppard. He apparently went to a concert of theirs at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1991 and he has many of their albums (which seem to be constant re-releases of their previous two big albums) among his MP3 files.

So, was last night a terrifying Freudian moment of truth? No, I unabashedly enjoyed it along with the other 10 000 or so people. No more repression. Musical geniuses they are not (at one point I yelled in Val’s ear that they are a ‘lyrical tour de force’) but they do put on an enjoyably loud and energetic show. Val even remarked that the set was almost exactly the same as in 1991. Whatever. We didn’t go for the intellectual experience.

It seemed that the band (or at least their production company) was in the mood for memory lane as well as the backdrop to most of their show was still photos and video from their own vault. Looking at those photos, many of them from 1983 or thereabouts, was nostalgic; it felt like an invisible psychologist had arranged the whole therapeutic thing for me.

It turns out that memory lane is a good place to visit once in a while.

Note: I would go on the Def Leppard Hysteria on the High Seas Caribbean cruise with Val but I get vertigo.



2 Responses to “What Is It Like To Be 13 Again?”

  1. Kalli Gow says:

    I remember this post from when I first logged onto your blog back in the first semester of grade 11. I think that I was so excited about the beginning of a history class that went beyond the Canadian history that had been taught every year since second grade that I read as many of your blog posts as I could. I’ve continued that trend, I read your blog whenever I have some extra time and I continue to enjoy it. This was one of the first posts of yours that I read and I liked the self-analysis and introspection: it made me excited to have you as a teacher. I have yet to be embarrassed by my younger self (at least not majorly) but I often wonder if, or rather how, I will be in the future.
    It’s interesting to think that parts of our personalities that feel so permanent in the moment are in fact so finite. I used to really like a band called the Stereos ( I don’t even think they exist anymore, or at least I hope that they don’t). I used to think I would be a veterinarian because it was the most popular future job in my third grade class.
    I’m happy to say that I feel just as excited about our next class as I did when I first read this post last year. This post (and this entire blog) gives the reader a real feel of what it’s like to have you as a teacher: exploratory, introspective, sometimes quite hectic, and always a new experience. I am happy to say that reading this post for the second time has made me as excited about this semester as it did the first time. Can’t wait to get started Ms. Gluskin!

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