My Growing Party of Five


The world of television shifted for me in the mid nineties. A lot of things shifted during that time. I was eleven years old and feel good shows like Disney’s Kids Incorporated and Full House were ending their run. We quickly grew from a one tv household to a three tv household when my parents finished the basement and turned it into a hang out spot fit for a “pre-teen”and her gal pals. I had a one of those see through clear corded phones. When a boy would call the house my parents would say, “Julia phone call…..I’d yell who is it……A boy. ” And then my face would get all red. I was a walking 90’s cliché. And I remember loving all of it. 

It’s 1994 and one afternoon my mom picked me up from school in her wood-paneled station wagon and said she had a surprise for the family. A surprise, I thought?

But not just any surprise….. she said, it starts with a “C”.

A cat?

No, A computer.

I really wished it was a cat. It was the first time I was old enough to recognize that the world was changing. And so was I.

When I began to spend time in my “ pre teen” hang out spot I started to watch “pre teen” tv shows. It started with Beverly Hills 90210, but then FOX aired Party of Five in 1994. Party of Five centered around the five Salinger siblings raised by oldest brother Charlie Salinger.  He assumed the role of legal guardian when their parents were killed by a drunk driver. I tuned in every week and in no time began connecting with the characters and their relationships with each other. And how that relationship transcended to my own life.  In the age of reality tv we have grown so accustomed to today, I remember the age of tv dramas. And I particularly remember the Salinger’s. People started telling me throughout the years I look like that girl from Party of Five. You know, Julia Salinger. She had the same first name as mine and I loved it.

My husband always hated his name. He said he was named after a guy from his mom’s favorite Soap Opera. And he hated it. When I was pregnant and found out I was having a boy I threw out the name Owen. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was from Party of Five and belonged to the youngest sibling ,Owen Salinger. He loved the name Owen. When we moved onto middle names he wanted to use the letter “B” in memory of his dad. Naturally, I threw out another name I had long adored for either a boy or a girl. Bailey Salinger,  the second oldest Salinger. So there you have it. And our little Party of Five was born.

You can go through the top 100 popular baby names of 2015. You can name your child after a relative who has passed. An aunt you love. Your favorite flower, fruit or season of the year. When he grows up and inevitably  asks me why Owen, i’m sure he will respond with  “Oh mom.” But his name came from a time I remember with fondness. And a show that symbolized a turning point in my life and the world of tv. A world of television I dearly miss. 

Welcome to the world, Owen. And to our ever growing Party of Five. 

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