Monday, May 26, 2008

Back to High School

by Donna MacMeans


This weekend I went back to high school -- well, not MY high school. My husband and I drove to Cleveland to see my nephew's graduation. He attended Twinsburg High School which is located in the town famous for their twins days festival. Out of his graduating class of 318, we counted 16 sets of possible twins. I'm not sure one can attend that high school without the sense that you're always seeing double.


No where is the sense of accomplishment and optimism for the future stronger than at a high school graduation. The intensity practically sizzled. As we waited through the roll call of seniors anticipating futures as neurosurgeons, microbiologists, and video game designers, I found it difficult not to reflect on my own graduation (mumble-mumble) years ago. Had you asked me way back then what my future held, I would have guessed I'd be an English teacher. I certainly never anticipated making a career out of Accounting, nor did I envision being a published author. Life has a funny way of changing those courses we thought we had planned so carefully.


Last weekend wasn't the first time in May that I was lost in that particular reflection. Earlier in the week I was invited to return to Greenhills to address the library in that community. This was the closest I could come to returning to my high school, Greenhills High School - home of the Pioneers. You see, my alma mater no longer exists. The building that housed the high school is now a middle school of a different name. A high school in an adjacent community services the area previously assigned to my old school.


So I went to the library which was set in a small shop in an old strip mall. The library wasn't there either back in my day. In spite of the rain, a few people actually came to here me speak (Shock!) One of them was an old classmate of mine. (Greater Shock!) You know the song from Saving Jane with the lyrics "She's Miss America and I'm just the girl next door"? Leanne was always the one nominated for Homecoming Court and eventually, Homecoming queen, for all the years I attended school. We knew each other, but we'd never would have be considered close friends. I regret that now as it seems we have more in common than high school. I never knew her plans for after graduation but I suspect they took a different path.


My plan was to post my high school picture up on the blog, but it appears my yearbook has gone the way of my high school. I can find the year books for my kids, my husband and my father (1938) - but not mine! It's a real bummer. I thought the photo album I inherited would have at least one graduation photo...nada. You might have noticed, however, some other banditas offered their high school pictures.


So do you have a high school experience you'd like to share? Did life travel along the path you had envisioned back then? Can you identify the banditas in the photographs? Do you know where your high school yearbook is? (Are you sure?)


A signed copy of THE EDUCATION OF MRS. BRIMLEY goes to the person with the best high school story. Can't wait to hear them.

93 comments:

Jane said...

That's Trish in the color photo. Can't figure out the other one. I know exactly where my high school yearbook is. Nothing memorable happened to me in high school, but I do remember my friends and the times we spent hanging out in the cafeteria and joking around in class.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Where is that fine feathered fowl?
California bound?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

DARN! Missed it by mere seconds...

Congrats Jane!

When I was in high school we had to spend our lunch breaks and study hall building the pyramids. What a drag!

AC

Tawny said...

ROFL AC --pyramids *g* right...

I was not a fan of high school at all, but I do know where all my yearbooks are (or I should say my husbands since I didn't buy them but we both attended the same school and gradutated together so his count as mine). Lessee... good memories... um, Graduating? Yeah, that one :-D

Donna MacMeans said...

Congratulations Jane! The rooster loves heading home with you, that's for sure!

I used to do a lot of babysitting in high school. I remember the husband taking me home after a stint one night and he said - these are the best years of your life. Talk about depressing!!! Fortunately he was wrong.

Donna MacMeans said...

Tawny - That's so sweet that you & your HS boyfriend became Mr. & Mrs. Now I could have sworn that I knew where mine was. Knew the exact spot on the bookcase - but it's not there. I suspect the kids were having a laugh one night and didn't put the book back where they found it. Who knows where it is now. Hope my son didn't toss it in a madcap cleaning spree.

Anna Campbell said...

Jane, congratulations on the chook! He's had an exciting time lately, he might be a bit of a handful!

Tawny, my sister! I'm like you - my best memory of high school was the day I left the place. I was a boarder which was 'orrible and miserable and nasty. Oh, sorry, that was just my classmates... LOL. I have a bone to pick with Enid Blyton. The place I went to school was nothing like jolly hockeysticks Mallory Towers! I want Mallory Towers!!!!

Donna, great post! And how interesting that you hooked up with that girl again.

Christine Wells said...

Donna, fab post! I agree with you--I wouldn't go through those years again for anything.

Oh, Fo! I wanted Mallory Towers too, and girls called Hilary and Maud. But not to be. Thank goodness I didn't have to board. My father used to call our girls the prisoners and I must say they had these awful things called tea dresses they had to wear out of hours that did look like old-fashioned prison uniforms. The food was truly disgusting.

We don't really have yearbooks, just what they called the school magazine. I suppose they'd be at my parents' house. Goodness knows it never even occurred to me to take them with me.

Jane, congrats on the GR! AC, commiserations--all that pyramid building must have slowed you down;)

Minna said...

Hey, we didn't have yearbooks, either. And I still have the few school magazine that were made back then. No, I definitely wouldn't want to go through those years again, either.

Natalie Hatch said...

I wasn't one of the socialites at my school. I didn't fit in with the wealthy crowd, and often was the butt of jokes and mean spiritedness. I must admit that I for one hated high school. Three years after I left school I had blossomed (if that's what you'd like to call it). I ran into some of the 'jocks' of our school, every single one of them tried desperately to hit onto me. My comeback was 'Weren't you the one calling me a troll not so long ago? Well I'm still the same person, you had your chance, but blew it big time.' I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to say that to each of them.
Oh by the way, guess what I do for a living now? Teach Science at High School.... sheesh!

Minna said...

