Each week, GotYA asks readers to take to the blogosphere to blog about a flashback question. This week: Songs That Stayed With Us/Songs that Take Us Back (otherwise known as the week I don flannel and combat boots).

April – 9th Grade

Two seats ahead of me and one row over, Bob raises his hand.

I glance up from the spirals that I’m drawing on the cover of my notebook. Bob is stocky with blond hair and grey eyes. He’ll speak to his friends—even to me, sometimes—but he never puts his hand up in class.

Mr. D stops mid-sentence. “Yes, Bob?”

Bob slides out of his desk and stands, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. “I was wondering if we could have a moment of silence.”

Except for the shuffle of sneakers on linoleum and the soft exhales of breath, the class is completely silent. “For Kurt Cobain,” Bob adds. From two seats back, I can see the red blush creep across the back of his neck, but he doesn’t sit back down.

September – 10th Grade

Jess slams her locker with uncharacteristic force. “It’s a TRIBUTE, Kath.”

I try not to roll my eyes as I adjust the strap of my backpack. “I get that,” I say, “really I do…” I take in the commemorative t-shirt with Kurt Cobain’s face on the front and the dates of his birth and death on the back. The t-shirts spread almost as quickly as the news—not counting a few weeks for mass production. Now they’re everywhere.

It seems creepy to me—to wear a dead man’s face over your chest—but I don’t say that. If I do, Jess will probably say she was carrying Kurt’s memory over her heart and I’m only so good at keeping a straight face.

“Alright,” I concede. “It’s a tribute. But do you have to wear it three times a week?”

December – 10th Grade

In theory, a video dance party sounded good. Reality? Not so much.

The VJ is taking the word “dance” as the gospel truth and has played nothing but dance songs and the occasional round of “November Rain” by Guns N Roses. Why do they always play “November Rain” at dances when “Don’t Cry” is a far superior ballad and so much shorter? “November Rain” has got to be more than seven minutes and seven minutes is an eternity when you have sweaty palms and you wonder if your deodorant is getting the job done.

I watch Marc go up to the VJ. The guys are persistent, I’ll give them that. They’ve been up there at the end of every song and the VJ keeps turning them away. It’s like the adults are scared about what will happen if they give in, like they expect us to riot or commit mass suicide like those people in South America with the Kool-Aid.

Finally, with ten minutes left to go and people already leaving, the VJ caves in. He doesn’t play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or “Lithium” he goes for a safer choice.

I wish I could tell you that I remember what video he played. I don’t. All I remember is a wave of students walking over to the screen and standing completely silent for just over four minutes.

Wee little footnote:

Even though Nirvana is the band that reminds me the most of high school, I didn’t listen to them as much then as I later would.

The albums below are actually the ones which took the most turns in my discman.

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