Category Archives: high school

Locked Out

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When I was growing up, my mom stayed at home with me. I always had a hot breakfast (unless I demanded Raisin Bran), always had snacks & dinner waiting when I got home, and always had a mom available during the day to come to school parties or pick me up if I got sick. Not that being a stay at home mom itself made her a good mom – I work outside the home and I’m a good mom – I’m just making the point that she was present – always at my beck and call.

Once I got into junior high, however, she stopped being quite as available. Which is fine – she had a right to a life – but it was more of a problem in 1980 than it is today. Remember – there were no cell phones, so if she wasn’t in the house and I or the school called – she couldn’t be reached. At times, I liked this. I loved the solitude of coming home to an empty house. I enjoyed following the recipes she left for me and getting dinner started. I felt grown up.

But at other times, I hated it. Like when I forgot something that I needed. Or if I wanted to go to a meeting or a friend’s house after school and couldn’t reach her to get her permission (I knew better than to just go). It was frustrating and there were times I resented her not being there (for many reasons). I learned to call my grandma (her mother) when I wanted to go somewhere, because Gram would always tell me yes and would stand up to my mother if she had a problem with it (Gram was – and at 92 – still is a badass).

My first year of junior high, I didn’t use the bathroom in school. I was terrified of stories (urban legends, really) of hazing that I heard went on in the bathrooms. So usually, by the time I got home, off the bus, and walked half a mile to my house (none of that right out front bus stop stuff back then), I usually had to pee relay bad. Really, REALLY bad. I would run into the house, drop my books all over the place (backpacks in those days were NOT cool), run like hell to the bathroom, and pee for about 5 straight minutes.

But one day, I got home and the door was locked. This was 1980 in a small town – we rarely locked our doors. But this day, for some reason, my mom did. So when I rushed down the walk & slammed into the door, only to find it locked, I pretty much lost it immediately. In addition to having to pee, I was tir4ed and freezing. There was about 8 inches of snow on the ground.

I immediately tried to get in a window, but my dad had recently painted them and they were stuck. We had a neighbor next door (the other neighbors were a lot further away) that we were friendly with and for a second, I thought about running over there, but I knew that I didn’t have time. I wouldn’t make it. And a millisecond later, it happened. I started to pee myself. Having a full bladder after avoiding the bathroom all day, I couldn’t stop it. And it went on and on. I was mortified. 30+ years and a couple of kids later, I wouldn’t even blink, but back then, I was filled with shame, even though there was no one around to see it. And since it was clear I had had a “potty” accident, there was no way I was going to the neighbors now. I just stood there, crying my eyes out and wondering what to do.

And for some reason, in my 12 or 13 year old mind, the solution was to sit in the snow. I guess I figured that if my pants were wet all over, it wouldn’t be obvious what had happened. So I did it. I sat down, already wet, in the almost foot deep snow. I rolled around. I let myself get good and wet. And when I was satisfied that I had camouflaged the problem, I got up & realized that I still didn’t know what to do. I stood there freezing, wet and tired and ashamed and cried some more.

Eventually, I found a tool my dad had left on the porch and used it to work at the dried paint around the window. I climbed in & immediately ran to my room to change. I was mad at my mom for not being there, mad at myself for not being able to hold it, mad at the hazers in the bathrooms that kept me from going in. I threw my pants in the washing machine (which was something I never did – my mom handled ALL the laundry) and jumped in the tub. My mom came home a few minutes later and I claimed I was cold and wanted a hot bath. I told her I threw the laundry in because I just wanted to help out.

As much as I wanted to yell and scream at her for not being there (and a lot of my anger went further than what had just happened – I was really mad at her not for not being there, but for being somewhere else), my shame was greater. So I kept my mouth shut. I never told her what had happened – how her not being there affected me. Instead, I just started getting hall passes and going to the bathroom during class. And I asked for a house key so I’d never get locked out again.

This post is part of Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop

Picture It, High School, 1984

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This morning, the TV was on in the background as I was getting ready, and I heard someone say the words, “Impossible Dream” and BOOM! A memory popped right into my head:

He was Don Quixote. I was the Moorish girl. It was our first run-through of the scene. The Moorish girl dances and tries to seduce Quixote. She twirls around him, teasing him with her veil. She stands with her back against his chest, swaying seductively, and then…

Holy Shit!

It said something like “She takes his right hand and places it on her right breast. She takes his left hand and places it on her left breast.”

No really –Holy Shit!