My best memory of high school, if you don't take to account the very last math lesson, the very last religion lesson etc. or actually leaving high school, was when I was trying to study some math before the test (wasn't my cup of tea =P)and this very nice and cute geek I had a crush on came and asked what I was doing. I told him and I think I also told him that I just don't understand most of it. And he offered to help. I didn't even have to ask.

Helen said...

Congrats Jane have fun with him

Great post Donna I went to an all girls high school we didn't have year books but we had lots of fun at school. The school work wasn't much fun but I did love all the reading we had to do for english maths yuk.
Myself and my girlfriends were always in some sort of trouble (not big) but we did like to stand up for ourselves and liked to have fun this was the 70's. Most of the teachers were good a few not so friendly ones but I do have lots of fun memories from those school days.
I always wanted to be a housewife and mum which happened but I also had to work which I didn't want to after I had children but money is money and the bills kept coming in so I woked nights so as I could be home with the kids of a day unfortunatley I still have to work.
I met my hubby while in high school at the ice skating rink that we all went to he went to an all boys high school and I went to school with his sister.
I wasn't sorry to leave school when I did but I will always think about some of the things we did at school and enjoy the memories.

The Bandits photo's the colour one is Trish and I think the other one maybe Aunty Cindy.
Have Fun
Helen

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Congrats Jane, our GR will have blast with you today.
I was not one of the popular set in high school, for that matter I wasn't part of the unpopular set either. I was the one in the corner reading.
This would be me many, many moons ago.
http://hrdwrkdmom.com/1969-senior-rs.jpg

Caren Crane said...

Well, high school was...interesting to say the least. The school I considered "my" high school is the one where I grew up. I went there 2-1/2 years - until January of my junior year.

Then we moved to Houston, TX, where I attended a HUGE, really great high school and knew no one. Left there in Nov of my senior year and moved to Charlotte, NC.

Went there for a bit more than one semester. A wasted semester. But, I made one good friend and they had an orchestra, so it was okay.

As a result, though, I have no yearbook from junior year (and my picture was good that year) and my picture DOES NOT APPEAR in any senior yearbook anywhere. At all! I missed pictures on both ends. But my mother has a really bad cap and gown picture somewhere. Yeesh.

Oh, and that's my grainy, scanned-from-the-yearbook black and white picture. I was a sophomore (don't I look 15 going on 13?). With braces and a Laura Ingalls shirt on. Wow. Only seniors had their pictures in color at "my" high school. We were poor!

Donna MacMeans said...

Anna - I'm curious. Did most schools take on boarders? The schools that board are rare here. Even the private schools (I was the first of the brood that went to public schools - my brothers went to Catholic schools)didn't take boarders. I certainly don't envy you that experience.

Donna MacMeans said...

Christine -

Did you have to wear uniforms at your school? Heck, wearing any kind of dress out-of-hours would be torture, I am of an age when the girls weren't allowed to wear pants to school and the principal carried a yardstick so he could measure hemlines *g*. As soon as I hopped off the bus coming home, those stockings and skirts were replaced by jeans or shorts.

Did the school magazines have all the clubs and whatnot? I was in French club, Future Teachers of America, and Honor Society. Can't think of any others.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Minna -

There's a great line from the movie LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. I can't remember exactly how it went but something to the effect that a philosopher once said that it's the suffering in life that defines who you are and high school are prime suffering years. *g*

Buffie said...

My yearbooks? Yep, I know where all of them are . . . in a box in the attic. It is fun to pull them out every year or so and read what everyone wrote in them. But I find I have trouble remembering what some of the acronyms mean!

My high school years were pretty good. I had a great group of friends, most of which I am still in touch with. I met my sweetie and dh of almost 18 years.

Donna MacMeans said...

Nathalie -

That's a great story - especially the ironic conclusion *g*.

The anticipated occupations were only announced for the ten kids with the highest grade point averages at the graduation ceremony. Only one girl announced that she planned to go into education. That's such a shame.

Do you find high schools of today much different from what you experienced? Better? Worse?

Donna MacMeans said...

Minna - That is so sweet!

I have a similar story, but with a twist. When we studied poetry in my senior year, the teacher assigned each of us two poems to analyze and present in an oral report. We also had to prepare two test questions about our report. The unit test would be drawn from those questions. The teacher warned us that we could share our answers but as the test was graded on a curve, it would put us at a disadvantage as some people would know a few answers ahead of time.

That philosophy doesn't work if everyone has the answers. The cute guy that I had the major crush on and another girl and I met after school and called every single person in our class to get the answers. We compiled and distributed a possible answer sheet to every student in the class and we received perfect scores on the test. The teacher was ticked. I still never received a second look - at least, not that kind of look - from the target of my admiration, though.

Hmmm...too bad HE didn't show up at the library *g*

Tiffany Kenzie said...

I too hated HS... gah... I don't even think I'll do the reunion. I thought I'd have gone to school and become an ornithologist.

Uhm... Didn't happen :) I like where I am a lot more.

Sadly I know where my yearbooks are... but I only bought two of them So not as many memories can come back and haunt me.

And you know those people that you never want to run into again, from you HS days? Those are the ONLY people I ever run into. I see them (and I never forget a face) and do the internal GAH! then smile and look for an escape.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Helen -

Love blooms at the ice rink! I read a lot in high school as well. I thought I'd be an English teacher so endeavored to read all the classics. Some were excellent - others drop-jaw boring and which did they assign in school? Certainly not the interesting novels *g*. If ever there's a way to discourage a kid from reading - send them to a high school English class.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Dianna!

