I spent 23 years in the Midwest, and despite what you may think, there's a lot more to it than cornfields and saying "pop" versus "soda." (Don't even get me started.) There are certain things all '90s kids from the Midwest remember — the landmarks of our youth, the most memorable parts of our adolescence. I'm not sure what kids in other parts of the country were doing, but I can certainly remember weekend trips to the mall and lunch at Olga's Kitchen, praying for an ice storm so school would be canceled, and then cursing the weather gods the next day when our boogers froze on our face. (For real.) Summertime meant catching fireflies in Mason jars while playing in the backyard at night, the constant humidity gave you a 24-hour all-natural perm, and winter was always the longest season. That was life in the Midwest, and it was superb.
There are a few things in particular that stick out from my Midwest memories of the '90s, and I know others can relate. From our favorite weekend destinations to our preferred flavor of ice cream, nothing was quite like growing up in the good ol' Midwest. Not to bash my current Las Vegas home, but, well... you know what they say about taking the hometown out of the girl.
1. Superman Ice Cream
You never ordered it for the flavor. You ordered it because of the magical swirling of vibrant colors. It could've tasted like a foot and you would've ordered it regardless. And you could always tell when a kid had just eaten Superman ice cream, because their mouth would be stained blue.
2. Tornado Drills In School
This had to be one of the most horrifying experiences of our childhoods. You'd be sitting in class and out of nowhere, that terrifying siren would go off and scare the absolute crap out of you. You'd all have to run to the coat room, get down on the ground, and curl up in a ball with your hands protecting your head. I still have nightmares about this, and yet... I've never experienced a single tornado. (Knock on wood.)
3. Snow Days For The Win!
Living in Las Vegas now, if we so much as see a single snowflake, the world stops spinning. But back in good ol' Michigan, there were snow days a-plenty in elementary school. It was the most suspenseful moment ever — watching the news the night before as the snow was pounding down, holding your breath and waiting for your district's name to scroll across the screen. And when it did, you'd cheer. Your parents would cry. You'd begin planning the following day's activities. Score!
4. Cedar Point Adventures
As a Michigander, there was only one viable reason to travel to Ohio: Cedar Point. Most of your time was spent waiting in lines, and everything was ridiculously overpriced. It made no difference, though — because as you shot through the air on your favorite roller coaster (mine was the Raptor), praying you didn't puke up the slushie you just drank, life was good.
5. U.S. Blades As The Ultimate Hangout
I'm going to cry if any of you know what the heck I'm talking about. U.S. Blades was Michigan-specific, and it was the place to be seen. Rollerblading, arcade games, prizes, crappy pizza, neon lights, fog machines... This place was seriously happening. Think of a Vegas nightclub for kids, only dirtier. Maybe.
6. Caribou Coffee
It's not that I have anything against other coffee chains, but Caribou Coffee's beverages and snacks were to die for. It also had that small town, neighborhoody feel, like you were all friends.
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