On the way home from the beach last weekend, I read Emily Giffin’s new book, Where We Belong. (I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any gal looking for a good, quick read.)
A few chapters of the book take place back in 1995. Songs from 1995 were referenced and my mind naturally went back to 1995.
In 1995, I turned 13 years old. We started the year living in Louisiana, and by the beginning of the summer we had picked up and moved to Indiana. I felt like Indiana was in the middle of no where. I was surrounded by corn fields. There were basketball goals in every driveway. And I didn’t know a soul.
I was a rising 8th grader and almost a teenager that summer. I was an awkward-looking 12 year old. I had a weird bob haircut and I hadn’t really settled into my body yet. I had just said goodbye to all of my friends in the world and rode in our minivan to our new home.
We spent a good 12 hours in the car and listened to a lot of songs on the radio. The music of 1995.
Sitting in my new room in my new house, spending a summer hanging out with my little brother because neither of us had any friends yet, I listened to a lot of radio. And we watched a lot of MTV and VH1.
And I’ll never forget those songs.
Songs like Kiss From a Rose by Seal. And Hook by Blues Traveler.
Waterfalls by TLC and Hold My Hand by Hootie and the Blowfish.
Songs that turned bands into one hit wonders like Roll to Me by Del Amitri. Or As I Lay Me Down by Sophie B. Hawkins. Of course there was You Are Not Alone by Michael Jackson. And Strong Enough by Sheryl Crowe.
Still, to this day, when I hear any of the songs from that year, I am flooded with the memory of emotions. The feelings of loneliness and fear. I felt excitement and incredible anticipation. And dread. And the fear and nerves of starting a new school and trying to make friends.
I can almost smell the way my new school smelled on that first day when I hear any of these songs. I remember what it was like to ride a school bus for the first time and hear those songs on the radio.
It’s unclear whether or not I could name the songs of 1996 or 1997. I don’t even really know what songs were really popular when I finished high school. But the pop culture of 1995 is still so fresh in my memory.
I took a couple of trips back to Louisiana that summer for youth choir tour and church camp. I wrote a lot of letters to my friends and I eagerly checked my mailbox every single day for letters. And I saved every one I received. (This was a couple of years before email was a mainstream thing.)
I cried a lot that summer. There was actually a Tropical Storm Erin that summer, and my parents joked with me that it was really me and I was just crying enough to create a tropical storm.
1995 is a huge mark on the map outline of my life. I learned how to start over. I learned that I can be brave and that my home is where my family is. Because of this, I’m not afraid of the possibility of following my husband where ever God wants to take us. And I’m just as open to the idea of living in this great town for the rest of my life because that’s where my family is.
And that summer, I really, for the first time in my life, remember what it feels like to trust in God that He knows the plans for us and that He is going to take care of us.
My brother and I have talked about the songs of 1995 before and the strong memories we have just from hearing the songs on the radio.
But all these thoughts just because I read Where We Belong and Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town was referenced. Oh, the memories.
Is there a song that does that for you? Or a year of music that brings back strong memories like that?