Sounds like we had a lot in common in high school as well. Did you ever go to any high school reunions? I didn't. I wonder what ever happened to all those "in crowd" people. Well, I know at least one who seems to now be a happy suburban romance reader *g* but I wonder about the others.

Donna MacMeans said...

Caren -

Well I wasn't going to out you *g*. I rather enjoyed Helen's guess that the photo was AC - must have been those pyramid-building muscles that impressed her.

I predate color high school photos. Everyone, even the group shots, were taken in black and white - which is odd as all my elementary school photos were in color. No matter - only seniors were allowed to have their photos retouched and all photos had to be just head shots. I must admit my son's yearbook with the more individualized photos is far more interesting than mine.

Man - you did bounce around a bit in high school. That's no fun but it does teach you the skills to approach unfamiliar environments.
Those skills prove more useful than say algebra. (But wait - you're the engineer. Maybe algebra was useful!)

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Buffie -

My kids like to pull out my husband's yearbook and chuckle about when he had hair *g*.

Aren't the autographs a hoot! My favorite one is the full page message that my husband's at-the-time girlfriend wrote in his yearbook. It said something about how he was such a nice boy and how they would be together forever. Man - she had no clue! *g*

terrio said...

I remember those days. Back before life kicked me in the...err...teeth.

I know where my yearbooks are and unfortunately, so does my daughter. She loves to look through them. I went through 12 yrs of Catholic school so it was uniforms all the way. And seniors were also the only ones in color in our books.

I wrote a paper in Jr high that I would be a business executive when I grew up and in HS wanted to work in the music business. Well, I spent 8 years as a disc jockey and I'm now working on my BS in Business so I guess I've stayed on track. With a few tangents along the way, of course.

I knew that was Trish but I thought the other pic was Beth. Seriously, look at that one and then Beth's over on the side. They look a lot alike! LOL!

Terry Odell said...

I was the typical high school nerd (geeks hadn't been invented yet). And since in my senior year, I was in a program (with the other nerds) that let us take courses at nearby UCLA, I was only on campus half a day, so I wasn't part of any of the 'groups'. I read. A lot.

My yearbooks are in the den, on the top left bookshelf. So are my husband's.

Funny, but most of us high school nerds recently formed a yahoo group and it's been fun seeing what we're all up to in the past four decades.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh Donna, I understand about your high school not being there anymore. I went to Columbus North High School. (Donna lives in my home town now, so she might know where that is.) Two years after I graduated, the school was closed for integration. Which is odd, since it had one of the most racially and economically and socially divergent student body in the city. Ah the working minds of buerocrats!!

Donna MacMeans said...

TIffany -

I never went to any of my high schools reunions. The last one was about eight years ago and at that time they announced this would be the very last one. Now I wish I'd gone to at least one, just to see.

AN ornithologist, huh? Now that's an interesting goal. There must be a story behind that one.

Kim Howe said...

Great post, Donna. High school was a tumultuous time for me. My parents left to live in Saudi Arabia and they didn't exactly offer schooling for Western women there. LOL As a result, I went to boarding school in Austria, then Switzerland, then back to Canada for my Grade 13.

I was always the new kid and that's a rough ride at the best of times. Still, the memories I have from all the travel hold a special place in my heart. The schools had students from every country-- from Turkey to Iran, so I learned a lot about other cultures and developed strong appreciation for people who were different than me. I look back at that time as a gift. Now, when I create heroes from different countries, I can draw on that experience and have fun reminiscing!!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Woo-hoo Jane! You get the chook!

AC, you crack me up. Surely they'd parted the Red Sea by the time you graduated, right? *g*

Tawny, I'm with you. The best part of high school was getting OUT of it. Ha!

Pam, loved the pic. I wouldn't post my pic fer luv ner money. Its hawwwwible. :> Like you, Natalie, I "blossomed" AFTER High School Urg.

Caren, I can't believe it's you in that pic. ;> Now that I know, I still can't! Ha!

Buffie, congrats on the 18 years. That's fab.

As to the yearbooks, yep, I know right where they are. My sons have yet to discover that these picture books have anything to do with their family. Bwah-ha-ha! There's a lot of silly stuff written in them, but then again, I moved into town in 10th grade. Urg. Most of the people didn't know me well enough to comment because I put my head down, and worked as hard as I could to get out the door. Ha!

As for "future occupation" I wanted to be a Vet and a writer. One out of two ain't bad, and I did work with a vet for quite a while. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wow, Kim. I can't imagine how many stamps were in your first passport! :> What a rich treasure, even if it was difficult at the time.

Does anyone keep up with high school friends? (Besides those of you who MARRIED them, that is!) I only keep in touch with one. Sad in a way, but okay by me in others!

Donna MacMeans said...

Terrio - What a neat occupation - a DJ. You and Cassondra could probably share stories for hours about the music biz. Good Luck with the BA. College is a lot different than High School.

Trish still looks the same, doesn't she? Her hair is different, of course, but the same nose and eyes. Back in the day, I had long, long thick blond hair. My hair is short but still thick. The color is light but not so much blonde *g*

Okay - I can see what you mean about the resemblance to Beth. (Caren - are you sure you & Beth don't share a history?) I think that photo of Caren has the most beautiful eyes - lots of glam potential, and a great smile. Some things don't change *g*.

Trish Milburn said...

Count me in the club that couldn't wait to leave high school. I feel like my life really started when I went away to college.

Yep, that's my oh-so-80s-big-hair high school photo. Caren, I thought that was you in the other one. And our yearbook was the same -- only the seniors had color photos.

Cindy, LOL about building the pyramids. You all did a good job. :)

Kim, I see you started all your world traveling earlier. I'm jealous in a way. We never went anywhere.

