Dear Jodi, the artifacts of your teen years are really just pop culture detritus

I'd Rather Be In Sweet Valley

A good part of nearly every Saturday of my childhood and early teenhood were spent at the Snyder’s Drug store in Blaine located in the little mall within walking distance of our house. Generally my sisters and our friends spent our money on 99-cent Wet n Wild lipsticks, Maxi-to-go eyeshadows, and $1 grabbags from the makeup counter. That was, until, I started buying Tiger Beat magazine so I could clip out pictures of Matt Dillion and Ponyboy Curtis to use in my scrapbook.

It was then that I noticed the Sweet Valley High books in the display located next to the magazine rack. Looking back I realize that right there in the fluorescent lit aisles of Snyder’s with Sister #2 trying to figure out if she had enough money for Fun Dip and Big League Chew plus tax that I made the decision that would effectively influence the rest of my life. I decided to eschew the Tiger Beat and the Wet n Wild to buy Double Love, Sweet Valley High #1. The book was $2.25.

The Outsiders 2

I was immediately obsessed with the sun-kissed, perfect-size-six blonde teens from Sweet Valley, California. My ever-growing collection of Sweet Valley High books became my prized possession and were showcased prominently in the bookcase headboard of my waterbed. I spent many insomnia-laden nights in that bed obsessively listing the titles, publication dates, and plots of all my Sweet Valley High books. It helped lull me to sleep.

One of the greatest tragedies of the summer of 8th grade involved my book collection and an errant bottle of uncapped nail polish remover. It was not, much to most people’s disbelief, being a 6’2′ fourteen-year-old. Oh no.

All the buzz the past few weeks about the updating of the Sweet Valley franchise has left me a little sad and nostalgic. I’ll leave aside the pathetic need to make the twins a perfect size four, instead of a six, and focus on what saddens me the most the loss off The Oracle newspaper. Now, instead of being a reporter for the newspaper, Elizabeth Wakefield is a blogger.


Though I am sure I was born with something in me that compels me to write, it was Elizabeth Wakefield who inspired me to start writing for my own high school newspaper, The Blueprint. That in turn lead me to study journalism, which lead me to the internet, and, well, here I am now. See how big that decision in Snyder’s was?

Eventually, I became editor-in-chief of The Blueprint. Which is why I am more than a little excited by tonight’s premiere of “The Paper” on MTV. Don’t you think for one second that there’s any way in hell this won’t become my new favorite TV show now that Rock of Love 2 is over. A reality show about choosing the next E-o-C of a high school newspaper? Hi, I’m Jodi, former newspaper nerd and target audience for this kind of stuff.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was actually co-editor-in-chief of The Blueprint. But that was only because I begged the class to appoint Rob Hobot as the other chief. I had a huge crush on Rob, the sports editor, for most of my junior and senior year of high school, and if I knew anything back then I knew that the way to a man’s heart was with witty columns and non-repo blue pens. Oh yeah.

I am going to stop now and spare you how I am puzzled by the whole RickRoll thing. Because, man I fucking love that song and went on and on about it almost a year ago.

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  1. christa 15.Apr.08 at 3:30 pm

    aw man. i love this post. although we used to pass around copies of svh … and i’d stay up until 4-5 a.m. reading them in one sitting. i loved elizabeth, too. and when todd moved away it broke my little preteen heart.

    on sunday night i had a conversation with a friend about how, among all those heartthrobs of ‘the outsiders,’ we were both loyal to ponyboy … not tom cruise. not emilio. not rob lowe … falling for cthomas howell seems like crazy talk considering the alternatives. although i stand behind that decision.

    and finally, the paper. oh boy. that was some gooey goodness. does the in-chief know she is channeling andrea zuckerman?

  2. Jodi 15.Apr.08 at 3:36 pm

    Did you cry when Regina Morrow died of the cocaine overdose? I think that was the second time I ever cried over a book (first being the outsiders, obviously).

    Ponyboy was the best. I think all the girls loved him or Johnny Cade.

    How much you wanna bet the in-chief (I kinda wanted that doofy guy with the big curly hair to get it) has no idea Andrea Zuckerman is?

  3. christa 15.Apr.08 at 11:40 pm

    i’m not sure how its possible that i don’t remember regina morrow’s death.

  4. Jodi 15.Apr.08 at 11:42 pm

    I think she fell in with a bad crowd after Bruce Patman dumped her.

  5. christa 16.Apr.08 at 12:54 pm

    oh boy. if i end up at a used book store today in the teen fiction section, know you had a hand in it.


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