Television Nostalgia and Other Things

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Recently, a major television star from when I was a child had a stroke. Last Monday he died from the complications. Luke Perry, who played Dylan on Beverly Hills, 90210, was only 52 years old.

Back when I watched him on TV, I would have thought 52 was ancient. Now that I’m older, it seems so young. The show originally aired in 1990 when I was nine years old. I started watching it when it aired new episodes during the summer of 1991 at age 10 and caught up on the first season through reruns that aired on a different night if I’m remembering correctly.

My son is 10 now, and I’ll admit that I was probably too young for the subject matter on the show at the time, but I watched it anyway, crushing on Brandon (sometimes) and Dylan (all the time). I wanted to be Brenda because she was the character I latched on to. I do that with all shows—find a favorite character whose voice would tell me the story if it were a novel.

I grew up with the show and watched its spin-off Melrose Place until that show proved to be too crazy for me somewhere around the third or fourth season. I watched 90210 religiously until about a year after my favorite character Brenda “moved away” mainly out of loyalty. But it just wasn’t the same show without Brenda, no matter what the tabloids said about difficulty with the actress who portrayed her, Shannen Doherty. For the last five seasons, I only caught an episode every now and then, sometimes reading (paper) TV guide summaries to keep up with the storyline.

By the time the last episode aired, I had just finished my freshman year in college. I recorded it on my VCR (it was the year 2000) and watched it a couple of weeks after it had aired for closure. Maybe I’ll watch the episodes I missed they’re all on Hulu now minus a few earlier episodes that are unavailable because of issues with music featured during the episodes. I’ve rewatched a few episodes in the last few days to see Luke Perry in action. There are things I never noticed the first time I watched the show, like how the characters repeat their junior year in high school and how “after-school special” some of the episodes were with trigger characters who appeared in their issue episode and were never seen or spoken of again.

Watching 90210 led me to love other teen shows later on when I actually was a teen, shows like My So-Called Life and Dawson’s Creek. All those shows helped me sort out some complicated feelings and fed my desire to be a writer someday.

My heartfelt prayers go out to the friends and family of Luke Perry. Luke, thank you for the memories. Rest in peace.

-Brandi Easterling Collins

Our First Official Family Vacation

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In the 10 years since Jonathan and I became parents, we’ve never taken a real family vacation. By vacation, I mean to drive away from our home to another location, see an attraction or two, and sleep there at least one night before driving home. And hopefully, something that in no way resembles National Lampoon’s Vacation.

At the end of last year, we talked about an eventual road trip to either Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, or (ambitiously) both. Knowing how far those destinations are from our home, and knowing our children, I suggested that we start smaller, considering that the kids have trouble getting along for the two-minute car ride from their grandparents’ house. It’s even worse when we visit my mother’s house that’s nearly two hours away. Constant bickering of “he’s looking at me” to “stop singing, Meredith.” I usually turn the radio louder to drown them out until they knock it off. It’s more effective than yelling. Continue reading

Scars

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“Scars” Free Verse, New Poetry, 8-4-16

Some nights when I can’t sleep
My mind wanders back to another time
Where the heartache must have happened
To someone else, someone I never knew.

I want to go back sometimes
Maybe to right the wrongs
Or do things differently.
The memories still have power over me.

I hate that I’m still reminded of you
After so many years and wasted tears.
I wish I could take them all back.
It was my youth I allowed stolen.

I gave you myself because I loved you.
I managed to survive the pain of loss,
But then you came back
And almost destroyed what was left of me.

When I let you break my heart again
It was my fault, and yours too.
Do I regret loving you? No.
Do I wish things had ended differently?

Maybe. No. Not really.
I locked away the hurt, pushed it down.
The scars from you are healing,
But still bleed sometimes.

I want to see a shooting star,
Without thinking of our first kiss.
I want back the passion I had then
To share with someone who loves me.

Late at night when I can’t sleep
And words come flowing out of me
I want back that piece of my soul,
The one I gave to you.

I’m a fraud who’s lost part of herself
Along the way. I have to get it back.
I can’t take back my youth
Or the time and tears spent.

I try to hide my scars
But they resurface.
I can’t erase the memories
So I must write over them.

-Brandi Easterling Collins