Of course, we tried to be very professional about it and not even react. But we also realized that we were in a high school production and hands on breasts would never fly. So we improvised and wrapped his arms around me until he was holding me from behind. We thought we did an awesome job with it until we heard, “CUT!”

We were both thinking that we couldn’t believe that she was going to tone that down. I mean, come ON! We were all adults here (sort of). And then our seriously batshit crazy (not even kidding – she was insane) drama teacher said,

“It says she places his hand on her breast, not her waist. She is seducing him, not cuddling with him!”

Blank stares from us. Giggles from everyone else.

“Oh cut it out! Act like grown-ups for Pete’s sake! This is called acting! It’s not like it’s a relationship! She puts his hands on her BREASTS!

About six hours later (and for the next several months), we were practicing that scene in the backseat of his car. And his room. And the back of the auditorium. And the dressing room. And the…well, you get the picture.

Unblocking, Part 1

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OK, I am taking your suggestions and trying to unblock myself. Allison asked about high school, so I’ll start there.

There are people who loved high school and people who hated it. I fall somewhere in between. I did mostly enjoy those years, but not in the way that it was my peak in life (and you know we all know those folks). And there were things about it that I hated, though I am not the type of person who doesn’t go to reunions because I was miserable and still hate those people (although there are a few).

Friends:
It seems like everything about me in school was pretty average and that’s OK with me. I wasn’t popular, but I wasn’t an outcast. When I was in grade school, and junior high, I was friends with the girls who became the popular crowd, but there were a few that joined up with that group that drove kind of a wedge. They were the mean girls. I can remember being pushed out of the group by them in their not-so-subtle way – they would sit at the lunch table and make plans that didn’t include me. I understand now that my friends were probably afraid to buck the routine and never made a point of speaking up and including me, but it still hurt. I stuck around for a long time because of the ones that were truly friends, but eventually, I started hanging out with a group of girls a year older. And one day, the Mean Girls gave me an ultimatum – us or them. Considering that “us” was a bunch of bitches who didn’t include me anyway and “them” was a group of girls who always made me feel welcome, it’s not hard to guess who I chose. Of course, “them” graduated the next year and I was alone again.

My friends remained my friend, but our social circles grew a little apart. Not that I really had a social circle. I was friends with a lot of different people, but I never really had a group of friend. I had several very close friends, but they weren’t all friends with each other. So I would hang out with a good friend and her (or his) friends.

I also had a lot of situational friends. During swim season, I hung out with the team. During football season, it was the majorettes. I was a gymnast for part of those years, so I had my gym friends. There was French club and our trip to Europe. I had the school newspaper friends. I was a geek, too – a member of the chemistry, biology and physics club. It was nice to have such a diverse group of friends but sometimes I wished I had a group of friends – that I actually fit in somewhere. Of course, who didn’t feel that way at some point? I still have some of the same great friends, like Tee and Hedge, who have been my best friends since early childhood and Rapunzel who I knew all though school, but only as an acquaintance and who has since become a dear friend.

Boys:
In a small town and small school, there was no “dating”. There were boyfriends and girlfriends (And the occasional one-night stand) (Not that Hedge or I have any idea about that) (HAHAHAHAHAHA). I can remember watching The Brady Bunch and seeing how they went on dates and asked each other out, and I was amazed and intrigued by hat. Because in my school, you went to a dance or a party or the game and you kissed him behind the bleachers and then he was your boyfriend. It didn’t have to last a long time – 3 days, a week, a month – but during that time, you were a couple.

Even back then I liked older men, though I couldn’t really get away with dating them often. My first kiss was when I was in 8th grade (I was a bit of a late bloomer, but once I bloomed? Hoo-boy) and he was in 10th – my first older man. I was so nervous, since I was the last of my friends. I remember walking with him to his wrestling practice at the gym after school, knowing that I was going to get a kiss, knowing that I had to get back I time for my bus, and being scared shitless. I can clearly remember the feeling of walking back to the buses when it was over, feeling like my feet weren’t even touching the ground. But after the novelty wore off, it became apparent that he slobbered. I didn’t like that.

My next boyfriend was my age and was the one I think of as my first love, albeit puppy love. He moved away and I was devastated. After that, I mostly stuck to the older “men”. My first sexual experience was with a guy several years older (with “relax – don’t do it” on the radio at the exact moment). We were in the musical together and I fell hard. It was a really happy time until it fizzled out (on his end). It took me a long, long time to get over that one. I had one long term boyfriend who was a friend that I loved a lot. But there was something always not right and I think it was that I felt for him more as a friend than a boyfriend. But at that age, it was hard to distinguish between the two and we were on and off all through school – with it not being quite right when we were together and yet not quite right when we were apart.

