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1983: Students Release Balloons with Messages

I’m gonna live my life
Like every day’s the last
Without a simple goodbye
It all goes by so fast…
The Williams Brothers, 1991

Twice during my childhood, I released balloons with messages. My classmates and I wrote messages on small pieces of paper and tied them to balloons before releasing them to the heavens. Unfortunately, I can’t remember exactly what I wrote, but I recall believing my message would change someone’s life. I think it must have been a prayer.

Oh, the faith of children.

Students line up in a single file before they head outside to release balloons with messages. | Boston Suburb, 1983

Students line up in a single file before they head outside to release balloons with messages. | Boston Suburb, 1983

School kids hold onto their balloons in preparation for a launch of special messages.

School kids hold onto their balloons in preparation for the launch of special messages. | Boston Suburb, 1983

School children in Massachusetts prepare to release balloon messages, fall 1983.

School children in Massachusetts prepare to release balloon messages, fall 1983.

For years I wondered who received my magical, spiritual balloon. I was sad to let it go, but more than keeping it I wanted my message to change the world. I was hopeful like that. Always so very hopeful as a child. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized my balloon probably ended up tangled in a tree or trapped by a gutter guard. I imagined dear balloon hanging on for dear life while my message washed away in the rain.

Boys watch their balloon messages float away.

Boys watch their balloon messages float away.

And there it goes | Up in the sky | There it goes | Beyond the clouds | For no reason why...(Can't Cry Hard Enough, Bellefire)

A boy looks up at the sky after releasing a balloon with a message, 1983-84.

Eventually, in middle age, I realized that no prayer is ever washed away or forgotten. God holds them all in His hands, treasuring our fractured missives, our tentative hopes, our trepid beliefs.

Balloons fill the sky after a planned release, 1983

Balloons fill the sky after a planned release, 1983

I’m gonna live my life
Like every day’s the last
Without a simple goodbye
It all goes by so fast…

Students look up in the sky after they release balloons with messages.

Message Balloons | Beautiful Hope | Beautiful Prayers

…Gonna open my eyes
And see for the first time
I let go of you like
A child letting go of his kite

And there it goes
Up in the sky
There it goes
Beyond the clouds
For no reason why…

Middle Schoolers prepare to release balloons, 1986

Middle Schoolers prepare to release balloons in a field outside their school located in a Boston suburb, 1986.

Balloon Release 1985-86

Balloon Release 1985-86 | Your tube socks and matching 80s short set are divine. =)

Girl Releases Balloons

Child Releases Balloons on a school baseball field, Massachusetts, 1986

Given the current situation with the Corona Virus, if you were to release balloons today what message would be on your card?

Clevelanders Release Balloons in 1986

Finally, on a lighter note, do any of you Gen-Xers out there remember when Cleveland released 1.5 million balloons? It happened in 1986. The pictures from this infamous event are incredible! Unfortunately, the fun celebration shut down a local runway, spooked some horses and interrupted a Coast Guard rescue mission. One writer aptly described it as a “genuinely heart-lifting expression of wonder, horror-film urban infestation, and terrifying unidentifiable civic explosion.”

Balloon Release

Balloon Release, Cleveland 1986.

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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2 Comments

  1. Ann

    I remember when my class released balloons, and the same feeling of excitement and hope. Thanks for bringing that back to me! I am sure I was dressed the same way too.

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Thanks for stopping by, Ann. They are sweet memories, for sure.

      Reply

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