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A One Cop Town in The Eighties

A One Cop Town in The Eighties

Does an email ever stop you in your tracks? I opened my mail this evening to see this:

“Have I found my old friend from Idaho?”

I was whooshed back 27 years to American Falls, Idaho 1985; a town with one cop, one set of traffic lights, two burger joints and a rumbling interstate highway just over the back fence.

Susan, a Kiwi, was also a Rotary Exchange student in a neighbouring town and equally exotic to the locals there. We were the only non-Americans for many miles around. I got asked more than once if it had been hard for me to learn English. Susan was my friend even after I told everyone that New Zealand was in fact a satellite state off the coast of eastern Australia.

Being 17 and more filled with self-knowledge and confidence than ever before or ever since (the most wonderful thing about being 17 is knowing everything about everything), I challenged the politics teacher on why only American politics and American history was being taught at American Falls High. Horrified, Coach Bob – for he was also the school grid iron coach – spat his chewing tabaccy into a bin and told me that the other counties would think Power County had been run over by communists if he taught anything about the Eastern bloc.

He challenged me to give a few lessons to the students about the history of communism and the Russian Revolution of 1917. They all eyed me warily from that week on and I wonder if they thought I was in fact a communist spy. The cold war was still cold, the Soviet Union still six years away from collapse, and although this was the year of Gorbachev’s glasnost, the frost was still bitey.

I saw Jack Reacher last night and it reminded me a little of this time; the good old eighties. The baddies were real old school baddies, complete with cloudy eye, missing fingers and Siberian accent.jackreacher_news

The car chase was long and honest. There were no very special effects and the directing was open and disarming. For a goodies versus baddies flick that makes you feel nostalgic for the eighties (even though it’s set later), see this film. It’s fun. And I don’t care what you say, Tom Cruise is fabulous. He isn’t the Jack Reacher I have imagined for all the years I have been reading the Lee Child books, but he is a good Reacher nevertheless.

One more trip back to the eighties today: I ran into a girl friend of my brother’s who asked me if I had a perm. As in had I permed my hair.


I wanted to grab both her arms and shake her and wail “if I were to get a perm would I have it look like this? I mean come ON!” But I just shook my dunny-brush locks and smiled a tiny smile. No, this is just me. Bushy bushy blonde hairdo, reminiscing USA.

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