The year was 1995 and I was just entering my teenage years. Boyz II Men and Ace of Base were cleaning up at the American Music Awards, both albums I had on cassette. In fact, the Boyz II Men cassettes might be in my basement in storage. Amazing the silly things we hold onto from our childhood. Baseball had a nasty strike and the nation cried when Christopher Reeve was paralyzed.
That summer I turned 13. My best friend and I spent alot of time at his parent’s farm. Playing video games and chasing cattle. That year I shared a birthday with the release of Batman Forever, a movie that I watched more than once since then. Growing up in South Carolina we were all horrified by Susan Smith murdering her children. As a father now, while I may be disappointed or frustrated at times, I could never fathom harming my child in any way. There has to be a special place of torment in the afterlife for those who harm or kill children like she did.
That fall, Carolina rejoiced as we saw the beginning of our own National Football Team, the Carolina Panthers. I had grown up a Redskins fan thanks to my grandparents being from the Maryland/DC area. For the first time we could say we were rooting for the “home team”. They lost their first game in overtime. I was very disappointed.
That fall saw the publishing of the Unabomber’s manifesto by major newspapers. We also witnessed the Jury deliberation of the OJ Simpson trial. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” becomes a joke used repeatedly across the comedy world, as well as in my little part of the world. While he was later found not guilty, there were no riots in the streets like in recent years with Ferguson and elsewhere. No one seemed to think “taking to the streets” would bring any other sort of justice for a white woman killed by a black male. How anyone thought doing the same when a black male was killed by a white male, is beyond my understanding.
On a lighter note, my home team Carolina Panthers did get their first victory against the NY Jets in October, while I tried to master the French Horn in my 8th grade band. I did manage to take a chair at Regionals so that was something. They also began looking for volunteers for a special advanced college prep program to be started in my school district. While it would mean starting high school without most of my friends (as it was being held at a different school in the district), I was excited for this opportunity. Between my parents moving our family twice during my senior year, I did not complete the International Baccalaureatte, or IB program. I often wonder how different my life might have been if my high school years had not been filled with so much upheaval. I know I would not want to change the course my life has taken as it has brought me to a very happy place. It is still food for thought, and perhaps a short story or something in the future. We shall see.
As the year draws to a close, there were a couple significant events. Toy Story was the first full length animated film using computer imagery. Something done many times since to mainly Disney and Pixar’s success. Revolutionary changes in computer graphics have shaped the movie special effects industry and given us much to enjoy in the years since. There was also the official end of Desert Storm. While too young to have been involved in any military action, I did have family that participated. Thankfully they all made it home safe. Later in the 2000s, when we returned to the middle east, my little brother would serve two tours of duty in the same regions. I am grateful that he made it home safe as well. I am thankful for all of our military personnel that have served (My grandfather was a marine in WW2 as well), those currently serving, and encourage any who are considering it to go for it. Although I would later begin the process of enlisting in the Air Force as a translator (German was my language in High School), other events would take that route off the map of my life.
The year was 1995, and while probably not the most dramatic year of my life, it was still memorable.