The year 1986 brought a lot of changes to my life. I was with Mitch now, a Marine stationed at the 8th and I Barracks in DC. I had met him in Georgetown at a bar called “Annie’s” and although together less than a year, we got engaged a year to the date we met. We were both 20 when we got married.
Yeah, I was an idiot.
I know part of me was nervous about getting married and becoming a grown-up. The main reason I was getting married was to get out of my parents’ house. Why didn’t I just get my own place, you ask? Well, Marybeth and I had planned on getting an apartment together, but then she met the guy she was going to marry and moved to Florida to join the circus with him.
She joined the actual Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. Her husband was an elephant trainer from Wild World. I talked to a clown on the phone once when she called me. It was a little surreal.
So, before my marriage and the disintegration thereof, Mitch and I had a lot of good times. We went to parties, hung out in Georgetown, I went to a lot of his Marine Corps parades. The summer of 1986 was a great time.
Being so young, we didn’t get that we should be saving our money up for married life. We didn’t care. We went out to dinner all the time, stayed at the beach overnight, and went to movies a lot. I regretted this later on, but at the time we were in love and having a great time.
One night we went out with our friends Bill and Lisa. Bill was also a Marine, and Lisa was his fiancé – but she was even younger than Mitch and I. She was only about 17 or 18, and they had been together since they were kids. I often wonder whatever happened to them; we lost track of them after Bill got out of the Marines and they moved back home to Indiana.
So that night, we went to Fuddrucker’s that night, splurging on burgers, fries and buckets of beer. Just to be clear, the buckets were filled with ice and bottles of beer, not with the beer itself. We laughed ourselves silly, trading secrets about each other and ragging on some of the other Marines we knew and some of our coworkers (Lisa and I worked together at the time).
Then we headed over to see Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I know we had been drinking beer before the movie, but nonetheless, that movie was (and still is) hysterical. I had been out of high school for three years by that time, but I could still relate to wanting to skip school on a beautiful day, and I was still young enough that the high school setting and situations appealed to me.
Matthew Broderick played the role of Ferris perfectly, and I loved the principal (Jeffrey Jones). However, my favorite character was Cameron (Alan Ruck), who went along with whatever Ferris did, but was worried about getting into trouble. I was a bit of a wild child, but it was always in the back of my mind that I could get myself into big trouble.
My favorite part of the movie was the parade scene, where Ferris gets up on a float and lip-syncs to The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout.” I am a HUGE Beatles freak, so that was a lot of fun to watch. If I’d had a little more beer, I may have gotten up and danced in the aisle!
At the end of the movie, when Sloane (Mia Sara), Ferris’s girlfriend, exclaimed “He’s going to marry me!” after Ferris quickly left her to get home before his parents did, I got a bit of a thrill since I was getting married a few weeks later. Sloane and I – foolish girls! Ferris was cool, but I think he would’ve driven me crazy as a boyfriend, always looking for a way to get out of responsibility.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off still holds up well. My kids like it too, and I can still watch it whenever it comes on TV. There was nothing really topical in it; even the parade music was oldies music. The Beatles will never go out of style, of course, but Wayne Newton? Please!
Although the marriage didn’t last, I will always associate Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with that night, hanging out with friends and my fiancé, just before the reality and responsibility of young marriage would hit me right between the eyes a few months later.
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