Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This
When I was growing up, I lived in the North West of WA. You might know that already. If you don’t, I do not mind a bit. We lived in a fairly small town. There were no corner shops and the highlights of the social calendar included heading off to the town’s only shopping centre, going rollerskating or sitting at the pool slathered in Reef Oil. Let’s talk about the shopping centre, for now. It, too, was quite small. There was a Red Rooster, an ice-cream shop, a newsagent, a bottle shop, a Coles supermarket and a few other random retailers.
The newsagent was my fave port of call. It was the only way to stay in touch with the rest of the world, for a regional gal like me. This was the 80s. There was no internet. Computers were as big as cars and you had to feed commands to them on punched cards. There were no Lolcats. There was not even LOL, in fact. Imagine it! How did we snicker snarkily back then? Perhaps we didn’t. But I digress…
So, instead of the internet, we had the newsagent. It’s the town’s hub of popular culture. It’s the information super buy-way. This was where I got my Dolly Magazine, my Tiger Beat, my Smash Hits and my beloved Sweet Dreams novels. At this stage, my life was VERY MUCH about jellybean sandals, Kangarucci sweat shirts, pedal pushers, Brit pop and ROMANCE. I was into the kind of romance that Sweet Dreams were made of.
The 13 year old me found something cheesily addictive in those Sweet Dreams novels, a bit like Cheds, and truth be told my newsagent was a bit of a pulp fiction pusher. I bustled in every week, all edgy-like, spun the display stand and plucked books like my life depended on it. Perhaps it did. At my worst I read 3 a day, staring glassy eyed at the girls on the covers, wishing with all my heart to be just like them.
I lay tucked under my covers, air conditioning humming, ceiling fan whirring, milo at my side. I studied the carefully orchestrated cover shots. Their flicks. Their perms. Their lipgloss. Their frosted eyeshadow. I mooned over the titles with 13 year old angst. ’Never Love A Cowboy’ ‘It Must Be Magic’ ‘Dial L For Love’ ‘Love Match’ or ‘Te Amo Means I Love You’. Wow. Ro-MAN-tic.
Now, of course, as I peruse the Wikipedia page of titles, I am titch embarrassed about my rose coloured glasses. I mean ‘Too Many Boys’ ‘Kiss Me Creep’ ’Lights, Camera, LOVE’ or ‘Mr Wonderful’? Geesh. Still. I was very, very far away from civilization, so I’m not surprised my judgement was impaired! It was also quite hot and I may have had heat stroke.
While we are on the subject of hotness, it seems that things were always very Summery when it came to the Sweet Dreams collection. We have ‘Ten Boy Summer’ ‘Ten Speed Summer’ ‘The Summer Jenny Fell In Love’ ‘Summer Breezes’ ‘Lifeguard Summer’ and ‘Summer Secrets’, to name but a few. I will not even mention ‘First Summer Love’ because it creeps me out a bit.
These books filled me with hope. I knew that some day a boy with a floppy flick or two would button up his polo neatly, approach me with a shy smile, take my hand and invite me study hall, or a pep rally or the prom or some such. It was only a matter of time, and until it happened I was either going to stay under my doona, drink milo and read books, or sit in front of the mirror and roll on 27 coats of Bubble Gum flavoured Maybelline Kissing Potion.
No harm in being prepared, right? (Is it just me, or is there a bit of a many-boyed theme going on here?!)
How about YOU, dear Reader? Did YOU grow up with these books? Or perhaps you preferred Sweet Valley High (LOVE!) or The Babysitter’s Club? Maybe ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ was more your kinda thing? Also, did you promise Roger your strawberry kisses?
PS : We’re talking Sweet Dreams and Judy Blume over on Facebook, too!