My best summer memories all hail from 1984, the summer before my senior year. That was the summer Cindy headed off to Central College for some sort of summer enrichment college program. There she met Dan. Through Dan, we met Paul. Through Cindy, Marcus joined our motley crew. Then it all went CRAZY, just like the song. The four to five of us were somewhat inseparable, and definitely sowing what wild oats we could.
I remember driving around the streets of Des Moines with the soundtrack to Purple Rain cranked up to 11. We "scooped the loop" looking for other people to hang out with or just having radio wars with the heavy metal headbangers. Since we had the songs memorize and we had choreographed moves to accompany some (such as "Let's Go Crazy"), we thought we were COOL. I imagine we looked ridiculous, but that's looking back 25 years.
In between driving around, we would go hang out at the gay bars in downtown (La Cage, Question Mark, and Brass Gardens), dancing, meeting new people, watching the drag queen shows, taking in the culture, and managing NOT to get in trouble. Occasionally we would even hit a teen club, but they weren't nearly as fun. Being in the bars made us feel sophisticated, urbane, witty, and with it. How we managed not to be busted is beyond me. Maybe it was the fact that we were all to chicken to consider imbibing alcohol!
That summer taught me the value and drama of friendship, how having a gay guy as your friend is as good as a personal shopper, how to live on NO sleep, the many ways in which you can fill time without watching TV or staying home, and that you really CANNOT see Purple Rain too many times. Let's face it, Prince rules.