My 20th high school reunion is coming up and I’ve been thinking back a lot to those days at good old Schaumburg High School. The odd thing is that while I have a lot of memories of the years when I was in high school, I don’t have very many memories of actually attending high school.
I’m pretty sure I did attend high school for at least three years. I have to admit when my senior year rolled around, my attendance sort of dropped off. My mom was a nurse and throughout my education, I had never been able to fake an illness well enough to get out of going to school. In fact there were several times when I was really sick, but not sick enough! I tried a different tack my senior year; I just told my mom flat out I didn’t see the point of going to school. I’d been accepted to college and there were no tagbacks. She’d ask if I had any tests or homework. No, not really. Then, she’d call me in. There were a couple of occasions when we ditched together; my mom called in to work and we went out to lunch together.
While my actual memories may be getting dim, I can rely on my journals to fill in some of the gaps. I wrote here and there my freshman and sophomore years. My junior year I made a concerted effort to write every day. I have an unbroken four month stretch from November, 1986, to February, 1987. My senior year I wrote most days while waiting for gym to start seventh hour.
Looking back, I was aware of some historic events. I followed the Bears as they battled it out in the 1986 season. I mention President Reagan a couple of times and talk about the Iran Contra hearings. I’m worried one of my favorite TV shows will be canceled because it is going up against The Cosby Show. I noted the passing of Dezi Arnaz and Cary Grant.
I was in my fourth hour chemistry class sophomore year when some kid from the office came in to tell us the space shuttle had just crashed into the ocean. That didn’t make a lot of sense. My next hour was lunch. A couple of kids I knew had Walkmans that they brought to school. I was standing in line for food and my friend in front of me just held his headphones hard against his ears and kept saying, “no… oh, no…”
However, most of my observations are more personal in nature. I mention at least 37 girls that I have crushes on… sometimes several at once. I talk about getting my shots at the allergist (that gave me a flashback; I had totally forgotten about that Weekly Visit from Hell). I mention my progress on various short stories and poems that I’m working on. I note the reaction I get from my Drugbusters comic strip or some movie we’re planning on making. I mention studying for one thing or another and do mention a couple of teachers by name, even a substitute we had in history class junior year – Mr. Duffy. He made my day on December 3, 1986, because he told us an off-color joke.
A guy gets drunk at an office party. He wakes up the next morning with a terrible hangover and no memory of what happened. So he turns to his wife.
“What happened at the party last night?” he asks.
“You told the boss off,” she replies. “He fired you.”
“Oh yeah?!” cried the guy. “Well, screw him!”
“I did,” replied his wife. “You go back to work on Monday.”
Mostly, I see that I “crapped around” a lot. I’m not exactly sure what this entailed. However, it was both a solitary and team activity. I crapped around with friends (I assume they’re friends because I refer to them by their first names). I also write that I “died” several times during quizzes and “was killed” on occasion in various games in gym class. I think that explains why high school to me seems like an out of body experience!