Are you crying purple tears tonight?


It’s September 1984 and Grade 10 has begun! I’m over the awkwardness of Grade 9 and now I have found everything I was looking for. My favourite hairspray, the perfect amount of blonde painted into my long swooped bangs, friends that would remain my besties for years to come and music that would penetrate so deeply into my being it would just become a part of me.

Tonight is the first dance of the year and it still feels like summer outside. It’s an hour before the dance and my best friend and I are sewing up skin tight mini skirts on her mother’s Husqvarna.

We carefully selected shiny material from Fabricland to make the skirts.  We’re feeling ultra cool because the skirts will coordinate perfectly with our pastel coloured acrylic sweaters that we picked up at BiWay the week before school started.

Our army bag purses are covered in buttons of our favourite bands. We each have a couple of Clearasil bottles thrown into them which contain white wine. Yup, I siphoned the good stuff earlier that afternoon off my Dad’s giant barrel of Vidal that is fermenting in the basement.

The teachers will never suspect anything at the door!

We decide to walk to the dance because it’s a little too difficult to ride our bikes with these skirts on, besides they might rip if we’re not careful. They only took 20 minutes to make!

As we walk to the dance we list off which boys we have crushes on and get butterflies in our stomachs at the thought of having a slow dance with any of them.

We enter the school and it’s already quite warm inside. Pass the caf and all the older kids are smoking cigarettes with the teachers…oh God, we both just spotted our BIGGEST crushes!

We quickly run downstairs to the girls washroom giggling uncontrollably and choose stalls side by side…we then stand on the toiled seats (just in case a teacher walks in) and crack open our Clearasil bottles, chug those two little 4 oz babies back and we are positively buzzzzing!!!

As we double check our hair and add another layer of Tea Rose lipstick we hear a familiar sound coming from the gym…

“Dearly beloved we are gathered here today to get through this thing called LIFE”

“Aaaaaah” we shriek! “It’s that new Prince song!!” I tug on my best friend’s arm and we race up the stairs into the gym!

Everyone is dancing and the lights are going crazy. My friend and I look at each other and scream “ This is going to be BEST night EVER!”

I honestly remember that moment like it happened yesterday. At the age of 15 I did not pay attention to those lyrics I just loved the way the song made me feel and how it brought everyone to the dance floor. The New Wavers, the Punks, the Stoners and the Jocks! We were all there enjoying the music of a man that would become an icon, an idol and a remembered musical genius.

The coolest Mom ever, yup that would be mine, texted me today with the news of Prince’s passing. I couldn’t believe it. I hoped that maybe it was a hoax and he was going to come back as the artist formerly known as…

We’ve lost so many idols this year. It is a lot for our generation to take in one year.  Many of us are at the age where we are losing family members, friends of family and in some surreal way losing the people we looked up to in our youth also brings on a pain that reminds us that we are not invincible and that life is fragile.

I may not have paid attention to the lyrics of Let’s go crazy back in 1984 but today on April 21, 2016 as I say goodbye to Prince I will listen to the song over and over again and live out the rest of my life with no regrets.

Prince, thank you for your music and thank you for showing us that being different and working our passion is the only way to go, no matter how long we are on this earth.

There will be many purple tears shed tonight.

Monica XO


Chantal (Spud)

You write so well that I pictured everything you wrote and smiled. I started Grade 9 in 1987 and although I only remember a little about the dances (wink wink) you brought back many… especially running from the bathroom screaming when you heard your favourite song… “Let’s Go Crazy” Thank you for the great memories. #RIPPrince

Monica Graves

Thanks so much for your sweet comment. We will always have our memories <3


This read like a living memory….army bag purses covered in doodles and pins and badges et al.
So sad hearing the news today, too many musical talents ended already this year.
No more new songs but so glad to have the music continue.

Monica Graves

Sumati! Thank you so much! I really wanted to take everyone back to Grade 10 with me and it looks like it worked! We sure have lived during the best time! <3


A very sad day. I always liked his music he was truly talented. We are losing so many of the artists that were the soundtracks of our lives 🙁
RIP Prince

BTW – I always carried Jack Daniel’s in a hairspray bottle in my purse! LOL 😉


I loved this article. Apparently you were nowhere near as cool as I thought you were in high school 😉


Such a sweet, relatable high school tale, Monica. It made me smile despite my own sadness tonight at the loss of such an authentic, original and innovative artist. I have been grappling all evening with the exact nature of my own grief and I think it tied to a sense of disbelief that Prince – and all that he represented to me of freedom and creativity and youthful spirit could possibly have lived his lifetime….how can that be?
He was avant-garde and edgy and always seemed to be growing and pushing boundaries, in his style and his political messaging, as well as his music. I feel sad and old now…and “1999” feels, suddenly, like so long ago.

Monica Graves

Linda, thank you for sharing your feelings about this tragic loss. Prince came here when he was meant to, in “our” lifetime. We are not old, we are honoured my friend. Every time I see you, you have that big youthful smile. Probably thanks to all this great music that flows through your veins. 1999 was yesterday just like 1984. Keep those memories close, that’s where they belong <3

Lesley Stewart

Oh Monica…you nailed it. Haha! We did live during the best times in highschool. I started grade 9 in 1987 like Chantal above – tons of memories came flooding back. As a dancer at my studio, we performed to so many of his songs. I will definitely use one for the Ticats Cheerleaders this year in memory (even though none of them were alive when Let’s Go Crazy came out). Lol Oh well!
Well written…thank you.

Monica Graves

Lesley, thank you! Now it’s up to you to teach the Ticat Cheerleaders the legend of Prince! They’re going to LOVE it! XO


Ahhhh once again there is so much of your heart and spirit in your story telling – somehow in sharing yet another sad passing you’ve managed to balance respect, acknowledgment and positivity and, make me smile

Monica Graves

Kim! Thank you so much for this wonderful comment and of course for your help with the purple tears. XO


Great story Monica. We’ve all been in that gymnasium.
Prince and David Bowie made it cool to be yourself – whoever that was. I grew up in Northern Ontario and there was not a lot of room for a grrrl wearing a boa, a tailcoat and black eyeliner in high school. But I persevered. Now when I go home and run in to old pals they say: “oh you were such an original – I was so envious of your style”.
Prince and Bowie were the soundtrack to my misspent youth. They lived their whole lives like it was 1999 and we should too.

Monica Graves

Amen to that Llana! I’d love to see pics of you from those days! You still have that wonderful style! Next time I see you let’s party like it’s 1999. I absolutely love your story and thank you so much for sharing it here! XO

Rachel Couban

Monica, you’ve always had style. That photo of you with the Price hairstyle is great! I still wear the shirt I wore on my first day of grade 10 in 1985 (since I moved to Canada from Florida in 1986, my Summer-weight clothes last for a looooong time!) I’m all about finding a look that works and sticking with it, that’s why I love my glamjulz!! 🙂


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