We moved house 18 months ago. In the process of sorting out ‘stuff,’ I came across my 1980s teenage diaries.
[Reading time: 8 minutes]
I couldn’t even remember the last time I read them. I’d written a diary on and off between 1985 and 1990, so that covered me between the ages of 12½ and 18… pretty much my entire teenage years.
Basically anyone who’s read back on their childhood diaries as an adult will know JUST what a cringe-fest they can be. Some days you remember as clear as a bell – as if no time has passed at all – and other days you have no recollection of whatsoever.
I thought I’d share some of the more hilarious extracts from my teenage diaries here for your amusement… even if you were a teenager in a different decade I’m sure you can still relate to many of the sort of things I wrote about.
What I wrote about in my teenage diaries
What I’ve realised is that my life revolved mostly around tidying my room, homework, washing my hair, going to parties and the cinema. I mention nearly all of those things at least once or twice a week.
During some of the years I wrote my list of celebrity “hunks” every week (my obsession with Rob Lowe will not go unnoticed) on the same day that the new Top 40 chart came out, and I wrote down all the no.1s. Now that’s what you call dedication to music (oh, and hunks).
There was also a lot of watching TV, like Dallas, Dynasty, Grange Hill and TOTP (Top of the Pops).
Some of the language I used is so cringey and uncool (by today’s standards). I can’t believe I actually said things like “I need a really happening outfit” and “it was so wacky”. Plus I guess where today’s teens would text/type with emojis all over the place, I ended many sentences and entries with “Ha! Ha! Ha!” at the end.
And of course, there were countless entries about boys as well as celebrities. Boys I fancied, boys I hated, boys I thought were ‘wankers'(!!). As you can imagine, I was pretty fickle – I ‘loved’ them one week and ‘hated’ them the next.
You’ll notice I have blurred out the odd word or name and maybe chopped off a bit of a page. This is purely to protect people’s full names or not reveal something extra personal (like obvious locations or people that shouldn’t be mentioned for various reasons). Other than that you can see the pages in all their tacky 1980s glory.
A few people and things to name-check to put some of it into context:
Jo (my school BFF)
Vickie (one of my sisters, older by 10 years)
Rob (my brother, older by 12 years)
Joan & Len (my aunt and uncle)
Just 17 (the teenage magazine I read religiously).
I’ve also typed out the entries under the image as some are a bit hard to read (and to be inclusive). Often my handwriting was scruffy or I’d written down the day’s events roughly in pencil (so I wouldn’t forget) before writing it up in pen the next day. There are huge chunks of some years missing; I sometimes wrote for the whole year or I sometimes stopped writing about April time. (I’m sure that’s a common theme for teenage diaries!)
Hope you find these as funny/cringe-worthy as I did, and I’m sure many of you from the same era can relate. I’m just thankful that Rob Lowe – 35 years later – would still be very much near the top of my 2020 list of “celebrity hunks” 😉
Can you relate to any of these 1980s things? Did you write teenage diaries – and have you kept them? Tell me in the comments!
P.S. If you want to see some teenage pictures of me, just check out this very old post about my style through the years…
P.P.S. Contrary to what the photo of my 1986 diary might show you, I have never been seriously called “Caffy” (and definitely not Cathy). Caffy was the nickname my dad called me as he knew I hated my name being abbreviated… I’m most definitely Catherine, nothing else!
1985 (aged 12-13)
Tuesday 8th January 1985
Didn’t wear boots. Sent off 4 the Just 17 sweatshirt. Posted letter. Snowed all day. Missed Maths. Everyone’s got their hair permed except me!!! It’s not fair, I hate my hair.
Wednesday 27th March 1985
Watched ‘Dallas’ today. I thought it was v. boring. Looks like JR’s gonna split up with Sue Ellen.
Saturday 15th June 1985
Jo came round for the weekend. We went to the cinema to see ‘The Breakfast Club’. It was a 15, and we got in so easily! I’m still 12! It was brilliant. Want to see it again.
Went to Vickie’s for dinner + to stay the night. Went to Joan + Len’s & saw ‘Romancing the Stone’ on the video. That was excellent as well. Stayed at Vickie’s house + went to bed completely knackered.
