What was and what would never be

August 27, 2013

highschool

I really wouldn’t mind being just a little more buzzed as I write this because, you see, I have been prompted to ponder that thing that happened in high school that changed my life forever. I could pinpoint a few incidents* that more directly concern school time itself and the people I knew. But if it is to be boiled down to a basic essence, the only correct response is The Move.

Ohio

From the time I was one and a half until I turned fifteen (or, more precisely, until two days before I turned fifteen), I lived in a small town in northwestern Ohio. We all were friends to one degree or another, and the way the nucleus divided into various functions as we grew up seemed only natural. I can’t say they’re all completely fond memories, but I remember a lot of things very vividly. (1)

If you actually scrolled down to read the list, you can see it didn’t take long to get to boys. That’s probably because I hadn’t been long into puberty when we moved to Wisconsin.

Wisconsin

On the surface it seemed like The Move would be a good thing. I was well-familiar with the (larger) town because one set of grandparents lived there and every summer we’d visit for two weeks. A girl my age lived next door to my grandparents and we had become friends over the years, so I wasn’t starting from scratch. To this day I’m up for a good adventure and at first, then, that’s what it was.

It was a familiar, yet still new, place. I had the summer to hang out with my friend. We could spend more time together doing the things we liked—listening to music, walking to a nearby stream, teasing the boy on the other side of her house.

My sophomore year, my first school year there was a gas. I went from a class of 80 to a class of 750. It was all big and different and exciting. I made some friends and had decent kids in my classes. It was alright and I even ended up with a boyfriend by the end of the year. He had an old red Ford pickup truck. That’s not particularly important but I remember it. Well, okay, I lost my virginity in it.

The aftermath

During my junior year things went to pot. The big, different, exciting just seemed big and different. I began to resent having been yanked away from my childhood and friends and possibilities. I always refer to it as yanked away, even thinking about it thirty-five years later. I acted out in the typical ways. My circle of friends changed to parentally-perceived less desirable kids, including my second boyfriend, mainly because they weren’t that first boyfriend whom I had broken up with but whom my mom couldn’t let go of. I dared to stay out all night. I got drunk with friends who were in college (drinking age was 18 at the time). I smoked pot with a boy two years younger (a lifetime of difference in high school!). My grades dropped.

The other best friend of my original girlfriend got together with my first boyfriend, and my own new (post-move) best friend got together with my second boyfriend before we were out of school. As far as I know, both couples are still together. My mom is still friends with the first-boyfriend-circle of my former friends.

Meanwhile, I maintained a healthy correspondence with my Ohio friends, not only with my two best girlfriends BG and DH (sorry, gals, I’m going with maiden names) but with RB as well. (2) So I got all the lowdown on who was getting together with whom and how I was missing out on it all, which only cause me to feel that it should have been me but that never could be. It poured gasoline on the fire of my feelings of separation. I was sad and resentful and behaved like it.

My best friend BG in Ohio got me a senior yearbook and, bless her heart, took it around for everyone to sign. And bless their hearts, even former adversaries obliged. Of course, all the boys I had had crushes on were long gone (they had all been one and two years older than me), but everyone else was very nice about it. It should be telling that the only class reunions I’ve ever gone to (or attempted to go to—one year I drove all the way from Wisconsin to Ohio but chickened out once I got to the supper club parking lot)—were the Ohio ones. I haven’t kept in touch with anybody from Wisconsin (though I do occasionally “research” people online).

Redemption

I was able to let go of a lot of it after I attended the fifteen-year class reunion of my Ohio school. Those were the people I still cared about the most and seeing many of them finally put to rest some unresolved feelings about the whole moving situation. There’s no going back (well, there was a little bit of going back with SB, that first kiss in fifth grade), but I was thrilled that they remembered me and seemed to still like me—even my adversaries who, it turns out, claimed not to remember most of my evil, song lyric-leaving deeds. It was the same sort of experience at the twenty-fifth-year reunion. And by then I had taken up golf, so once again it was easy to hang out with the boys.

There are many more related stories I could add to this on both sides of The Move but I think you get the idea. Does anybody know anything about RB?

(1)

Fingerpainting in nursery school in the Methodist Church.

LG encouraging me to drop my shorts and pee in the bushes alongside the Methodist Church. I wouldn’t pull my pants down but I peed anyway.

My mom picking some purple lilacs from the back yard and all the little white bugs that scattered out of them when she put them in water.

Being still required to take a nap and when I got up, discovering that all the neighborhood kids were playing on my swing set and my mom yelling at them.

Being told by TM while running a race in our late-gradeschool “Olympics” that I ran fast for someone with short legs.

SA mistaking my art class collage for his, and wrecking my neatly painted black border. LEM chiding me for retying my pigtails myself.

Being kept in from recess in fourth grade to be admonished by my teacher to play with girls more, looking at her with great earnestness, and declaring, “But Mrs Kelsey, I don’t like girls!”

Following that incident up with drawing a diagram of the playground and mapping out in different magic marker colors the different routes that my boy friends and I would take to our secret meeting behind the baseball field backstop.

Receiving my first boy-kiss ever from SB just beyond that backstop while wearing a dress with a gold top and turquoise plaid skirt.

Having to ride with LK to bowling on Saturday mornings, only he always drifted toward the center line and scared the wits out of me.

Playing the Eagles’ “New Kid in Town” on the bowling alley jukebox and wanting to be a bass player more than anything.

Having my sixth grade teacher set me up with RB who had been in her class the year before, for the start of what would be an ongoing, very adversarial, love-hate friendship.

Going out for track in 8th grade only because I had a raging crush on BW, a sophomore, which became awkward because he and RB were good enough friends and RB was also a (legitimate) runner.

Hours spent bike riding around town with RB.

Leaving song lyrics in the lockers of crushes and adversaries in order to convey my feelings, I’m sure not as anonymously as I thought.

In junior high having my best friend push me into boys I liked, such as BW.

Endless summer days spent at the pool with my friends, always with CKLW AM radio on the PA to entertain us.

(2) I suppose it’s telling that I gave you initials of the people in Ohio but not of the Wisconsinites.

*I’ve touched on related subjects to varying degrees previously in this blog, and if I hadn’t had to migrate services it would be a lot easier to find those references and link to them (though I did find this one and this one). On the other hand it’s been a couple years since I wrote regularly, so I guess I won’t beat myself up for repeating some things, and it will come out differently second time around anyway.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: