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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)

TITLE: Teen Town
By Virginia Lee Bliss


Marylou was in the central plaza of a vast high-ceilinged building. Other teens were shopping, eating, or standing around talking.

Shops lined the plaza on either side. Clothing shops featured the latest teen fashions. TV and radio stores, record shops, and hair stylists abounded.

She went into a five-and-ten. Pancake makeup, hairspray, nail polish, brightly colored headbands and the like occupied five aisles. Two aisles were devoted to candy and snack food. One aisle contained aspirin, band aids, acne medication, feminine hygiene products, and some strange balloon-like rubbery things.

She kept walking.

She was being followed.

Turning around she saw a hunky guy.

“Hiya chick! You’re Marylou!”

“And you’re----?”

“Tony. Doin’ anything tonight?”

“I—have to baby sit.”

“There ain’t no baby sittin’ here. Let’s go to a movie.”

They turned down a walkway to a colossal movie theatre.

Hot Teens was playing tonight. Girls sauntered around the beach in skimpy bikinis, which they soon discarded. Boys pranced around in their birthday suits. The characters mostly just danced or made out, switching partners at intervals.

Marylou turned and saw that all the couples in the movie theatre were making out.

“I’m for a double cheese burger and a chocolate malt,” said Tony.

Stalls sold ice cream, hamburgers, pizza, submarines, pastrami sandwiches, and fudge brownies. Tony and Marylou selected their food and took it to an adjacent common dining area.

Instead of water, Coke or Pepsi flowed freely from drinking fountains. Much better than those stingy six ounce bottles.

“Let’s cut out to the lounge,” said Tony. “You dig?”

The lounge was filled with couples making out.

Every day breakfast, lunch, supper, and evening snacks consisted of jelly doughnuts, milkshakes, pizza, meatball subs, Coke, and potato chips.

When they were not eating they strolled around the various shops buying new clothes, makeup, records, or steamy teen comics. They never worried about money; they bought everything with a small plastic card. Tony bought her a transistor so she could always hold a radio to her ear. Life was one big round of television, movies, shopping, pinochle, and sock hops.

They danced to the Beach Boys, the Four Seasons, the Shirelles, the Ronettes, Dion, the Angels, and Bobby Vinton. Dances were held in an immense gymnasium with highly polished floors.

Everyone was between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. No pesky kid brothers and sisters, no condescending older brothers and sisters, no disapproving parents or teachers. No priests, ministers, or rabbis, so no churches or synagogues.

A few of the boys tried to start a basketball team but with no schools or community centers, organizing games was difficult. Girls dressed up in cheerleaders’ uniforms and practiced a few half-hearted cheers.

Tony showed her the enormous garage that housed shiny new Corvettes, Ford Galaxies, Face1 Vegas, and motorcycles. Car and motorcycle races took place on an indoor track.

Their only other exercise consisted of lolling around the indoor pool and----occasionally----swimming.

Instead of rolling up their skirts under their sweaters the girls just took up the hems. They wore pants and sweaters two sizes too small. They pierced their ears and wore two-inch dangling earrings. No mothers to object.

Boys slopped around in oversized jeans, baggy sweatshirts, hooded jackets, and sneakers or noisy shoes.

Fifties teens displayed some semblance of responsibility. Late sixties teens had a social conscious. But the teens of 1963 lived for no one but themselves.

How do I know that? thought Marylou.

One day she cried, “I’m sick to death of listening to ‘My Boyfriend’s Back’ and eating pizza! I want vegetables!”

A horrified silence.

“You scuzz! Flake off!” She was pelted with candy bars, jumbo rollers, and tubes of lipstick.

She ran as fast as she could, out of that place, screaming, screaming…..

She woke up.

Aarrghgh! What a nightmare!

She glanced at her desk. Her laptop, cell phone, and iPod, were right where they should be. It was 2007, not 1963. Her name was Amber, not Marylou. And her boyfriend was Brandon, not Tony.

Wait a minute! Marylou was Grams’ name. And in 1963 she would have been…..sixteen.

Amber picked up her cell phone. It was 8 a.m. and Grams would be awake.

“Grams? I had the weirdest dream. I dreamt I was you and……….” She told Grams about her dream.

“Amber dear, that’s just what we used to dream of.”

“Well, thank God it never came true.”

“Are you sure it didn’t come true, dear? Take a look around the mall.”


REFERENCE: http://www.cougartown.com/slang.html
A dictionary of early ‘60s slang

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This article has been read 1364 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ruth Scott06/14/07
I really like this story. It gives a very vivd picture. I've also felt that the world is sometimes how you described Teen Town. :o) Noise, comotion, things, fads, you're cool if you do what's "in", & not going w/ the crowd is "out"! :o)
Good story!
Marilyn Schnepp 06/16/07
This is a very unique and creative story - and gave me much food for thought. I like the thought that the "fifties teens were reponsible, or sensible"(hmmm?) But Yes, in these days - I'd hate to be teenager; they have so much-but lack so much more...with both parents working or a single parent family. It's rather sad to think this could be true. Very well written! - with such provocative material. Good Job!
Jan Ackerson 06/18/07
We in the 21st century tend to think that we have a monopoly on self-indulgent, thoughtless teens. Nice twist here.
Joanne Sher 06/18/07
Great detail and sense of place. You put me right in the middle of the action - and I love the twist. Great job.
Dee Yoder 06/18/07
Interesting concept! I think teens would enjoy reading about teens of the fifties and your setting is really creative.
Sherrie Jackson06/21/07
Congratulations on first place!!!! Wooooo! :-)
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/25/07
I think the appeal of this story is the creativity and the message, plus the nice twist at the end. It makes the reader think, "What if we got everything we asked for?" The ones that make you think are winners.
Betty Castleberry06/25/07
Entertaining and makes you think. The "me" thinking of some teens never seems to change. Nicely done.
Joanne Sher 06/25/07
You did an amazing job with atmosphere here. I can't define it, but this felt so authentic and eerie and real and surreal at the same time. I can clearly see why it placed like it did. I have no idea why you didn't get many comments before - did you hint? I know I missed it, and I NEVER miss one of yours! ;)
Julie Arduini06/25/07
Thanks for the link, I too don't know how I missed this great read. It reminded me of Back to the Future, a great comparison to me. You deserve this win, enjoy!
Loren T. Lowery06/26/07
Great way to weave and contrast the past, present and future. As well as a vivid remeinder to be cautious for what we dream, because indeed, just what we dream might come true.
Julie Ruspoli06/27/07
You are an amazing descriptive writer. Well deserving of its placements.