The boyfriend from my senior year was my age. He was hot and fun and OMG the sex. Weirdly, people often told us we looked alike. Once, a new girl came to the school and asked him out. She told her he was flattered, but brought up me as the reason why he couldn’t. She said, “Why would your sister care?” It was a good, healthy (and HOT) relationship. Alas, I went off to college and he stayed home and our lives diverged. If we had met at a later time in life, it could have been something.

Oh – and also – at one point, I dated Hedge’s husband (her husband now – she wasn’t married in jr high – we’re not that rednecked, you freaks). Anyway, you might think it would be weird for one BFF to have previously dated the other’s husband, but it’s not because a) it was a long, long time ago, b) it was before I discovered sex, so there’s no ick factor, and c) neither one of us like him anymore.

Bullies:
I never really had to deal with girl bullies. I mean – we had the mean girls, but I just thought they were bitches and didn’t give a fuck. Bt there were a group of boys who were horrible to me. I don’t know what they had against me, but they made my life hell for a few years. They threw things at me. They called me terrible names. They egged my house. I never did anything to warrant it. I never dated any of them, I never had an argument with any of them, I never looked sideways at any of them. So I never understood. Plus the most evil one was a shrimpy little fuckweasel that couldn’t pick on boys, lest he get his ass kicked, so he went to who he thought would be easier to bully (I was outspoken, but I hadn’t yet learned the fine arts of not giving a shit and ass-kicking). There were days and days and days that I went home and cried my eyes out over the way they treated me.

If it happened to my daughter, I would tell her that they were jealous because she didn’t date any of them, but I don’t’ want to sound vain. OK – I’m going to go ahead and sound vain – they hated that I wasn’t interested in them. Seriously – that’s the only thing I can think of. Because in between bouts of evil, every single one of them came on to me at one time or another (and one tried to take it a little further more than once – I’ll tell you that story another day). Assholes. And I am not embarrassed to say that I revel in the fact that they are all losers now. I mean, not just asshole losers, but big, life failure losers. Loser alcoholics that spend all their time in bars and have no families and no life beyond the bar stool. The kind with red noses and slurred words and sad, depressing existences. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Yeah – it may be cold, but fuck that noise. To this day, I won’t repeat the “pet name” they called me, because it still hurts to remember. And the evil little fuckweasel? He used to spit on me!! And the one with the story for later? To this day I wonder how many women he’s at least attempted to rape. I once heard that he was an actual in-the-gutter wino and I didn’t feel even a tiny bit if sympathy. In fact, I cheered for the gutter.

Me in general:
I was the class clown. Always goofing off. But I was generally a good kid. I worked hard and got good grades (duh – Physics Club). A few teachers (the tightwads with control issues) didn’t like me much, but the ones who got past the clown and saw the real me inside were awesome. Some of them had an incredible impact on my life and to this day I am grateful.

I was never a cheerleader/football team type. Instead, I was a majorette and had a great time hanging out with the band. We had parties and went on trips and brought bourbon in thermoses and took joints to Sea World. We used to alter our uniforms to be sexier. And we almost set ourselves ablaze twirling fire batons.

I was a diver on the swim team. I loved it and I was pretty good. Once in a while they needed me as a fill-in swimmer for the 100 backstroke (which I kind of liked and didn’t come in last on every time) and the freestyle relay (during which I had a heart attack and died every single time).

I never thought I was particularly pretty, but I knew I had a great body. I can say that now because I haven’t seen that body for many, many years. I had an hourglass figure with a tiny waist and big boobs. I wore teeny tiny French string bikinis and got my revenge on those bullies. But one time someone – a grown man – called my house and tried to proposition me. He said he was the man that owned the local pool and made up some story about a beauty contest at the pool. When he called he asked for my mom who was home but had me say she wasn’t (she thought it was friend she was avoiding) and once he discovered that, he went into his spiel about how today was the deadline to register and that I had to audition and that he could come pick me up. I got really scared and dropped the phone and screamed for my mom. She went to the pool and spoke with the owners and raised all kind of hell. That was a big “loss of innocence” moment for me. I knew that looking like I did had an effect on boys, but I didn’t realize that t could bring me the wrong kind of attention, too.