I have three of the four of my high school yearbooks on the bookshelf in my den. I don't know where the other one ran off to.

Donna MacMeans said...

Terry -

Well, up to last week I could have sworn my yearbook (only bought my senior year) was up there on the bookshelf. Now the only ones there are the yearbooks for my kids. I can't say I ever spent time actually looking through the thing, but not that it's disappeared, I feel a loss. I probably wouldn't have even looked for it if it hadn't been for that invitation to return. Oh well -

Neat that you formed a yahoogroup, isn't technology amazing? Any surprizes in those four decades?

Terry Odell said...

Well, given that the group was on the 'likely to succeed track', I can't say I was really "surprised" by things I found out.

One was involved in writing the recent movie (fogot the title) about the African-American college debate team, and one was a doctor who risked her life treating people in Africa

One managed a concert hall at a Georgia college.

I'm about the only deadbeat, I think, who never climbed a career ladder.

I have my jr. hi yearbo
oks, too. I think everyone bought them back in the day, and they're filled with all those delightfully trite sayings.

Kirsten said...

I had a great high school experience -- I had a super group of friends (although I despaired that I'd ever get a boyfriend--had to wait till college for that to happen). We weren't the smartest kids, the coolest kids, the nerdiest kids, or the most athletic. We were just...nice. LOL. I went to a small public high school that was a magnet school for college prep, so they bussed kids from all over the city to it. It was very diverse racially, but being a blue-collar city (Buffalo NY), there weren't too many rich kids. Overall, either the cliques weren't too pronounced, or I was just oblivious. Probably the latter.

My favorite memory is of one of the activities they used to do to keep the school integrated and get the black and white kids to hang out together. They called it "salad days" and you'd get assigned a table in the cafeteria to eat at. The idea was to mix things up -- we thought it was pretty amusing. I remember one of these salad days we pushed the tables together and started singing "ebony and ivory". Mainly to make fun of the teachers, but we did all get along pretty well.

Still, I agree with Donna -- those were nowhere near the best days of my life!

jo robertson said...

Yep, that's Trish. Darling. The other one looks like Kirsten to me, but with the black and white -- nope, she's not that old.

Hey, Tawny, were you THAT sure you'd marry your HS sweetheart that you didn't buy a single yearbook? Brave girl!

terrio said...

I don't have any contact with anyone I went to HS with. And when I returned to my 10 yr reunion in the hopes of catching up, I was the only one in my group of friends that went. Yep, it was the nerd group for me as well. I was even in the band. *g*

I lived for the day I got out of that school and out of that town. Though my parents are still there, I rarely get home and I can't imagine ever living there again. Mostly because it's a dying steel mill town with no economy.

Donna MacMeans said...

Suz - I think integration was a worthy goal, but - you're right - the bureacrats truly screwed things up in Columbus. I know when my kids were in school, the districts were constantly redrawn to alter the numbers. One never knew if you and your next door neighbor would be going to the same school, or if your school would be the one in walking distance or the one on the other side of town. They made it hard to form attachments - that's for sure.

Any high school memories from North, Suz?

Donna MacMeans said...

Kim - That explains so much about your current jet-setting lifestyle. I think you set your foot in more countries in the course of a year than any other bandita. I see now it's an outgrowth of your upbringing (and I'm jealous *g*). I know all those exotic locations/cultures will be appearing on a book shelf soon - I'm anxious to read them.

Donna MacMeans said...

Jeranne -

I never kept up with high school friends. We were all so anxious to get out of there and we all went separate directions.

However - about three years ago I saw a tiny photo in the local paper, the kind that I normally would skim over - but this one struck me for some reason. When I read the caption, the name was the same as my best friend in high school & maid of honor. I knew she'd married about the same time as me, so I figured her name had changed - but when I called I discovered it was the same person.

The funny thing was we both had lived in Columbus for about 20 years. I thought she was still in Cincinnati and she thought I was in Cleveland. We've taken very diverse paths and haven't gotten together since a reunion lunch three years ago.

Esri Rose said...

There's Trish, and is the other Caren?

That is such a bummer that you don't have a HS pic!

Aunty Cindy: Pyramids...(snort!)

I hope I get the book. Then I can give the unsigned copy I just ordered to my Mom.

doglady said...

Congrats on the GR, Jane! Don't forget to wash the icing off his feathers!

What great stories. Boarding school, La Campbell? YUCK!! Gosh I loved the Mallory Towers books! I need to go and find my Enid Blyton books!

Cute photos Trish and Caren.

In fact I do know where all of my high school yearbooks are and no, my niece and nephews will NOT be getting their hands on them. All of that BIG hair from the 70's - SHUDDER! And the disco clothes and stacked shoes!

I am fortunate that my Mom still lives in the same house we lived in when I was in high school and has the same phone number. Anyone from high school who wants to get in touch with me just calls my Mom. She got a few calls after the RWA press release appeared in the local paper. Very cool!

Even more fortunate, a few years ago a guy who graduated a year behind me moved into the house next to my Mom with his wife and two daughters. He was a running back on the football team and could run for days. His nickname was Zulu (was okay then, not sure if it would be in today's politically correct age.) In fact he prefers I still call him Zulu as he still calls me Mighty Mouth (reference to my operatic voice.) My Mom, as moms do, insists on calling him Warren. I like that he lives next door as my Mom is a 72 year old widow who insists on doing everything for herself. He keeps an eye on her and has all of our numbers on speed dial.

Donna MacMeans said...

Terry -

Oh, I remember that movie. Wasn't that the title? The Debators? I didn't see it but I wanted to. Mainly because I was on the speech team in high school (Miss Extemporaneous, here *g*).

LOL Somehow I suspect you'd never be classified as a deadbeat. Our definition of success & achievement is a constantly evolving concept.

ALthough I was in the advanced classes in school, I never really followed what happened to my classmates - I did suddenly realize that my current crowd are all high achievers. Makes me wonder when that happened *g*. We were all so caught up in kids, PTA, cooking shortcuts, tailgating, that I hadn't been tracking the other sides of their lives. I'm suddenly in awe that my friends are the heads of companies/state departments/prisons (*g*). Funny how that happens.

Donna MacMeans said...

Trish - Must admit that I like you better in your current short hair, but you still have that "bloom of youth." The perfect image for young adult fiction.

Tawny said...

Hey, Tawny, were you THAT sure you'd marry your HS sweetheart that you didn't buy a single yearbook? Brave girl!

LOL - even worse, I wanted out so bad I didn't think twice about spending my hard earned money on memories I was perfectly happy to forget.

And James, as adorable (but sadly slow) as he was, hadn't stepped up to the job as boyfriend while we were in HS. He was the guy who regularly unlocked my keys from my car and had that cute, shy smile.

There was nothing shy about me, though LOL. We didn't hook up until a few years later when I saw him at the bank and recognized him - then asked him out :-D

doglady said...

I enjoyed most of high school because everyone was kind of like Zulu. We were all pretty good friends and looked after each other. I was in the band, orchestra, choir, jazz band, madrigal singers and drama club. I tutored the football players and they loved to come to my house to be tutored because my Mom always fed them!

We did crazy stuff like unbolt the Shoney's Big Boy from the front of the restaurant in the middle of the night and hoist him onto the top of our cafeteria. We moved every desk in the school onto the roof one night. We drove the quarterback's MG Midget down the main hallway at lunch one day because the vice principal said it would not fit.

I loved the band and choir trips to places like Charleston, New Orleans and Disney World.

I rode to school with the quarterback in that little MG - not because we were involved, but because we had become friends in junior high and I was the only girl who wasn't all over him. He and I were two of the smartest kids in the class and we discussed a lot of history, philosophy and literature in those rides to and from school. At the last reunion he introduced me to his gorgeous wife as his "sister" and she knew immediately who I was. And in addition to being model gorgeous she is a lawyer and no dummy!

Donna MacMeans said...

Kirsten - Yeah - I was on that "college-bound" track. At the time, I thought that was great that the schools did that. Now I'm not so sure.

Funny about the salad days. I sold football tickets for the "big" game in my son's high school (they needed someone who could make change quickly without a cash register LOL). Their lunch period was so packed - about 700 students in a small space - I can't imagine rotating assigned tables.

My favorite memories from high school? -- slumber parties. A bunch of us would bring our sleeping bags to someone's house and spend a good portion of the night singing along to Beatle's tunes and discussing the local boys in great detail.

Donna MacMeans said...

Jo - Not only was Tawny THAT sure she'd marry her sweetie, she must have been sure that she'd stay married *g*.

I swear I'd never have married my husband if I didn't know I could always get divorced. That was 35 years ago and we're still together.

Hmmm...so we have Caren, Beth, and Kirsten with similiar genes. Is there a certain writer look? LOL

Donna MacMeans said...

Terrio - I know of where you speak LOL. But, I couldn't have stayed in my hometown, either. There comes a time when you've got to spread your wings and experience life on your own. I haven't been able to convince my kids of that *g* but I still carry hope.

MsHellion said...

Like a lot of girls in my high school, I had a crush on JJ, who was on the basketball team. Loved him. Loved him. Blond, amber-eyed, cocky grin...adorable.

I was always writing (or reading)--a total nerd, and in 11th grade, there was this county/school contest where you could strut your stuff and possibly win a trip to Washington DC. I entered; and by the skin of my teeth I placed. (Which was depressing because at the time, it was a boys-girls contest, so if any other boy had entered, they would have placed automatically, regardless if my essay was better or not.) The next part of the contest was to PRESENT IT, like a speech, which was also depressing because writing was my STRENGTH and presenting my weakness. I mean, if I was such a poor showing as a writer, I didn't imagine I was going to pull in from the back and win the thing. For weeks, my English teacher drilled me in presenting this essay. God, how I hated this essay by the time I had to present it...I was as bored as the kids I was having to present in front of for practice.

On the day of the presentation, JJ, who normally didn't talk to me (jocks and nerds don't talk alot you know), caught me in the hallway and said, "You're going to win this thing. Your essay is the best. Don't worry." And with this little pep talk, he disappeared. (You can see why I loved him, right? I mean, seriously.) So I said a little prayer and with JJ's belief, I presented my essay and won the trip to Washington DC.

Nancy said...

Hi, Donna--

I think I know who the banditas are, but I'll leave it to our friends to peg them.

Jane, congrats on the GR!

I enjoyed high school. There were lots of us geeks there, and we hung together and tended to have the same classes. I loved my Latin teacher, who had a knack for making ancient Rome come alive, probably because she cared about it so much. I was in the band, which had a great director with a wonderful, dry sense of humor. No particular events come to mind, but I didn't take the road I envisioned, which was to become a fashion designer. I found out that getting a four-year-degree, which I really wanted, in design required much chemistry (=math), which was not my strong suit. I do have my yearbooks, though. We packrats keep everything! *g*

Natalie--I love your jock story. Karma will out!

p226 said...

Hmmm.... A high school experience to share...

Ok. heheheh. Prepare yourself for a glimpse of the formative years of p226!

