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s-a-t-u-r-d-a-y night
what ever happened to it?
by robert a. melos

The year was 1981, I was 18 (do your own math), a senior in Spotswood High School, and it was Saturday night. If I could've had my way, it would've always been Saturday night. You see, back in the day, Saturday night was party night. I suppose it still is, but now I'm an old boring stay at home type. Ah, but back when I was a teenager Saturday night was the night to go out. All the cool kids did it.

As a teenager going out meant hanging out at one of my friends houses. Preferably one with parents who were:

A) Divorced.
B) Not home.
C) Oblivious to teenagers.

Among my friends, parents like this were not hard to find. My gang, although not a gang in the sense of the Bloods and the Crypts, of the 10 to 12 of us who hung together because for teenagers there's always safety in numbers, usually gathered at my friend Rich's house. Rich had the perfect parents who met two of the three criteria, and sometimes all three, and he had the perfect house, meaning it was centrally located for all of us plus his basement was converted to his bedroom from a family room equipped with a bar.

I should mention, for all you younger folks out there, in 1981 New Jersey the legal drinking age was 18. So our little group of aimless teenagers would gather at his house around 8 o'clock PM, to decide what we were going to do for the evening's entertainment.

I can't say we were slackers, I being the most slacker-like among my friends, because some of us did have jobs, sort of, if you counted mall Santa and Santa's Helpers and mall Easter Bunny and Bunny Helpers as work. Sure it was seasonal, but we had more important goals in life than slaving away for the man. Our goals were to make every day Saturday night. Every day was supposed to be a party, life was going to be fun, and we were going to do everything in our power to make it fun.

Now the definition of fun varied as much as the personalities of the people with whom I hung. The average Saturday night resulted in us gathering together and deciding what movie to see, or what restaurant to turn into our own personal party station. Our choices back then were The Ground Round, which served pitchers of most mixed drinks (always a plus), Chi Chi's, which had a late night happy hour consisting of free dip and chips, and hot wings, and Stuff Yer Face, known for these wrapped concoctions of tomato sauce, cheese, and meat, called bolis. They were also known for these fantastic 32 ounce drinks consisting of just about anything you wanted.

As far as movies went, we were lucky enough to live near a place called Movie City, which until 1984 charged two dollars for all showings. They didn't serve alcohol, but we didn't care as long as we got together and did what I imagine all teenagers did. We gathered and complained about our parents, our lives, school, teachers, boyfriends and girlfriends (for those of us who had them), and talked about what we were going to do with our lives.

Well a lot of time has passed since those blissfully naive Saturday nights, when we would drink and plan our lives, and talk about changing the world. The world changed all on it's own, without the help of some of us, and our lives all took on different directions than we had intended, and the memories of those Saturday nights have all but faded.

Yet on present Saturday nights, every now and again, I will wax nostalgic for the simplicity of those days, and wonder if the world can ever be that simple again.


Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

more about robert a. melos


rethinking old patterns
by robert a. melos
topic: general
published: 3.24.02

suburban summer
summer just outside of the city
by robert a. melos
topic: general
published: 6.26.03


daniel castro
10.29.02 @ 5:49p

You were lucky, even back then. My mom is a dictator who won't even let me go watch a fucking movie alll by myself.

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