Party Like it’s 1989

Okay, I know Prince’s song is really “Party Like it’s 1999,” but you see, this weekend I’ll be attending my 25th high school reunion. That certainly doesn’t seem possible. But I’m looking forward to catching up with old friends, driving around my hometown, going to a high school football game, and walking the halls of my old high school. So in preparation, I thought it might be fun to look back to May 25, 1989, the night I graduated from high school.

I was living in a small Western Kentucky town that had two stoplights in the entire county, visible from each other on Main Street. The population of the town was and still hovers around 3,000. The only chain restaurants in town were Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen and Druther’s (now defunct except for one location). They didn’t get a McDonald’s until I went to college and have since gotten a Subway.

Receiving my high school diploma.

The three busiest times for traffic were and I suspect still are 1) when school lets out in the afternoon, 2) after a football or basketball game and 3) after the event of the night at the county fair. The only thing open all night is a corner gas station. You had to drive 23 miles to the next county to get to the nearest Walmart (still do), and the nearest mall was an hour away in Paducah (ditto on that one). The worst thing you ever had to worry about at school was a fist fight or someone smoking pot in the bathroom.

Number 1 song the Hot 100 Billboard chart that week was Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl.”

Number1 on the country chart was Alabama’s “If I Had You.”

Topping the New York Times Best Seller List was Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.

The Number 1 movie that weekend was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the second biggest movie opening that year behind Batman the next month.

And in news, Mikhail Gorbachev became the head of state of the Soviet Union.

What are some of the things you remember about the year you graduated high school? What were some of the Number 1’s for that week?



  • flchen1 says:

    LOL! I’m not sure I remember much about the year I graduated high school (a couple before you, Trish!) Apparently AZT was approved that year, but I mainly remember silly things like tight leggings and big shoulder pads! Mikhail Gorbachev was Time Magazine’s Man of the Year…

  • ki pha says:

    Wow, 25 year reunion! That must be super exciting. And how did you remember all those number one hits in 1989? I can’t even remember wha ate last week!

    But as for the year I graduated, not much happened. Did a lot of fun art projects, lost my ultimate favorite sketch book of all my works on the last week of school, missed by .001 on my final GPA grade to be on high honors for graduation (still so angry about it!). But the best part about it was that I finally actually had fun and hanged out with friends that final year. Bittersweet but it was good.

    • Oh, I didn’t remember them all specifically. I Googled them. 🙂 Speaking of which, I imagine research papers are a lot easier now than then because, you know, Google!

  • Amy Conley says:

    I live in a town just like you described, so where is the only Druthers left? My film would be in heaven.
    I graduated in 1978, last year was our 35 reunion and my boys turned 36. They came home the weekend of Labor Day and I started school the day after Labor Day. They didn’t sleep all night til after I graduated, so I was up at 2am doing feedings and diaper changes my entire senior year.
    YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE by Debbie Boone was the number one song of the entire year.
    Graduation ended and 10minutes later it started to rain (graduation was on the football field). Everyone was in alphabetical order so the girl sitting next to me was Kathy Anderson, but I never knew her in school since I only went to that school for one year. A couple years later I met her because we were dating guys who were friends, and we became friends, and we are still friends.
    There is SO much more I could tell but I don’t know what the statue of limitations would be for some of these things.

    • The last surviving Druther’s is in Campbellsville, KY. I went in there once and cracked up because it was so like when our Druther’s was still around — old dudes sitting around drinking coffee and shooting the bull. 🙂

      • Cassondra says:

        Oh no WAY! Druther’s is still in Campbellsville? We had one in Columbia, but it’s gone. It’s was Burger Queen first, then Druther’s, then it became a DQ for a while I think. I think last time I drove by there, there was nothing in that building.

        I didn’t know there were any left!

        • Yep, it’s still there. It was like a flashback. Ours in my hometown was a Burger Queen first as well. Druther’s got bought out by DQ we already had a DQ across the street.

      • Amy Conley says:

        I have a feeling Druthers is going to be getting a lot of business here shortly. I checked and it is outside Elizabethtown,Ky. Only a two hour drive for us. My fil was tickled to death when I told him there was one left and even happier when I told him how close we were.

  • Helen says:


    Sounds like it going to be lots of fun I graduated from high school in 1973 and I don’t remember much at all LOL I do remember a radio station playing To Sir With Love for us 🙂 and our town was big huge shopping centres and lots going on

    Have Fun

    • I can’t really imagine going to high school in a big city where the student body number could be 2/3 the size of my hometown. You’d only ever know a small percentage of your classmates. I knew every single person in my class of 110 along with lots of their siblings.

