Saturday, 11 May 2013

Back to 1983

This year Kellogg's Special K is celebrating its 30th anniversary. So much has happened in these 30 years.

Sometimes when I look back at those times, it feels like a different era, as if that life happened to someone else, as if it wasn't me. I don't mean just the fashions or music, though shoulder pads do make me feel a bit nostalgic, and I still love Sweet Dreams and Uptown Girl.
And now for the first time since 1983, Kellogg’s is changing Special K with a new, more wholesome recipe.
Going back to 1983 would take me to the Soviet Union. Brezhnev was dead but it was still a very depressive-stagnation period. The high school was a bit of a nightmare for me, as I found it difficult to conform. It would be another three years till perestroika started, by then I will be a University student. I remember my uni days as completely different from school. With all the political changes, we felt that it was time to say Farewell to the dim past and embrace the new world. Everything seemed possible. I felt happy and ready to conquer the world.

Reader, I tried but I could not find a photo of myself taken exactly 30 years ago, I am not even sure my Mum has any. At 15, I wasn't happy about my looks (as probably most teenagers), and tried to avoid having my photos taken. Actually, that's not entirely true, I posed for a professional photographer who came to our art school, he wanted me to look really sad, and did the photo shoot outside some old dilapidated building (my brother was present). I'm sure they would have made a good image for a mis-lit book cover or a ghost story.

At that time Kellogg's didn't mean much to me. It wasn't available in Russia, at least not in my home town, and I can't remember eating cereals in my childhood at all (we had lots of different kinds of porridge and kasha).
Kellogg's was something the American kids ate in the movies and books.

How old was I in this photo? I tried to figure the date out, and can't quite pinpoint the year, maybe 19.
Shoulder pads. I loved them. They made me feel stronger, like wearing an armour. I was quite insecure and naive. I am certainly a lot wiser now and much-much stronger. Well, I have to, being a mother of two wonderful boys who are the centre of my Universe.

Music? In 1983 and later, Russia was crazy about the Italian music. Among many others: Loredana Berte, Ricchi e Poveri, Riccardo Fogli, Pupo, Al Bano-Romina Power and of course, Toto Cutugno.
L'Italiano just swept us all away in 1983, and I fell in love, head over heels.
Later, when I met my future husband, he laughed at my tastes in Italian music and introduced me to the beautiful lyrics of Fabrizio De Andre and Roberto Vecchioni. And while I love their songs, my heart still goes a bit aflutter whenever I hear Toto Cutugno's velvet voice.

In those faraway 1980s I was dreaming that one day I would marry an Italian, and he will be an aristocrat as well. Thirty years later, I have been married to my Italian for almost 17 years, and he comes from a prominent family whose history goes centuries back. One day I will tell you the story of how we met. An irony of fate, as I am more of a socialist than I have ever been before, and don't have much respect for the empty titles and crowns. So, that has definitely changed for me. Thankfully, my husband shares my views.

And while 30 years ago, I haven't had Kellogg's Special K for breakfast, now there is always a pack of Special K on the kitchen counter. I have been eating it for the last couple of weeks every morning, as I am testing it for a month to see whether I'll really be able to go one size down. So far I haven't noticed any difference but the night is young.

What did I think of the new Special K?
"The new recipe contains three grains — rice, wheat and barley (previously there were two) — and is made with wholegrain, for a source of fibre as well as 8 vitamins and minerals. It gives health-conscious, weight-watching women a tastier breakfast".
It definitely is more wholesome and it tastes healthier, but I do miss the sour note of Red berries, which is my favourite variety of Kellogg's Special K. And don't even mention the naughty Strawberry and chocolate. So, I found myself adding bits and pieces to the new flavour.

Have I changed much? Yes and No. I am stronger, wiser, almost unbreakable, a fierce tigress ready to fight for her cubs, especially for my older boy who has autism. Looking at me, you might presume I am armoured against any eventuality, but scratch the surface, and deep beneath you might still find that vulnerable young girl who was hurting at the unkind remark.
But just like the Special K, I will always be special to my family, whether I have wrinkles or carry extra weight.

If you enjoyed reading about my trip down the memory lane, you might like to read the other bloggers' posts on the theme of what has changed in 30 years of our lives. This post is my entry to BritMums/Special K How I've changed Linky Challenge (link removed as expired).


  1. Lovely black and white photo. I think the new special K tastes fantastic, sadly the kids enjoyed it too, so my box didn't last long. Good luck with the comp xx

  2. How interesting to hear your story, you look very Russian in your 'young' photo and less so now, although that may just be my imagination. I don't think our politics change as they are part of the core values we learn as children.

  3. this is a lovely post recalling your memories. I know what you mean about having to be prepared to fight for our children - I feel them same about my eldest also with autism. The Red Berries special K is one of my faves too! xxx

  4. Brilliant post, love the insights into what life was like back then in the USSR. I always have that stereotypical image of smuggled Levis and Beatles cassettes, interesting to hear about the Italian influence - and your hopes and dreams! Can't wait to hear the meeting the Italian story!!

  5. Loved reading your post Galina and hearing what life was like in Russia. This has been a fascinating challenge.

  6. It is very interesting to hear about life in a different country. I love your photo, it reminds me of 1920s film star portraits

  7. Such an interesting post. Commenting for BritMums and thanking you for taking part