It's November. Life on the barracks at the military school has settled down. It's my junior year. By now, everyone has learned their place in the two pecking orders. The first of these is rank. This is more "official" and is recognized by the school. The second of these is "seniority." Now, seniority at a military school is a bit different than regular schools. A sophomore who has been at the school since 6th grade has a great deal more actual "seniority" (and probably rank) than a senior who has only been there for one year.

Well, by now, I had three full years of "seniority" and a little bit of rank to go along with it. I was a rifleman on the color guard. That is pretty much the most prestigious unit in the school, except for the Camden Rifles drill team. The level of hazing required to get onto either team was amazing. You have to be tough. Tryouts were more like a Hanoi prison camp than a highschool tryout.

Regardless, I knew how things worked. I knew who was who. And most importantly, I knew who not to mess with under any circumstances.

You see, we had some interesting students. Kids who's parents had power and influence. The children of heads of state. Among them, were two Central American brothers. Panamanians. Both, at the ripe old ages of seventeen and nineteen respectively, mid grade officers in the Panamanian army sent to the US to complete their educations. Combat veterans. Warriors.

Now, we also had the troubled kids. The street thugs. The misfits. Among them, a kid I'll call Akers. Akers was a small kid for his age. And he was no fighter. He was... in short, a scrawny wimp. Now, I have nothing against scrawny wimps. But this one, this one never knew when to shut up. He would intentionally insult guys who were two or three times his size with the full knowledge that if they decided to do so, he was going to get a massive beatdown. And he frequently did. But it didn't stop him. He never ever knew when to just shut up, and do what you're told.

And then he met one of the brothers. I'll call him Juan. In a think spanish accent, "Akers, your room is a mess. Clean it."

"No."

"WHAT!? DI JOO JUZ TELL ME NO!?"

Akers went on to spout of something that very clearly said not just "no," but some very unsavory things about Juan's mother. Not wise when you considered that Juan's dear mother had produced a bouncing baby Major that bench pressed three hundred plus pounds at the age of seventeen.

"AIII KEEEEEEEL YOU!"

At which point he popped Akers with a straight right that buckled his knees. He then proceeded to pick Akers up, throw him over his shoulder, and carry him down the hall.

Me and a few others are watching all of this with mild amusement. But we were curious why Juan was carrying Akers down the hall. "Oh **** man! the WINDOW!"

Yes, we lived on the top floor barracks. The window at the end of the hall was sixty feet above the infirmary entrance. By the time we realized Juan intended to toss Akers right out that window, it was a bit late. Juan had shoved Akers out the window, and was holding him by his ankles. Akers, inverted, was looking straight "up" sixty feet at the asphalt below, and screaming incoherently as six of us tried to pull Juan and Akers back in the window. All the while, Juan is shouting "MY MODAR! I KEEL YOU! YOU DIE! YOU NO TALK ABOUT MY MODAR LIKE DIS!"

We *did* managed to pull Akers and Juan back through the window. Thankfully. It was a tense moment.

And, you'd think Akers would've learned his lesson. Nope. Within a week he was mouthing off to everyone at every turn yet again.

Mmmmm, high school... the good ole days.

terrio said...

p226 - have you read Beach Music by Pat Conroy? Because parts of that might be right up your alley. To say you'd relate would be an understatement.

p226 said...

I've never heard of Pat Conroy. I'll go google the lyrics.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

P226, I have to ask if you have seen Achmed the Dead Terrorist. The Aiiii Killll youuuuuu! Is remarkably similar.

Wow. I threatened my son with military school yesterday. May have to rethink that. Then again, he's not mouthy. But he does tend to be the white knight and step in where the punch is coming, intended for someone else weaker and mouthier. Sigh.

Hope you found Pat Conroy on Amazong - writer rather than singer. Prince of Tides. Wow. Powerful. He's a haunting writer in so many ways.

p226 said...

P226, I have to ask if you have seen Achmed the Dead Terrorist. The Aiiii Killll youuuuuu! Is remarkably similar.

The first time I heard Achmed I immediately flashed back to that moment on the barracks. Juan's "AIIII KEEEEL YOU" was mixed in with what I can only assume to be a lot of rapid swearing in spanish.

Donna MacMeans said...

Doglady - You sound like you had the perfect high school experience that the rest of us though our experiences should emulate. Can't think of any good stunts we pulled. I did manage to set fire to the biology lab once. I accidentally knocked over (Hah - no surprise there) a jar of acetone near a lit bunson burner. Amazing how fast the flames spread with a liquid accelerant. Fortunately, the teacher put the flames out before damage was done.

How sweet that you still have roots in your hometown and that friends from high school can watch over your mom. That's really special.

terrio said...

Yeah, sorry, that's an author not music. That title's deceiving. He did time at the Citadel and has some scenes in that book right out of your little story there. Only less funny. Haunting is a good word for him, Jeanne.

Donna MacMeans said...

Esri -

Thank you for ordering the book, but to win the signed copy - you have to share a high school story. Fess up, girl. Tell us a good one.

Donna MacMeans said...

MsHellion - That is so neat! So - did you thank JJ later for that support? Did he speak to you after? Or did that spark have to warm you through the rest of high school?

I think my presentation skills are much better than my writing skills. Doesn't bother me at all to stand up in front of people and talk, and talk, and talk. It's why I didn extemporaneous speaking in high school. I can generally wing it.

But to prepare an essay, I'd break out in a sweat. Thank heavens one can edit & revise (& revise & revise...)

limecello said...

Cleveland/Twinsburg! That's more in my neck of the woods :D. Hm... high school - I was just reflecting on college graduation. I can't think of a good high school story now (angsty ones yes).
And I love that Saving Jane song! They got big in '06, and I was living in Columbus that year, which is where they're from. Fun. :D

Donna MacMeans said...