  • Shannon says:

    Yeah, I’m like everyone. I only remember a few things. I forget which BeeGee’s song from Saturday Night Fever was the hit. Maybe three or four of them. How Deep Is Your Love? More than a Woman?

    My hometown was 1,000 people, no stop lights, and no chain restaurants. Traffic: dragging Main Street.

    There were a few guys who liked the disco craze, but most were into country. (You don’t have to dress for country.) I worked at a country radio station, KOFE. I recall loving Ronnie Milsap but can’t remember a song from then. Dolly Patton and Kenny Rogers released Every Time Two Fools Collide. Dolly had other hits, too–Here You Come Again.

    • Shannon, country was and is big where I’m from, too. I grew up hearing it because that’s what my parents listened to, but I never really liked it. I was more of a rock gal. Hair bands of the’80s! 🙂

  • Mozette says:

    I hate to bring everyone down, but I never graduated high school. I dropped out in year 11 as I failed it; passing only 3 subjects out of 13. I do think Dad thought of me as a failure.

    But I went onto TAFE/college where I attended a full-time office studies course for 6 months and was on the dole/new start allowance for only a few months before I began to work at RACQ. This was at a time when all my school friends were just graduating high school… very cool, don’t you think?

    I did ask if I could attend the formal/prom while I was attending TAFE/college, because I was still in the education system, but it was a closed formal/prom, so my Principal said no… bummer. I never got to say goodbye to my friends.

    Being a kid who wasn’t all that good at school really had an effect on me during my life. When I saw my cousins going to their formals/proms, they’d ask me about mine… and to begin with, I used to snap at them about not graduating.
    Now, my niece is only a year or two away from graduating, and she asked me about what happened at my formal/prom, and I refer her to her Dad or her step-mum, because – this is where I smile – I didn’t graduate, I dropped out of high school because I flunked it. 😛

    But, I tell her, it doesn’t mean I’m a failure in life… it just means I was a poor fit in that part of my life. 🙂

    • I’m glad you were able to find another area of your life where you fit better.

    • Shannon says:

      When I read your posts, I see a strong woman. Much like the heroines that the Banditas write. Life is good when it drifts like a lose garment and irritating when it’s an ill-fitting bra. I rejoice that you have found your place.

      Your post reminded me that I need to check again for a guy I recently met. He cannot read and is virtually unemployable. The one time I looked for adult education, I mainly came across literacy for English as a Second Language. And then I gave up the search. According to our local radio station, there’s a lot of people who don’t make it through the education system in the metro area. The figure surprised me–it is about 1 out of 4 students drop out.

    • Cassondra says:

      Mozette, it absolutely does not mean you’re a failure at life. I think it makes things a bit harder when you don’t finish high school in the “regular” way, but to me that just means you learn differently and in a different way, and I do understand why everybody wants kids to finish high school, but I think it pays sometimes to look at the bigger picture. I hate that there’s such a stigma around it. You have done great just as you are. :0)

      • Mozette says:

        Thank you all for your wonderful comments of encouragement. I did learn things differently from my friends… I suffered through high school with a learning disability and had comprehension problems earlier on as well as completely flunking at maths of all kinds (and this really puzzled my teachers; seeing one day, they could get me to understand it and within 24 hours, it was as though I had never seen it before… I had absolutely no recall or retention of numbers – I even have trouble remembering phone numbers and house numbers now. It’s terrible!).

        However, as a person with these problems – which seem small until you actually have to put up with them – life is totally different. I view the world from an artist’s and writer’s view point. I’ve had one man take advantage of me and beat me up while telling me he loved me and not there’s no way in hell I’d let a man into my bed or that close again – ever. Strangely enough, I’ve been told I write great romance – paranormal and normal – so that’s a plus, I still have the romantic side of me intact.

        I do hope to see my life work out, be happy with somebody and figure out exactly what the meaning to life is… 🙂

  • Kim Brown says:

    I would have to google as well. I get home to Marion most everyday. (I only live in Cadiz.) And, although I live elsewhere, I still will never consider anywhere else home. I hold a lot of love for those two stoplights, our high school, my friends and fond memories, as it sounds like you do too. You have made me a bit nostalgic.
    I hope that you all have a great weekend. Give Kristy Mc a hug for me!

  • Trish, what a fun post. Love that picture of you graduating! Have fun at your reunion.