Thursday 19th December 1985
Last Day; hooray!
Finished school & went to pictures with Clare, Julie, Isabel & Sally. Met nearly everybody (including Vicky PM, ‘KW’ & Andy) there that I knew. Saw ‘Back to the Future’. Words can’t describe it. It was the best film I’ve ever seen. Michael J. Fox may be 24, 5’4″ and American, but he is absolutely
1986 (aged 13-14)
Tuesday 7th January 1986
School, school, school. Boring!
Here is my list of most gorgeous blokes in the world: –
1. Emilio Estevez
2. Michael J Fox
3. Judd Nelson
4. Rob Lowe
5. Morten Harket
There was the most gorgeous picture of Emilio in Just 17! It is absolutely scrumptious! There was also a picture of Michael J Fox (umm!), Rob Lowe, & Matt Dillon. How brilliant can you get?
No 1: The Pet Shop Boys, West End Girls.
Wednesday 5th February 1986
I have suddenly changed my mind about yesterday’s hunks:
1. Rob Lowe* (yes!)
2. Emilio Estevez
3. Scott Baio
4. Ricky Simmonds [he was in Grange Hill]
5. Judd Nelson
6. Michael J Fox
* Yes! Would you believe it! Rob Lowe is now ‘the most gorgeous thing on this earth’! There was a gorgeous picture of him in Just 17! He had glasses on! Even Jo liked it! I’m in love again, everybody!!!
Watched The Colbys. It was uuggghh…!
It started to snow this evening; it was quite heavy. I hope it settles.
Friday 11th April 1986
I decided today that I want to be famous. Doing what? I don’t know… Modelling? (Nope, I’d have to change my head). Pop star? (Can’t sing, & I’d have to have a nose job). Marry a prince? (None my age). Oh well. I’d still love to be famous.
Mum went to Vickie’s house & brought her back here. I curled my hair again. Watched Dynasty. Krystal Tits escaped! (Sort of). At long last!
Mum, Dad & I went to see Out of Africa this evening but it was full! So we came back, bought lots of sweets & slept.
Tuesday 2nd September 1986
Jo & I went into town to see the film Pretty in Pink at the ABC in Reading. It was brilliant! Really funny – though not quite as funny as The Breakfast Club or as good as St. Elmo’s Fire but it was still really good.
We rushed home.
Had dinner & watched several TV programmes.
Went to bed. London tomorrow!
Wednesday 24th September 1986
Andy didn’t ring.
In fact I waited all night for his call. He still didn’t.
Great big piece of poo.
Watched Film ’86 (secretly upstairs in my bedroom when I was supposed to be in bed). Rob Lowe was in it! Yes! And he was interviewed! He was gorgeous. Yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy. OOOOh! Must go and see the film, About Last Night. But it’s an 18. Do you think I’d get in? I do. Hope.
Friday 10th October 1986
Hooray! At last! Yipee! Had my hair cut. I’m really pleased with it – it’s one length (at last) and really short with these spiky bits at the front. I love it. Dead chuffed.
Jo’s party tomorrow.
Friday 7th November 1986
Sally brought her ‘Top Gun’ album to school. I looked at it and recognised someone on the back. She said it was, “Someone called Val Kilmer”. I couldn’t believe it! I rushed to over & showed Jo. Now we both want to see ‘Top Gun’. It’s so funny. Jo is madly in love with Nick Rivers [Val Kilmer’s character in ‘Top Secret!’] all over again.
Started revising this evening! I read about two sentences of Scripture.
Wednesday 26th November 1986
I went to the library to get some books on pop art today. Got some really heavy books. Very interesting, they are too.
After school Jo & I went to her house.
Did our homework.
Went to town to see the film (at long last).
It was brilliant! Tom Cruise is alright but Nick Rivers from ‘Top Secret’ was in it & he’s gorgeous! The flying sequences were excellent. Rob would love it. Kelly McGillis, who was ‘the girl’ makes me sick ‘coz she’s so pretty.
Tony took me home (at a v. late time) and I plonked straight into bed asleep.
