Turn Back Tuesday – 1989

So what were you doing in 1989?

As part of my ongoing attempt to recreate a lifetime of memories, I’m focusing this week on the year I turned 17.

In the spring, I was still in 11th grade and was chosen to be one of the few students to visit the Terry Fox Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. That was an incredible experience, if for no other reason than I was able to travel alone for the first time. I jumped on a train in Amherst, Nova Scotia and went to Montreal, Quebec, switched trains, and then finished the journey to Ottawa, Ontario.  I wish I could remember more from that trip, but that’s the problem with youth…you just don’t stop to smell the roses.

star trek tngThat summer was spent waiting on tables for my dad ALL the time. I was full-time doing that. Most weekends I would hang out with my friends after my shift was over. We’d sit and watch the latest Star Trek: The Next Generation on a Saturday evening before drinking, smoking, and being happy with life. We’d mainly hang out in my best friend’s basement because (a) his big brother had his bedroom down there and (b) his parents didn’t mind if we drank, as long as we stayed inside the house and didn’t try to drive anywhere. Those were great times.

1989I entered Grade 12 in September. I was really stoked to be a high school senior. I had a really good group of friends and we all hung out whenever we could. I later found out that people looked at our group as the “cool group”, and some of those people even thought that we “too cool for school”. I have to laugh because we didn’t even think about that. We just wanted to hang out and have fun together.

I was part of the school’s dance committee, the drama group, and a host of other committees. I feel as though I took full advantage of my final year.

ExxonValdez3 The Exxon Valdez ran aground in 1989. You want to talk about an environmental disaster that ended up changing the world? THIS is the one. Over 260,000 barrels of oil spilled into Alaska’s Prince William Sound.  Because of the remote location of the spill, it was extremely difficult to respond to the situation. The spill ended up covering over 1,300 miles (2,100 km) of coastline, drenching everything in its path with black crude. This ended up costing Exxon billions of dollars over the next 20 years and clean-up advancements were forced to be made, thus changing the entire industry.

The #1 song at the time was “Listen To Your Heart” by Roxette. I will absolutely admit to being a MASSIVE Roxette fan. From the very first time I heard “The Look” to the first time I heard “Way Out” a couple of years ago, I’ve got to admit to Roxette being one of my favourite bands. I initially thought that this might have been their only #1 Billboard hit, but turns out that “The Look”, “It Must Have Been Love”, and “Joyride” were also #1 singles. Four #1 hit singles is pretty impressive, regardless of who you are.  And seeing Roxette live in person is still on my concert bucket list, too.

pg-31-tiananmen-6-ap The protests at Tiananmen Square took place. I don’t remember much about the origins of the protests, but I’ll always remember the one person who stood in front of a tank. Over a million protestors marched through Beijing at one point, with the government bringing in over 200,000 troops and declaring martial law as a response. China was heavily criticized for using force against the protestors, but that didn’t matter to them. I’m not sure much more has changed in the years since, thought at least tanks weren’t used in Hong Kong during the Umbrella Revolution.

Disney mgmWalt Disney World expanded in Orlando, Florida with the opening of Disney-MGM Studios (now known as Disney Hollywood Studios). I have never been here, which is odd because I’ve been to every other major Orlando attraction. I had the opportunity to go, but my ex-wife and I chose to visit Animal Kingdom instead. I think we made the right decision, but I would love to visit  Hollywood Studios at some point.

BatmanThe top 5 box office films of the year were:

  1. Batman at $251 million
  2. Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade at $197 million
  3. Lethal Weapon 2 at $147 million
  4. Look Who’s Talking at $140 million
  5. Honey, I Shrunk The Kids at $130 million

GloryYeah, 1989 was another pretty darn good year for Hollywood movies. Don’t believe me? The year also saw the following: Back To The Future 2, Ghostbusters 2, Dead Poets Society, The Little Mermaid, Christmas Vacation, Uncle Buck, Star Trek 5, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Karate Kid 3, Weekend at Bernie’s, Glory, Road House, and Say Anything. Whew!! That’s a TON of great movies! I don’t know if I can even chose a favourite from the bunch, though I think one of the most underrated movies from the group is Glory. Just incredible performances by Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, and Denzel Washington (to name a few). I don’t know why I don’t’ have this on Blu-Ray yet, but I need to watch it again sometime soon. It’s a powerful movie.

sky2_dome_1If you’re a fan of baseball or if you’re Canadian (or both), you probably know of the SkyDome in Toronto (now called the Rogers Centre). It opened in 1989 and was the first stadium to have a fully retractable motorized roof. It’s currently used for the Toronto Blue Jays, the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, and sometimes the Buffalo Bills of the NFL…not to mention various other concerts and sporting events.

Pete-Rose1“Charlie Hustle” himself, Pete Rose, agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball following allegations of illegal gambling. This has prevented Rose from entering the Baseball Hall of Fame, as he very much deserves. Enough time has passed. Rose is the all-time Major League leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053), singles (3,215), and outs (10,328). He won three World Series rings, three batting titles, one Most Valuable Player Award, two Gold Gloves, the Rookie of the Year Award, and also made 17 All-Star appearances at FIVE different positions (2BLFRF3B, & 1B). Major League Baseball needs to forgive Rose and induct him into the Hall before he passes away (he’s 73 now). Enough is enough. I don’t think a lot of fans would disagree.

Cosby-Show_lThe top 5 television programs of the year were:

  1. The Cosby Show (again)
  2. Roseanne
  3. Cheers
  4. A Different World
  5. America’s Funniest Home Videos

The Cosby juggernaut continued through 1989 and into 1990. And Roseanne wasn’t too far behind, either (statistically, they were virtually tied in viewers this year). Other shows made their debuts in the Top 20, but I’ll be honest…I don’t remember much about them: Empty Nest, Chicken Soup, Grand, & Dear John. Hard to believe they were that popular “back in the day”.

Berlin-wallA little thing called The Berlin Wall came down this year. For those too young to remember, The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by East Germany that completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from East Germany. The Eastern Bloc claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the “will of the people” in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked East Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period. – Wikipedia

Civil unrest led to a number of internal changes within the political atmosphere in East Germany and, eventually, resulted in the wall being torn apart and Germans freely walking across the border. German reunification took place in 1990, giving hope to the world that real change could take place through the power of the people.

It was quite the full year in 1989. What were YOU doing?


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