Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Home Again

Been feeling kind of down a bit lately. With what’s going on in the world, I’m pretty sure everyone is. When I feel this way, I tend to find nostalgia very helpful, soothing. Sometimes I’ll watch things on YouTube about Disneyland, or maybe someone doing a review or breakdown of an 80s movie,  jor listen to an 80s or 90s playlist. Tonight, I decided to renew my Hulu account and watch Beverly Hills 90210.  I watched the episode called Going Home, it was the last episode of season one. I can already hear the gagging. But please allow me to explain.

I grew up in Southern California, in a little L.A. suburb called Valencia. I never really liked it. There were a lot of bullies, and a lot of families that were much better off financially than we were. I was teased and picked on all through school. By my sophomore year in high school, I had just about had it! I hated Valencia. I hated L.A. The only think I liked in SoCal was Disneyland. The rest you can have.

In the late 80s, my parents became increasingly jaded with SoCal, and increasingly enamored with Oregon. In 1989 my family moved there. I was never so happy in my life. A chance to start over, a clean slate. New school, new friends, new climate. It was all so exciting to me. I made friends very quickly.

My junior year, 1991, Beverly Hills 90210 debuted. Watching it now, it feels like a goofy family oriented show, but back then it was really edgy and so cool. Everybody watched it. I always identified with Brandon Walsh, I even grew sideburns to look more like him. I loved the show. Everybody loved it.

In the episode Going Home, the father gets a promotion, the only catch is that it means the family would have to move back to Minneapolis. The problem was that the family was already set in and established in Beverly Hills. Brenda and Brandon lamented moving back and struggled to accept it. Ultimately the plans were cancelled and the family stayed in Beverly Hills.

When we moved to Oregon, my father was a fish out of water. He struggled to find work, doing what he could to support the family. My mother worked too. In 1991, my father made the decision to move us back to California. This did not take well with me. There was no way I was going to go back to that hell, and I was very distraught. I had made more friends my first week of school than I had at my old school, even having known all the kids since kindergarten. It was a difficult decision for my father.

Once we got back to Valencia, I made the best of it. I hooked up with some old friends and we had a really fun summer. But it didn't take long for the misery to set in and my parents could see a problem, they could see a potential for long-term psychological damage. They knew that deep down inside I hated being there, and that hatred was festering, simmering, under the surface. They knew that I could never be as happy in California as I was in Oregon. Same went for my brother. So my dad moved us back to Oregon at the end of August, 1991. We had lived there for 6 weeks. It was the shortest amount of time ever in a residence for me.

I've never written about these experiences before because they hold so much emotion. I think my dat still feels bad about the decision to move us to California, but I've long since forgiven him. After all, I did have a little fun in California that summer. 

When we got back to our house in Oregon, three friends had rented a limousine and were waiting for me. Talk about your all-time welcomes. I had a regular group of friends like Brenda and Brandon and we did everything together. We're still in contact today.

Going Home was the last episode of Beverly Hills 90210 I watched before we moved back to California. It had a profound message for me. In the end of the episode, the father calls off the move. He realizes that money can't buy happiness, and family was immensely more important. Just like my dad.

Just when I started to think that everything was going to suck for the rest of my life, my parents told my brother and I, we were going home. When we got back to our house in Oregon, three friends had rented a limousine and were waiting for me. Talk about your all-time welcomes. I was never so happy in my life to be back with all my friends. My confidence went through the roof and I started meeting girls, and dating. 

Going Home was my most favorite episode because I could relate with it. I felt the dread in Brandon and Brenda's heart. I wanted to go home so bad, and I got my wish. 

Life imitating art.