One of my favourite HelloGiggles articles this week has been this exciting lemonade recipe, as a celebration of the classic traditional of childhood lemonade stands. It was a lovely post, that made me feel warm and fuzzy with nostalgia….the nostalgia of seeing it on TV, that is. It’s just not something that we really did as kids in the UK. Forgive me if you did grow up here and had your own lemonade stand – in fact, I applaud you. I wanted one sooo badly.
After that, I started thinking about all the other stuff I saw on US shows that I really envied, stuff that seemed so commonplace but yet so glam. I asked a few girl friends for their input and got some extremely enthusiastic responses, so thanks girls – this is a collaborative effort.
Apologies in advance if I appear to be generalising or assuming life growing up in the USA was universally like it was in Clarissa, Saved by the Bell, Sister Sister, Sweet Valley High, etc. This is the life we were led to believe y’all were leading, and which we desperately wanted in on.
The closest we got to summer camp was the odd overnight school trip – but they were still overseen by the teachers and had the same ol’ social groups and politics we had to deal with at school. Summer camp always sounded like such a great chance to meet other kids, do some cool stuff and have exciting adventures. With Smors. I don’t know what Smors are (are they something to do with marshmallow?) or even how to spell it (let me know below) – but I really REALLY wanted the chance to make them.
This one was suggested by my friend Liz, and I concur. We know cliques are a bad thing. But I think the term was a good one – if some girls were mean, you could say “they’re so cliquey” and it would make you feel better about not being part of their exclusive gang.
Ah, bleachers. We had to watch sports from around the sides of the field/gym. Whist standing up. Of course, the appeal of the bleacher was not the practical convenience. No, the appeal was all the crazy stuff that was said to go on under them. Smoking! Kissing! Spying on people! The bleacher sounds like the ultimate den, and everyone likes a den.
When we had boyfriends at school, we just had boyfriends. We had no badge of honour to display it to the world. The ultimate dream, thanks to the plethora of US teen school shows (I’m looking at you, Saved by the Bell), was to wear a boy’s varsity jacket.
No school uniform
This is far from universal, and I do now see the advantages of having a uniform, but we so used to envy the kids in US schools who could express themselves so perfectly with their clothing. We used to have one non-uniform day a term, which we spent literally weeks planning our outfits for. Plus, those of us in non-private schools often had uniforms based around very unattractive sweatshirts, which are just not flattering on anybody.
A universal vote from my girl friends – it seems student lockers in UK schools are few and far between. The reasons for wanting a locker were threefold: First of all, we had to take big ol’ school bags full of heavy heavy books to and from school every day. It hurt. Secondly, decorating your locker always seemed like another great opportunity to express yourself. Finally, we had no substitute to hanging out by someone’s locker in the hopes of seeing them. We totally missed out.
I’m including proms in the list, even though they are now pretty much a mainstay for school leavers in the UK. This is probably because of pressure from my generation (eek, I am old), who could only dream of prom and everything else it brings. Dates! Corsages! Fancy dresses! Slow dancing! Limos! We had none of that. I FINALLY went to a prom when I finished school at 18, and it was a pretty poor (albeit fun) affair compared to my expectations from TV and books. My boyfriend-at-the-time did buy me a corsage, though.
Again, included even though they have been creeping in. I wanted a record of my year at school, my friends. And, most importantly, the chance to ask the guy I fancied to sign it, and spend the summer analysing what he wrote. Plus, I totally would have joined the yearbook committee.
Another one of Liz’s suggestions. We first heard about them in Judy Blume books and they sound so delicious!
Here’s the rest of our suggestions – I’d love to write about them all in detail but I’ve been inspired by Romilly’s lemonade stand post so much I’m going to set one up. On the pavement outside my city centre flat.
- A bedroom with a ladder for your best friend to climb up
- Hall passes
- Running out of class as soon as the bell rings
- Cars at age 16
- Red and blue paper cups at parties
- ‘Make-out’ points
- All-in-one desk/chair combos
- Hanging out with friends in diners/coffee shops
- Proper cafeterias (they looked much more glam than our canteens/school dinners)
- Pop quizzes (might sound weird, but there’s something great about the thought of not having to revise)
- Not having to learn a manual transmission
- Spriiiiiiinnnnng Brrrrreeeeeeaaaaakkkkk!
- Finally, from a friend who I won’t name: “for Hanson to live in the same country as me, thus improving my chance of meeting them”.