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Monday, August 13, 2012

High School...not just Novel Fodder

Okay, first off, wow. I guess I took the summer and apparently some of the spring off as well from writing on the old blog. Let's just call me busy...ya, busy. I've been a little off in my writing persona of late, busy is just the tip of that iceberg.

This past week my family and I took our 'last ditch before school starts' family vacation down to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Never been to Alabama, will definitely go back. Now, aside from the colorful (yes, that is a pun) history, it is an absolute natural treasure. The trees, the water, the countryside in general (minus the man-eating alligator gar) is something I could easily travel back to explore over and over. Conveniently one of my school peers married a man from Jasper, Alabama- which is exactly half way between my house and the white beaches of the gulf. So, driving to and from the shore was made a bit more bearable by being able to stop and see Hea-Hoo. On the way down, she made my family dinner and we got to sit and chat with her family and it was a great, but all too short visit. On the way back up, it was just me and the kids- the hubby had to leave days earlier to head back to work. Another friend, Nacho (Hea-Hoo's BFF) had traveled in from the east, so we had a mini-reunion of sorts. Now, I've known Hea-Hoo since grade school, albeit, we never ran in the same playground circles. I've always thought fondly of her as she has some qualities I've wished I myself had, and possibly over the years have cultivated in myself due to this wonderful person's ability to let them shine through. Nacho, on the other hand, I've never really known except by name and face. Of course now, twenty plus years later, I've had the opportunity to get to know them via...wait for it.... facebook. So, it was great to get and stop and spend time with them! My kids (teenagers) also really love Hea-Hoo by the way, mainly for her witty stories and odd fear of little people, but also because of her crazy little dog Cubby.

One gigantic confirmation of an idea occurred to me after this weekend. This idea has been rolling around and percolating in my brain over the last few years, particularly as I meet up and talk to friends and folks who graduated with me. My version of high school is in fact, some sort of wacked-out Grease meets cheesy Sweet Valley High scenario. Unfortunately for me, the reality seems to have been much more interesting. While I was mooning over exotic older trumpet players and reading tons of non-required literature other people were out having sex and smoking pot! What a crazy idea, right?! Now, don't get me wrong, I did do some things I'm not proud of as a forty-year old, but I guess they were all pretty tame. I also lost my father to cancer during my junior year, which I think is a contributing factor to my glossy memory of my high school days. In fact, I'm sure if I had a shrink, they'd tell me this same thing. I remember things like dancing around my bedroom listening to Wham! and writing hopelessly romantic and G-rated (okay, maybe PG at times) poetry. I remember eating the cardboard and grease pizza and staring at boys from across the crowded cafeteria. I, not so fondly, recall going to dances where I stood on the wall listening to Air Supply and enviously watching girls with boyfriends dance all the slow songs. I never ditched school to go do anything cool, the extent of my bad-girl activities involved missing an extra part of a period to grab a soda with 'The Sax' on our approved excursion to get our high-school paper from the local printer. Enough said; my glory day memories revolve around band and advanced chem class experiments. I'm slowly finding out that school was way more interesting that my introverted perspective. Apparently there were parties, drama, illegal substances, and going further than french kissing at the beach.

Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with my Pleasantville perspective; nope, not a thing. But I do think I'd have much better novel fodder if I'd been paying attention back in the day. I have this one friend on Facebook, who was never really a friend in high school. I keep her in my Facebook world to remind me of what crazy looks like. She is constantly spouting off about how damaged she was growing up in this same town, around these same people. I find it interesting how her high school years have colored a huge part of her outlook on life in general, while I can barely remember it. She goes on and on about how backward and 'small town' our hometown can be and that it is the root of all known evil. I'm not sure what happened to her back there in that time and place, I mean, I can't even remember some folks without cracking the old yearbook to see a face and jog a memory. Obviously she has a heaping pile of fodder for her creative outlets. I have to say I'm a little jealous of her passion, as negative as it is, because she has it, while I have to invent mine.

So, the moral of this story is, well, I'm not exactly sure. I just found it interesting. In fact, I'm really thinking I need to either talk to a shrink (so I can see if I have any interesting repressed memories) or just continue to meet up with my old high school cronies and listen to stories of the past.

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