P226 - Lord, I love your stories!

As Jeanne mentioned, Pat Conroy is an author and a graduate of the Citadel. I'm a fan of THE PRINCE OF TIDES, but you might recognize him more from THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE or MY LOSING SEASON. I believe he comes from a military family as well. Wonderful master of words.

Sounds like Akers was aptly named. Do you think he was trying to get kicked out of military school? Wonder what happened to him.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Nancy -

Now see, I loved Chemistry. Took it in college on a lark. Of course, my favorite part was balancing equations. This was all before I ended up in Accounting but I supposed it should have been a clue that I had a mathematical bent.

I hadn't pegged you for a fashion designer, but I wouldn't have been surprised that you aspired to be a scientist. I can see you as a phyicist or maybe an anthropologist. Something with an "ist" LOL.

Are you writing science fiction/fantasies at the moment? If so, I bet you have the best uniformed characters around.

Pat Cochran said...

In the early 50s, when I was in high school, Hispanics were a very small minority. As a Hispanic, I was in an even smaller minority
in the school's drum and bugle corps. In my junior year, I was
the only Hispanic to try out for officer ranking. To my surprise,
I was selected to the third
highest rank in the group. In
my senior year, we took part in the
city's Rodeo and Live Stock Show. At the show's closing performance when the group was on the arena
floor, I was approached by one of
the show's stars. Pancho, of the
Cisco Kid and Pancho, had noticed
that I was the only Hispanic
officer. He congratulated me on
my achievement. I was the only
person singled out in this manner.
This, along with some fairly good grades, was my high school claim
to fame! Ah yes, yearbook! After being missing for three years, I
found my yearbooks a couple of
months ago, so I know exactly
their location!

Congrats, Jane! My greetings to
the feathered chocolate-eating
fowl!!!

Pat Cochran

Pat Cochran said...

In the early 50s, when I was in high school, Hispanics were a very small minority. As a Hispanic, I was in an even smaller minority
in the school's drum and bugle corps. In my junior year, I was
the only Hispanic to try out for officer ranking. To my surprise,
I was selected to the third
highest rank in the group. In
my senior year, we took part in the
city's Rodeo and Live Stock Show. At the show's closing performance when the group was on the arena
floor, I was approached by one of
the show's stars. Pancho, of the
Cisco Kid and Pancho, had noticed
that I was the only Hispanic
officer. He congratulated me on
my achievement. I was the only
person singled out in this manner.
This, along with some fairly good grades, was my high school claim
to fame! Ah yes, yearbook! After being missing for three years, I
found my yearbooks a couple of
months ago, so I know exactly
their location!

Congrats, Jane! My greetings to
the feathered chocolate-eating
fowl!!!

Pat Cochran

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, and P226, you reminded me...defenestration. :> The act of throwing someone out the window. Wicked way to die. I'm blogging about The Dead Guy over on the Wet Noodle Posse today. Hmmm. Wonder if I can work in defenestration?

http://wetnoodleposse.blogspot.com/

p226 said...

I should note that the names have been changed to protect the innocent. And, well, the not-so-innocent. I have no idea what has become of Akers these days. I know he left military school for a semester. And we (collectively) were glad to be rid of him. In military culture, the many are punished for the misdeeds of the few. It intentionally creates a very unfair, but highly self-policing environment. So we paid for his sins, so to speak, on a regular basis.

When he came back my senior year, he was still pretty mouthy, but he seemed to have learned that people have a line. And he rarely crossed it. He became masterful at pushing people right TO their "ok, you have to die now" point. But not past it. That was his game. I think he just badly misjudged Juan's line.

As I recall, he was a very intelligent kid. Had a lot of potential. But his behavioral and social issues were clearly going to be a challenge for him. But that was par for the course for a lot of us there.

Hm... now *I* am curious.

Pat Cochran said...

OOPS! MY BAD!!!

How did that happen?

Oh, well, I keep saying I'm the
least literate of all the computer
users with whom I associate!

Pat Cochran

Donna MacMeans said...

Wow Pat - I would think the early fifties would be a tough time to be in high school if you different in any way. Diversity was not actually tolerated well. Kudos to Pancho for recognizing you in such a fashion. Adds new depth to the song lyrics "Cisco Kid was a friend of mine." *g*

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Heh-heh-heh. Not surprised you've found Achmed, P226. :> For those of you interested Achmed the Dead Terrorist is ventriloquist Jeff Dunham's funniest creation. You can find him on UTube. It is fall off your chair funny as long as you're not tooooo worried about being politically correct.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jA_ABcohuZ8

If you are, skip this one. Speaking of high school. A high-schooler (babysitter) introduced me to this. :> UTube is where it's at these days, I guess.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wow on the marching band, Pat. Go you!

terrio said...

I love Jeff Dunham. All his characters are hysterical. But Achmed is one of those where you really want to laugh but for just a second you wonder if you should. Then he says "I kill you" fast like that and you can't help yourself.

Anna Campbell said...

Donna, a few private schools take on boarders. None of the state ones do.

Kim, seriously, you are the MOST interesting woman!

P226, I wonder what happened to Akers.

Pat Cochran said...

Donna,

Your comment on diversity is really
on point for that time period. It
was especially bad in Texas where
we lived and still live. When Ken after two years of dating, broached
the subject of marriage, we really
encountered opposition. (He's
Caucasian) Not only from some of his family, but also from friends of mine! When we looked for an
apartment, we were refused at one
place because I'm Hispanic. There
were lots of occasions in the
early years. One that stands out
was when my blonde, blue-eyed baby
girl called me Momma in a store.
When I responded, a woman nearby
actually gasped out loud! By the
1960s, began getting better.

