Lisa Jewell
Loungeroom, Clarinda, Melbourne 1982

I might have only been fifteen but I understood the edge of seventeen. Julie Rainer was my best friend in 1982. We did nearly everything together – it helped that we lived across the street from each other. I’m pretty sure Julie slept over at my place every weekend of ‘82; partly because we were besties, but mostly so she could get away from her mum.

Mrs Rainer was a tyrant with a vacuuming fetish. The Rainers had new carpet installed in 1982. The carpet was super thick and it was an icky mushroom colour (I never did get Mrs Rainer’s taste). When I’d go over to their place, Mrs Rainer would make me take my shoes off before even looking at the carpet. Also, there was a No Eating policy on or anywhere the carpet. In fact, there was a No Kid policy on the carpet – kids had a way of messing up Mrs Rainer’s perfect vacuum criss-cross lines. My mum, on the other hand, was cool and had no such attachment to the carpet or the vacuum cleaner.

Julie was only allowed to come over on weekends, as Mrs Rainer wanted her to study and I was a distraction. Not that there was any study going on in her bedroom – there was KISS and dope. They were the only things Julie and I did not share. I hated KISS and dope scared the bejesus out of me.

We both loved Stevie Nicks. I still remember the feeling of carrying the Bella Donna album home under my arm; the feeling was a mix of pride and grownup glee. As soon as I got in, I called Julie. “Get over…makeup any excuse to your mum…I’ve got Bella Donna!”

Julie laughed and asked me a couple of times, was I sure I had belladonna? (The belladonna reference was lost on me in the 1980s). I recall my response had nothing to do with the album title. I was looking at the album cover: “Stevie is holding a cockatoo, she is coming to Australia!”

Julie did come over and the lounge room was never the same again; we did not have to worry about carpet lines. When track six started, Edge of Seventeen, we started to scream and it was not long before we picked up the words. It was our new anthem. The lounge room floor bounced as we threw our bodies into every word.

Just like a one-winged dove
Well, I hear you
in the morning
and I hear you
at nightfall
Just like a one-winged dove

I sang that line for many years, until someone had the heart to tell me it was actually ‘Just like the white winged dove’.

Nothing else mattered that year… except my bestie, Julie, Stevie Nicks belting out a song, saving enough money to get a perm, and Charlie.

But Charlie is really a 1983 story.

 

© Lisa Jewell. Lisa writes at Watermelonsnaps.