I was mostly a nice person. I didn’t bully people, I wasn’t a Mean Girl, and I had friends in every color, shape and size. But I wasn’t perfect. Once, when I was getting ready for the big freshman dance, my boyfriend (Hedge’s husband) showed up with a big wrist corsage. He came from a different school that year and at that school, they had wrist corsages. But at out school we didn’t. We had regular ones. And this was at the height of needing to fit in. And to add to my horror, it was HUGE. I mean, it took up my entire forearm. I cried and said I wasn’t wearing it and stomped upstairs. My mom almost killed me and she fixed it up and I apologized and everything was fine. But to this day, I still feel bad about that, because that was not the way I normally behaved. I don’t know what came over me, but I remember it clearly. The good thing is that it stuck with me and made me a better person in the long run. I never acted like that again. Once, I told Hedge that story and said I feel bad every time I see her husband because of it. But then she reminded me that we don’t like him and that he is “The Asshole Ruiner of her Youth”, so I let it go.

And for a while, I was “the other woman”. I had a friends-with-benefits relationship with a guy who had a girlfriend. I knew it was wrong and I didn’t care. I never had a boyfriend when it went on, and I wouldn’t have. But somehow I didn’t seem to care about his side. I guess I figured she was his responsibility and not mine. I think part of it was that he was my boyfriend and few years before and we broke up, due to interference on the girlfriend’s (and her Mean Girl friend’s part). Neither of us knew it at the time, so we broke up (both thinking that it was the other’s idea – teenagers are not so great at communication) and we were both sad and moved on. And a couple years later we sat in class (physics, of course) where we always flirted, and he made a joking reference to me breaking it off. And then I said, oh no – that was you. And then we finally talked and figured out what really happened. And I think at that moment, we both made a decision. Because it wasn’t long after that that we started having a not so secret affair. It was on and off for quite a while and I never felt guilty about it. I still don’t, really. And believe me – I am hard on cheaters. But you know what? We were kids. And we had been screwed over by the “victim.” And we ended up having a really great friendship. I saw him at the last reunion and it was like it hadn’t been 20 years (you know – except for the sex part). So, whatever.

I was always involved in chorus and singing. I sang solos in every concert from 7trh grade to 12th. I was a big fish in a little pond. When I went off to college, I discovered that. Thank God American idol wasn’t around then, because I would have tried out thinking I was awesome and had a rude awakening on national TV.

And that’s pretty much high school. There were things that I hated and things that I loved. Would I do it again? NO WAY. Now college? I’d do that again.

Thursday Thirteen

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I’m jumping on the Thursday Thirteen train, since I can barely think of anything to say Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday…you get the picture. Anyway:

Thirteen Things I was thinking about my senior year of high school

1. Acid Rain. Remember that? I mean, I know it still exists and all, but back in the 70s and 80s, it was a hot topic. It was my teenaged generation’s global warming. And since I was all about the environment (you know, like, as long as I didn’t have to like stop driving my ‘vette [it was of the “che-“ variety], or eating Quarter Pounders in their Styrofoam containers, or stop burning a giant hole in the ozone layer with my daily half-can of Aqua-net) and wanted to save the Earth, my senior chemistry project was on acid rain. My partner and I got three plants and three goldfish and used distilled water, tap water and rain water for each. It was pretty cool, but I started feeling bad for acidfish and saved him. And “extrapolated” his condition for the last two weeks.

2. How awesome my rack looked. Except for in my swim team bathing suit. NOT flattering. Also not flattering? A diver being made to swim and almost drowning.

3. How unique (and not at all pretentious) I was by singing Papa Can You Hear Me in the spring concert, and Gesu Bambino in the Christmas concert. Entirely in Italian.

4. I can drink in Europe. Legally!! When do we leave?

5. What toiletries can I replace with booze and go unnoticed on the band Disney trip.

6. I am not in the band. I’m a majorette. Big difference. And my uniform is so gay.

7. Sex!!

8. Steve Perry is a genius.

9. Getting the best prom gown, ever. Because if I have to sing that crap, Ice Castles, I’m damned well going to look good. Of course, if my jackass boyfriend would listen to me and realize that white tuxes are what jackasses wear, I’d look even better.

10. Tom Selleck is a FOX. See – I haven’t changed that much.

11. I wonder what Old Grandad tastes like mixed with kool-aid. Hedge?

12. I’m so glad I can eat anything I want and not get fat.

13. College is gonna be a breeze!