My name is Lisa, and I’m a bonafide valley girl.
Even today at 50 years old, all I have to do is open my mouth, and the “OMG’S, Eeww’s, and Gnarly mixed with a Totally Awesome spew out of my mouth as naturally as all the lip fillers this side of the 405.
Growing up in the Valley through the early ’70s and throughout the ’80’s Summer was the most fun, From riding the go-carts at Meadow Oaks Camp to memorable sleepovers at Camp Kinneret. But the summer of 1984 stands out the most.
Beach days were always first on the itinerary. I remember the 45-minute car rides in my mom’s dented Datsun, all of us packed in like sardines, the hot valley air mixed with exhaust from the 101 filling our lungs. My sister and I arguing over the radio channels, but KROQ and Poorman would always prevail as we eagerly entered Zuma Beach. Our beach days became the norm all season long.
My sister Teri was habitually in charge of the boombox, God help you if you stopped or rewound the cassette or she’d pinch you with her lobster feet. Then there was mom and her bestie devouring their liver pate in matching bikinis from Bullocks Wilshire while reading the latest Danielle Steel. When we were exhausted from riding the waves, and walking miles back to our towels, from the Malibu current, all fried and burned, we’d either stop and Gary’s Market for steaks to BBQ, or go straight to The Sagebrush Cantina and watch our tipsy mothers flirt with the biker dudes. Ewww, so grody.
Being a 14-year-old and growing up-valley, it was imperative to shop until you dropped. After school, we would take the RTD from Parkman Junior High and meet up at Topanga Plaza. We’d spend hours racking up my dad’s credit cards at Contempo, Judy’s, and my favorite shoe store Sascha Of London. I can still see those white mini leather boots that Stefani’s mom bought her for Jennifer’s Bats Mitzvah. Oh, how I wanted those boots!! I wonder if she still has them?
After spending what would have been my college tuition on shoes, Obsession perfume, Lip Smackers, and sweatshirts, that we would eventually tear apart with kitchen scissors so we could channel our inner Jennifer Beals, we’d finish the day and head over to Moby Disc to see if they received any imported vinyl from overseas. There was no way I was leaving until I had my 45 B side from the Rio album.
My weekends were a blast as well. I spent most Friday and Saturday nights at an underage nightclub in Canoga Park called Phases. Every Friday night, my mom would drop me and a slew of overly made-up girlfriends at this trendy club. Our hair was always lacquered with at least 20 cans of Aquanet between us, and our signature beauty marks impersonating our inner Madonna, Sheila E, or Vanity 6. Yet, somehow I always resembled George Michael with boobs.
Once inside, after we scanned the room for Dave Gohan look a like, we’d jump on the dance floor and do what we do best., We’d dance all night to Dead Or Alive, Heaven 17, and our summer favorite, Sheena Easton’s “Sugar Walls,” puffing away on clove cigarettes that we’d always have to bum from the slightly older kids. When our dance workout was over, we’d all collaborate in the girls’ bathroom because so and so was caught kissing Brian by the pool table. The gossip was legendary!
Hours later, and the Purple Rain album sending us off in the dry summer air, our hair still unbelievably intact, we’d all head down to Dupars in Encino, which was quite a distance from the club, and stuff our faces with pies, fries, and endless refills of coffee, reminiscing about our Tubular night and hoping next time I’d be the lucky girl kissing Brian by the Pool table.