Trust me when I say it's been a day or, ahem, a decade or so since I personally attended primary school. But the time that has elapsed since those glorious days roaming the halls of Holly Hill Academy have led to the realization that there were many things about school in the '90s that were actually pretty weird. Was it a fun time? The best! Back then, we were so carefree and unfettered by modern concerns that didn't seem relevant at the time. Still, as wonderful as those days were, the added perspective of time past allows us to see our early educational experiences in a different light.
I suspect that the reason school in the '90s was weird in myriad ways largely had to do with the times themselves. I mean, as much as we all love and can't help waxing nostalgia over the decade, ya gotta admit, it was quirky. The fads, the fashion, the entertainment — everything kind of marched to the beat of its own drum. Because we lacked the technology and the research studies that have evolved in the time since, we didn't realize then so much of the stuff we adored would later be deemed at totally bizarre and, at times, possibly even dangerous. Ha! Who knew? Time flies when you're having fun in a blur of strange behavior.
So pop in an old Spice Girls CD and join me in reminiscing about a few of the weird things about school in the '90s.
1. Field Day
While it's quite possible kids today still enjoy Field Day, I suspect it looks very little like the Field Days of yore. In the '90s, no one blinked twice about squatting in a circle and sitting on each other's laps until our little legs noodled. Other wacky ways we competed on this hallowed day included shaving balloons. Whose bright idea was that? Having said all of that, by god, this was the best day of the school year.
2. Trapper Keeper Commercials
Everyone who was anyone carried a Trapper Keeper at school in the '90s but, looking back, the commercials convincing us to buy these were comically suggestive — like, in a "my Trapper Keeper brings all the boys to the yard" kind of way. For the record, I don't recall any magical moments when my crush and I sparked whilst I explained the merits of this glorified binder system.
3. Computer Lab
At the time, technology was so new it was a big deal we even had computer lab. Perhaps that's why they seem so weird nowadays — no one really knew what to do whilst in there. To this day, the only things I remember learning in computer lab during the '90s are how to ford the river in Oregon Trail, the definition of a dugong for the word search game, and how to type fast enough in that one Mavis Beacon game not to have bugs splatter the windshield of your imaginary speeding car. See also: the '90s computers in general.
4. Two Words: Lisa Frank
Kids are still buying this stuff like there's no tomorrow, but '90s kids elevated the obsession with Lisa Frank to an art form. Back-to-school shopping would never have been complete without a folder adorned with a fluorescent yellow kitten chasing stars over a sparkly rainbow. There was probably a unicorn somewhere in there, too. This line of hyper-bright and slightly psychadelic school supplies is weird on its own, but our Lisa Frank hero worship was just plain puzzling.
5. Art Class Adhesives (And What We Actually Used Them For)
At some point in our early formative school years, glue sticks were phased out in favor of Elmer's liquid glue and rubber cement. And while I'm not arguing the effectiveness of either, we did not use them for their intended purpose. Rather, we would slather them all over our hands, let them dry, and then slowly peel them off gleefully like dangling flaps of skin. Um, so, yeah.
6. May 1
Little girls weaving alternating colored streamers around a flag pole only seemed slightly odd when we were bobbing up and down around each other during the classic '90s May Day celebration, but looking back ... it's super weird. Particularly when you consider that May Day is actually a pagan holiday celebrating springtime and fertility.