When: 6:00 PM, 13 October 1998
Where: The TV room
No man is an island, but elementary school is. Whole schoolsdevelop a unique culture, often completely at odds with what you’d expect. At my Don Benito, tattling was not only accepted, but a privilege, while liking Power Rangers was worse than murder. I didn’t like Power Rangers, but even if I did it would be dwarfed by what was to come.
In the fall of 1998 I was really into opera. At least some. Madama Butterfly was a particular favorite for me because my grandma had it on hand; specifically the 1987 Renata Scotto/Placido Domingo version included on this list. I think we did something about operas in school, but 3rd grade is kind of a blur. Mostly because it was exceptionally boring. Sorry Mrs. Gallo. It’s not personal.
I was still on my opera phase when a new, equally dorky craze hit us: cub scouts. In fact, many of my rivals had joined our school’s pack a year earlier and I, at the peak of my obsessive compulsive period, yearned to be a part of that special group. I’m a sucker for uniforms; ask any girl in the Israeli Defense Forces.
I was watching Madama Butterfly again, playing with legos, before my first meeting. My mom cut me off at this song and I had to leave. I never finished watching.
I wasn’t the only new kid. One of them would become a longstanding frenemy before moving away in the 8th grade. Another kid came in very late. He didn’t go to our school; nobody knew him. Short, chubby, very religious. Today he is part of one of the most well-known families in Pasadena.
Either way, I stuck with the scouts, and while this is not a well-known fact, I made it all the way to Eagle. That rank and the qualifications that go with it have not aided my search for employment, though it may have helped me with college admissions. My opera phase was over.
Next: 1999 hits with a vengeance.
Side note: Thus far, I’ve been covering one year every week. Since the number of songs per year are much higher after this point, October will be dedicated to just 1999 and 2000. Starting in November, I’m switching to covering one year every month.