My Nineties Nightmare

Elin Lantz

Once you hit the final decades project for “APUSH” you may assume that your troubles are over, but in many ways they have just begun. Honestly, how can anyone spend 45 minutes demonstrating the basic feel of the 1990s when the entirety of the class grew up during the period?

Well, my group’s adventure began at Party America. We were certain that any decoration could be found there, but as we searched through the shelves of frilly piñatas and unrecognizable party favors, the best we could find were small packages of napkins, celebrating someone’s 90th birthday ($3 each).

We became so desperate, we even went to the counter and inquired if there were any other 90 year celebration supplies, but the only response was that we could buy two balloons including one that said 80 and another that read 10. That was it. We gave up and went to Ragstock.

Here we found odd assortments (butterfly jeans, turquoise spandex, and dresses that had been hanging for so long they were the consistency of cardboard) all under the pleasant background music of screaming, angry men.

We searched for at least an hour in the store, collecting anything that looked remotely 90ish. We tried on a large fraction of the store’s clothes in crazy combinations until even the customer with dreadlocks and a nose piercing was giving us bewildered glances.

When we finally left the store, all we carried was a five dollar denim skirt and weighty wallets. We knew then that it would take many more trips before ever getting close to pleasing the APUSH nun.

With her, everything had to be perfect. Sister Jeanne requested that we plan out every minute of the presentation, practically to the point of recording the pace at which the students should chew their pop rocks. We had to choose our basic topics to cover during the presentation, then subtopics, and then subtopics to those subtopics until we were supposed to have twelve subjects under “technology” (fascinating stuff to cover over three-quarters of an hour).

The other groups included several “educational” activities and played Twister during class and gave a dancing lesson on how to “disco.” It is amusing to watch a room full of history nerds attempt to act cool and coordinated while executing thirty-year-old moves. Perhaps this is why Sister Jeanne enjoys these projects so much.