Posted on February 25, 2018

Bath and Body Works Was Everything. (And Other Random Thoughts from the Class of ‘98)

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20 years old, wiser and still smelling like Bath and Body Works on occasion… 

The late 90s saw my high school years and today it hit me that I graduated a whopping 20 years ago. Think about that. 20 years since the awkward confusing adolescent cesspool that was high school. Now don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed many aspects of high school. Would I necessarily jump at the chance to go back? Probably not. LOL But it had some enjoyable moments.

Seaspray was one of the earliest scents that Bath and Body Works offered. Right along other top BB&W scents like Freesia, Country Apple and Sun Ripened Raspberry, Seaspray was a classic mid 90s scent for teen gals such as myself. I purchased a bottle of the Seaspray body spray and, upon realizing that the scent had been discontinued, use it sparingly for the next 5 or so years.

About 3 years ago, Bath and Body works brought Seaspray out of retirement for a limited time, and I went a little nuts… and ordered a small case of the body spray and shower gel. I guess I figured that I needed to get enough to last until the next time BB&W released it.

This morning I cracked open a new Seaspray shower gel to use in the shower. It has been a year or two since using the last one up. As the soap suds filled my senses, the smell transported me back to high school instantaneously. The joy, the angst, the youth, the memories were all steeped within the suds of my Seaspray body wash. It’s incredible how powerful smells can be and how they bring a flood of memories back whether you’re ready or not.

Bath and Body Works Seaspray Shower Gel

20 years ago was 1998. I was a senior in high school. I was ready to get out in the world and do great things, even though I had no idea where to start or how. Bill Clinton was president, the final Seinfeld episode aired and grunge music was all the rage.

Completely random things you might remember if you graduated from high school in the late 1990s…

Most Friday nights were spent hanging at the mall or movies… unless you decided to rent a VHS movie from Blockbuster (if you could get your parents’ card) and watch it with friends.

Pearl Jam, Metallica, Green Day, Nirvana, Soundgarden, No Doubt and Smashing Pumpkins CDs all had a permanent spot in your music rotation.

You didn’t just see Titanic in the theater once… you saw it several times. “My Heart Will Go On” might have even been your prom theme song.

Gym class uniforms typically featured Umbro shorts, Adidas Sambas and shirt brands like Champion.

90210 was one of the best, most riveting dramas on tv at the time.  Dawson’s Creek was a close 2nd.

You had a pager that your parents finally got for you after convincing them that wanting one had nothing to do with dealing drugs. Bonus point if you used code 143 and remember what it means.

The expensive TI-82 calculator that the school required doubled as a prehistoric handheld gaming device.

Your Jansport backpack definitely contained a Mead Five Star Portfolio that held all of your folders and assignments and college ruled filler paper.

The most important thing about lunch was not the menu but which of your friends had the same lunch period.

Oakley sunglasses and windbreakers defined a certain level of cool.

Starter jackets were the best way to show off your favorite team… or if you hated sports you could just choose your favorite color combo.

Right next to your Bath and Body Works products were Noxema, Oxy Pads, Herbal Essences shampoo and Teen Spirit deodorant.

The first night of school consisted of spending hours covering every text book with a brown bag cover.

When you finally did get your first cellphone it was a Nokia model that was serviced by Tracfone.

School dances smelled like a combo of Tommy Girl, CK One, Vanilla Fields, Drakkar Noir and Cool Water.

Hot Topic was the best store for buying Rainbow Brite and Strawberry Shortcake tees, plus the super cool patches you’d sew or pin to your Jansport backpack.

PacSun was the spot for buying Billabong and Quiksilver shirts, along with a new pair of JNCO Jeans.

No Fear shirts were totally in style and looked great with your stonewashed jeans… Coed Naked shirts were popular but many schools didn’t allow them to be worn.

ESPN Jock Jams Volume 1 cranked up the energy at every school pep rally.

If you were lucky enough to be an early adopter of that thing they called “the internet,” you most likely had AOL or Prodigy.  You remember when Yahoo! was the #1 source for finding current events for your Social Studies report.

You had to be careful not to shake or move your Discman while it was in use because it skipped like crazy.

The closest thing to music “on demand” was calling The Box music video channel and paying $2-$4 to request a song… then hoping you had no plans and actually got to hear it when it finally came on.

It became cool again to carry your backpack on both shoulders, which was good because your backpack weighed about 40 pounds.

The Real World was the real deal and everyone hated Puck and loved Pedro.

Hemp necklaces and bracelets – you might have even made your own.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s version of Romeo and Juliet totally made you feel like you “got” Shakespeare (even though you totally didn’t).

You took your CD Stereo Headunit with you after parking your car.  Along with the big binder full of all of your CDs.

Research papers usually required an actual trip to the actual library.

Fellow members of the class of ’98 (or any years surrounding) – what do YOU remember about those high school years and what causes those memories to come flooding back?

For me, high school was the best of times and the worst of times.  It was the most carefree of times and the most dramatic of times.  It was fun and exciting, it was monotonous and boring. It was challenging and it was a breeze.  Would I do it all over again?  Probably not.  Would I do it all over again if I could have the knowledge that I have know?  Maybe.  For now though, I’ll enjoy those thick-yet-fleeting memories that seem to fly out of the Seaspray suds on my loofah.  I’ll close my eyes and remember those years for a few brief moments.  Then one of my kids will probably scream for me, reality will flood back, and in the present I’ll remain.

Until next time, Seaspray.

High School in the 90s

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