Pat Cochran

flchen1 said...

Hi, Donna! I can't say that I enjoyed too much of high school either--too much angst! I definitely wouldn't care to relive it! I bought just one yearbook (from my senior year, and I'm not entirely certain where it is... probably in one of the boxes in the basement, hopefully not yet moldy...)

How neat that you've had a chance to reconnect with one of your old classmates though!

Congrats on the GR, Jane!

Donna MacMeans said...

Jeanne - That youtube video was hilarious! Just a font of information you are *g* - but then it would make sense that you would know about the "dead" terrorist (Very Big Grin).

Donna MacMeans said...

Pat -

Growing up in Maryland in the 50s/60s - I don't think I knew what a Hispanic was. Same when we moved to Ohio. The only minority were blacks. We had one black girl in my entire high school. She was a friend of mine (Hi Lovie - if you're out there!). So it wasn't until college that I actually saw discrimination.

Things are not as they should be - but civil rights for everyone is certainly better than it was back then. Kudos to your husband for standing up for a good woman. Sounds like you found your own hero.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Fichen -

Yes, it was an unexpected surprise. In Cincinnati, we lived across the street from a library. I stopped there to change into my "writerly" clothes before going on to the Greenhills Library. I remembered this library to be an open, friendly place. Not so now. There was a guard at the door. The restrooms were locked. There wasn't an open, welocming atmosphere.

I was thinking of how so much of that community had changed and the truth of the saying "you can't go home again" when I got to the Greenhills Library and saw my old schoolmate. It was great (and the Greenhills librarian was wonderful, too.)

Natalie Hatch said...

Hi Donna,
Australia has a uniform policy for most of its state and private schools. I find this a lot better than having free dress days. As the kids know the standards that they have to keep uniform wise and though there are a few that tack up their skirts etc, it keeps the peace. As for kids these days. I can't believe the downward turn in students attitude in the past five years. When I first started teaching ten years ago we had a few problem kids, much the norm, but now we're having kids bring knives to school, drug problems are happening at lunchtimes, and we have girls/boys, boys/boys being caught in toilets doing things that their parents would be upset about. Perhaps it's the influence of all this reality Television?

Beth said...

While I didn't hate high school, I was so very happy to graduate and just get on with my life *g* I have loads of memories of that time of my life (some good, some not so good *g*) and yes, I know exactly where my yearbooks are: in the basement :-)

In a few short weeks my son will be a Junior in HS which is weird enough *g* It seems weirder because I remember HS so clearly and because he attends the same school I went to - and even has some of the same teachers :-)

Donna MacMeans said...

Natalie -

Not sure it's just the reality shows that are influencing the kids - it the regular programming, the movies, the music (talk about graphic lyrics on sex and violence), violent video games, - I think it all takes a toll. School was always a tough place ego & pysch, but it at least was safe. Not so sure the kids feel safe in schools anymore.

Geez - now I sound like my parents complaining that my school wasn't strict enough, and the music was too vulgar, and the dancing too nasty. LOL, I guess what goes around...

Joan said...

High School for me was a study in angst...not the popular kid, excluded on occasion, teased now and then but still with some good times.

I do have my yearbooks. I despise the pics pre-braces (got them as an adult).

I went to a few of my early reunions. Ok, I guess. But several years ago at a "landmark" I discovered that *I* looked pretty darn good compared to most of the others....sad for them, exhilierating for me!

Oh, and Akers? I feel sad for him that he hated himself so much that he put himself in these postions. Death wishes aren't pretty

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I went to one high school reunion, really just part of it, the part I didn't have to pay for...LOL
It was interesting to say the least. I won prizes cos I had just had my son and had the youngest child in the whole bunch. Got hit on my two guys that wouldn't give me the time of day in school. Decided it was time to go home.... :-D

Virginia said...

My high school days was not great. There was nothing I can remember happened. My better times came after high school. I do know where my high school year books are. I get them out every now and then.

Donna MacMeans said...

Beth - LOL It's going to be so freaky when you go to your son's graduation. Heck, I was launched into nostalgia going to a graduation where I didn't know the the teachers, the families, the traditions - just one kid. You, on the other hand, know all that plus have a then and now perspective. Should be fun.

Donna MacMeans said...

Joan - I think we all suffered in high school, perhaps it's part of the reason we love romance.

I have no doubt that you looked darn good at that reunion. You, my dear, are in touch with your inner hottie and are probably the envy of all the women in your class. Who else travels with a gang of hunky Romans? Your self-assurance can be darn sexy. Shame we never tapped into that until AFTER High School.

Donna MacMeans said...

Diana - You got hit on after you'd just had a baby??? LOL Well, that had to be good for the ego - even if the guys were jerks.

Definitely high school was something to be endured. Life became interesting after.

Donna MacMeans said...

Virginia - Well, at least we survived. I guess that's something. At least you still have your yearbooks to see how far you've come. *g*

Donna MacMeans said...

And the winners are....

Tough decision. So tough I'm giving away two signed books. The winners are Natalie Hatch because I love the irony and Pat Cochran because she put up with a lot.
P226 - I would have picked you but I know you already have a signed copy *g*.

Natalie & Pat - if you go to my website at www.DonnaMacMeans.com or click on my photo on the sidebar, you can email me your contact information so I can get your book to you.

Thanks everyone for sharing their high school memories. I enjoyed it, hope you had fun too.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Yes Donna, I actually had breasts at that point and I only weighted 110 after I had him.Probably the best I looked in my life. LOL

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Yes Donna, I actually had breasts at that point and I only weighted 110 after I had him.Probably the best I looked in my life. LOL