memories of the ’80s – Just as Long as We’re Together by Judy Blume

Image result for just as long as we're togetherThe late 1980s offered another memorable coming of age novel from Judy Blume: Just as Long as We’re Together.

Narrated by 13 year old Stephanie Hirsch, the storyline focuses on the numerous changes that are happening in her life – like starting middle school and trying to understand why her parents have split.

Stephanie’s also gaining weight, beginning to menstruate and is now thinking about hunks aka boys.

She’s also feeling a bit confused. A new girl has moved into the neighbourhood – Alison – and she really likes her. Despite Alison’s Mum being a famous actress, Alison is down to earth, fun and they click.

But Stephanie feels guilty that she is spending more time with Alison than her best friend since second grade Rachel. As she tries to make a duo a threesome, she sees Rachel drift away, while her bond with Alison is strong. Is three really a crowd?

Blume focuses on the myriad of things that happen to a girl when she becomesĀ  a teenager – her physical and emotional changes, as much as those day to day things of being a teenager and dealing with friendships, a new school and changes to her family.

Published in 1987 by Orchard Books and then in paperback by Dell/Yearling Books, this novel became another fave in the Blume bibliography, addressing those common issues of being a teen girl.




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Some signs say it all…

Spotted in a cafe outside Calgary:


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memories of the ’70s – Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume

Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself book cover.jpgAuthor Judy Blume put a little of herself in this poignant novel of the mid ’70s: Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself.

The story begins with 10 year old Sally, who moves with her brother, parents and Grandmother from New Jersey to Miami, Florida after the end of WWII, because of her brother’s health, for the winter.

Travelling south to Florida by train, Sally experiences racism as she meets a Black family also travelling south. She becomes their friend, but when she returns the next day, the family is moved to a segregated car, which upsets and confounds Sally.

She enrolls in her new school and has to have a physical, where she finds out she has lice, which upsets her Mum, who takes this as a judgement on the family. She makes friends, hanging out with Barbara, Andrea and Shelby, but is confounded by Peter, a self-proclaimed Latin lover, who focuses on becoming friends with every new girl in their class but also seems to want to spend time with her too.

And Sally deals with fellow classmate Harriet, who dislikes her because she is a snowbird.

Sally becomes obsessed with Mr. Zavodsky, an elderly gentleman who lives in her building, and to her, resembles Adolf Hitler. She decides he is Hitler, and is hiding in Miami. She writes him letters (which she never sends) and spies on him, worried that he may go after her friends and offers them candy as a lure.

Published in 1977 by Bradbury, this young adult novel was Blume’s focus on showcasing what it was like to grow up post World War II. She writes about racism, anti-semitism and sibling rivalry, focusing on how her brother Douglas is aloof and cool, and then has a girlfriend.

Blume weaves a world of the Jewish community in Miami as much as what the post World War II world is like, with many people dealing with the after-effects of the war, and the prejudice that still exists. She also references many celebrities of the era, like Bing Crosby, Esther Williams, Jane Russell, Humphrey Bogart and Rita Hayworth.

This novel is a sweet story of a girl becoming a tween, still young enough to create fantasies in her mind, but her awareness growing of what is happening around her and injustices in the world.




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I often fail to say…

as seen at MOCA in Toronto:

I often fail to say

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Friday mantra

As seen in Glasgow:

Be Bold

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memories of the ’80s – Original Sin by INXS

Image result for original sin inxs 1983That first single that made this Australian band known in North America – Original Sin by INXS.

Written by Michael Hutchence and Andrew Farriss, the song was from the band’s fourth studio album The Swing.

Hoping to garner an audience outside of Australia, INXS went to New York City to record the album with musician/producer Nile Rodgers, who had heard the band when they played a nightclub in Toronto, Canada.

Recording at Rodger’s studio Power Station in New York City, with Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates on backing vocals, the band chose Original Sin as their first single.

INXS released Original Sin as the single in December 1983 with a distinctive music video that had been filmed in Japan and received heavy airplay on MTV, MuchMusic and other video tv shows. The album The Swing was released in April 1984.

Climbing to number 58 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song steadily climbed the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs charts, hitting number one on the dance floors. Music charts in several countries around the world and strong radio and video airplay helped launch the band in North America and solidified its presence in Europe.

As the first single, INXS had many continued successes in the 1980s, thanks to the strength of songs and music videos.



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Glasgow Girl

As seen in the city of Glasgow, Scotland:

Glasgow girl

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