Back to the 80’s

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

“Wake me up before you go-go, Take me dancing tonight!”
What a spectacle as the entire company of “Back to the 80’s” sang and danced their hearts out! And my beautiful granddaughter, in a cute little black tap skirt, put some moves on and belted the popular 1984 WHAM song (George Michael, anyone?) along with the others, but, not from the floor of the stage of the packed Duke auditorium; nope, from a tower made of giant Rubik’s Cubes!
Remember those demonic little boxes that an eight-year-old could whip into the prescribed format? While I never, No, never once was able to “fix” the maddening square so popular in the 80’s. But I was thrilled with the stage set comprised of a pair of colorful stacked cubes on each end of what was a giant Cassette Tape Player. Cleverly hidden inside, wearing DJ headphones and a gold lame jacket was Starr’s Mill High School band director Scott King and a terrific live student orchestra. Because of the sheer cover/curtain—part of the tape player—it was 15 minutes before I discovered where the music was coming from!
Kind Reader, you have often been witness to my excessive pride in my talented grands, both Starr’s Mill music and drama students. Carter is doing very well now at Ga Tech, completing his sophomore year with the Tech Marching Band and with excellent grades. Well, just passing Physics is excellent in my book; I barely got out of Algebra II alive. Erin will graduate next year with over 15 productions under her star-studded belt and with great grades as well. Both have spent countless after-school hours in preparation for the wonderful musical programs produced over these last six plus years.
I have been part of the local school system for years, since 1982 as a matter of fact; after I retired, my grandchildren kept me busy through their school years, attending all manner of Fine Arts, PTA, and sports programs. I also know now from my contact with Coweta County parents (having lived in Senoia for over five years and having attended programs at the high school and area elementary schools) that they have great things to say about the education their children are receiving.
Today, as was true of the 1980’s, problems do still exist. We are daily led to believe that “times” are just so bad today, the world is a hot mess; life is so stressful, unsatisfying; employment so unfulfilling, marriages so loveless, and God is dead. There is no answer, it seems, except drugs, alcohol, pornography, brutal video games, and casual “hook ups.” But, out here in the real world, most of us are working hard, taking care to see that our children are well-educated, well-fed, have good manners and behave; we are excited to live among friends and good neighbors (not all share the same political views either), and most of us are pleased to help one another. As hokey as this may sound, we Love One Another. Many of us find joy in our lives even if there are parts of those lives which include doctors and medications, and bills and yes, sadness and even tragedy. And many of us know that God is Alive and available to all.
Saturday night, as I listened to, laughed, and enjoyed the music selections chosen for the excellent production “Back to the 80’s—“Believe it or not, I’m walkin’ on air,” and “Don’t worry, be happy,” I thought back to that decade and remembered that the world wasn’t all “no worries, all happy.” It was mean and dangerous then also. Airline hijackings and bombings were numerous killing hundreds; the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant disaster of 1986 infected all of Europe with fallout, the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded while thousands of children watched in their schools. Assassinations and kidnappings were rife. But Billy Joel, “A-Team,” Top Gun and Dirty Dancing helped us get through the Ethiopian crises where thousands starved to death, through the Mad Cow scare, and natural disasters like the volcano in Columbia which left 25,000 in one city dead. I made long lists from only a few minutes of internet research of the terror and horror that infected that exciting era. There were serial killers, mass shootings, but, also the first CDs, first portable computers (laptops), wireless phones (the size of a shoebox), and the first heart transplants were developed. There was still Mr. Rogers, diplomacy, and hope. Just like any other era, there was the good, the bad and the very ugly.
All that seems to put this decade into perspective, suggesting that things are not so terrible today in America, and that the world is still a beautiful place to be, one that we can keep beautiful with wise, measured decisions. Let us not be driven to believe that today’s world is only a failing, hate-filled place. That is just not true.
Thank you to the beautiful young students of SMHS who through their talent, energy,, and their vivacious and joyful performances gave so much happiness to so many. To their parents, teachers, directors, costumers, choreographers. You worked very hard. You worked together. You produced a wonderful product. Isn’t that our dream for society? Just that. Working hard. Working together. Producing Wonder!

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