Monday 15th December 1986
Mrs Howes was away again today. This time Miss Paar sat with us. This lesson was a complete contradiction to the one with Miss Edwards. Miss Paar let us talk & do anything while she slept. Ha! Ha! Ha! Quite a good lesson ak-chew-wellie.
Watched North & South again. I’m hooked; most definitely hooked. I also rather like Patrick Swayze, who’s in it. Apparently he’s also in Youngblood with Rob Lowe. Now I can’t wait for it to be on video.
Tuesday 16th December 1986
Jenny explained the story of North & South to me today. It’s all clear now.
Mrs Brookland was away today! Hooray! We had to do some work, but then messed about. We’ve had our last German lesson till 1987. Yippeee!
A-ha concert! Jo came home with me & we went to London. It was absolutely fantastic. The support band was excellent. The atmosphere was electric – it’s the only way I can describe it. We were really near the front, & Morten is as gorgeous in real life. A night I’ll never forget.
1. Rob Lowe
2. Emilio Estevez
3. Ralph Macchio
4. Judd Nelson
5. Patrick Swayze
No 1: The Housemartins, Caravan of Love.
And so they should be. (no. 1, I mean.)
1987 (aged 14-15)
Tuesday 6th January 1987
Today I’ve finally worked out what my New Year’s Resolution is going to be. It is:
To eat & keep healthy by eating all the right foods and excercising every day.
(I know I can’t spell exercising but I don’t care.) I started by doing ½hr of strenuous leg exercises.
Sorry, I know I’ve got to talk about the first day at school, but I had to slip [in] my resolution coz I was just a teeny bit excited about it. Ma took us all the way to school & I got there really early but not early enough to choose my desk. I swopped places about 5 times. I like it where I am now, though. Apart from that it was just another really ordinary school day.
My first list of 1987:
1. Scott Baio
2. Emilio Estevez
3. Rob Lowe
4. Patrick Swayze
5. Paul McGann
I am madly in love with S. Baio. Totally besotted. ♡♡♡♡
No. 1: Jackie Wilson, Reet Petite.
Saturday 31st January 1987
Dad & I went to the video shop coz there was nuttin’ on TV. We came home with Witness – something I’ve wanted to see for simply yonks. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it was still pretty good.
Went to bed drooling over Harrison Ford. Tomorrow I will no doubtedly get every single picture I can find of him out from the depths of my pictures bag.
[I have absolutely no idea what a ‘pictures bag’ was…]
Wednesday 25th March 1987
German – she didn’t give us any of the vocab we needed! Silly old cow. Well, that is the only way to describe her! But it wasn’t too difficult.
English – I only just had time to read my Silas Marner in lunchtime while we watched form hockey. We lost – never mind; though we did get through to the semi finals. Anyway the English exam was OK, but I hate English exams so it was awful.
It was really sunny when I got home so I crashed out on my bed & I actually went to sleep until dinner time! I was so tired. It was probably coz of the sun. I thought about River Phoenix all the time. Oh – I haven’t said who he is! Well he’s in the film Stand By Me (& in the video to the song) and also Mosquito Coast with Harrison Ford. This River person is probably only about 16 but I am desperately in lurve. I can’t wait to see either of those films.
Jo gave me a ring to say that Soul Man ends at the cinema tomorrow! So we have arranged to go. Phew – was that close or was that close?
1988 (aged 15-16)
Thursday 21st January 1988
DREAMED ABOUT RIVER PHOENIX LAST NIGHT
Day rating: 7
I had this strange dream about River Phoenix last night. I was watching a nature programme about the jungle & his family appeared! I rushed around for a tape to video it but I couldn’t get one. Anyway there was this bit where he walking [sic] along the road with his brother& they were both all dirty – like they were at the end of Mosquito Coast – and all of a sudden River turned round to his brother and said: “Look what’s the matter with you – do you want me to get married for you?” And I don’t remember any more. There must be some significance to that. I wrote a note to Jo & asked her wot she thought it meant & she said: “I think it shows a very sad & disturbed mind”. And in the middle of French I just cracked up.
Vickie picked me up from school & we came home (Ma was out) and watched some of Breakfast at Tiffany’s I recorded on Monday. It’s good so far.
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