    What fun to go back and see what was number 1 when I graduated. I checked November 1978 and found that in the U.S., it was Le Freak by Chic seesawing with You Don’t Bring Me Flower with Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand (I remember that was on constant play over the holidays that year here so suspect it hit number one, but later than with you guys). In Australia, it was I Don’t Like Mondays with the Boomtime Rats (was that a hit in America – it was huge here, first time I ever saw Bob Geldof) with a one-week spot for Computer Games by Mi-sex, a NZ band who I suspect didn’t get any further than Australasia.

  • Cassondra says:

    Oh, I’d have to google. It’s been too long. My 30th reunion blew by a couple of years ago. I didn’t go.

    So excited for yours though! Hope you have a wonderful time!

  • We had a great 35th Year Reunion 2 years ago. I was amazed at the number of people who showed up. We had a live band and the food was prepared by the local barbecue joint, STILL in operation after all these years. We left campus (highly against the rules) many a day to eat barbecue at Buddy’s. We had a blast at the reunion and ended up with about 30 of us doing the electric slide to Sweet Home Alabama.

    The biggest movie that year was STAR WARS ! My brother, his best friend and I waited in line for HOURS to see it the first weekend it came out. It completely blew our minds. The best friend’s son is named Luke after Luke Skywalker.

    Disco was huge (as was our hair!) and I remember dancing to Brick House by the Commodores, Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees, and We Will Rock You by Queen. And I listened to lots of Elton John and Billy Joel.

    • This all sounds like so much fun! We’re pretty low-key at our reunions, dinner and sitting around catching up, which is fun.

      I can’t imagine what it must have been like to see the first Star Wars in the movie theater. So groundbreaking. And even though it was big when I was young, I actually like disco. 🙂

      • Caren Crane says:

        Trish, I saw ALL the Star Wars movies in the theater and they were mind-blowing. I went to see the first one (Episode IV) over and over once it came to our $1 theater. I think I saw it 3 or 4 times, which was a really big deal considering how broke we were! Priorities, priorities!

        • We went back and saw it again the next weekend! It really was an amazing, amazing thing to see for the first time.

          • Amy Conley says:

            I went into early labor during my third viewing of STAR WARS, but neither boy was named Luke. I was at the theater with my mother and her bf, and I his the fact my labor had begun since it was my first pregnancy I knew it would be awhile. It was too, 3 days later I finally had them.

  • Caren Crane says:

    Oh, Trish, you are going to have such fun! Last year, I attended my 30th HS reunion and it was a blast. Really great to see everyone and get back to East Nashville, my old stomping ground.

    I graduated in 1983. I actually graduated from a HS in Charlotte, NC, not in Nashville, TN, but that’s a long, convoluted story for another day (involving Texas). On June 10, 1983 (I think that was the day), the following were Big Things:

    1. #1 Hit Song – “What a Feeling” (theme from Flashdance) by Irene Cara

    2. #1 Movie – Return Of the Jedi

    3. #1 Book – Wait for it… “Return Of the Jedi” adapted from the screenplay by one of my favorite science fiction authors, Joan D. Vinge. Star Wars sweep!

    In the news, Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives swept the elections in Britain. In the U.S., the following: “New Orleans’s French Quarter, long a symbol of old-world charm, has given way to new world sin. The jazz bands have left Bourbon Street and have been replaced by striptease dancers, female impersonators and a sea of garish T-shirts. A visiting librarian likened the French Quarter to ”Sodom and Gomorrah.””

    And there you have it. Now we know why the Romantic Times convention in New Orleans was such a hit this year. AND why people still claim to be “recuperating,” LOL

  • Laurie G says:

    I graduated from HS on June 4, 1972.

    From Google:

    President Nixon first president to visit China

    Watergate scandal

    Winter Olympics were held in Sapporo Japan

    Eleven Israeli athletes at Olympic Games in Munich are killed after eight members of an Arab terrorist group invades Olympic Village; five guerrillas and one policeman are also killed (Sept. 5).

    M*A*S*H premieres on CBS.

    Movies-The Godfather, Deliverance

    E- mail is introduced.

    Apollo XVII, the last manned moon landing to date, returns to Earth with 250 pounds of lunar samples.

    Grammys awarded in 1972
    Record of the Year: “It’s Too Late,” Carole King
    Album of the Year: Tapestry, Carole King (Ode)
    Song of the Year: “You’ve Got a Friend,” Carole King, songwriter

    Carly Simon takes the Best New Artist award.

    Academy Award, Best Picture: The French Connection, Philip D’Antoni, producer (Twentieth Century-Fox)

    Ms Magazine debuts -Gloria Steinem