2013 marks the ten year anniversary of my high school graduation a formal occasion during which our principal tried (unsuccessfully) to stop the assembled crowd of well wishers from cheering every single person as they walked across the stage to get their diploma. Before graduation ,I had briefly considered walking to get mine (I can walk short distances with help) but discarded the idea when I realized the only person I thought could keep from face planting should my legs give was a teacher with a history of heart attacks I didn’t want to be the cause of any extra stress. I don’t remember why but since I was fairly certain they wouldn’t let my mom help either the idea was shelved.
Anyway. our ten year class reunion is this year and (assuming I haven’t already) I’ll miss it. After I left school I swore I”d never return except to get my transcripts if I ever needed them. Ten years later gives you a great deal more perspective (if not more certainly a different one) than you had before. In that vein there are some things I’d like to say to the staff and the rest of students .
Naomi Renae Duke:: Until I met you I felt awkward about the fact that I had been home schooled during middle school and knowing you made me feel less alone. You told me later that knowing me helped prepare you for college, knowing you helped get me through high school, thanks.
David “Rusty” Sadler: I’ve been told you don’t use your birth name anymore and the only reason I’m using it here is because I don’t know how to spell the one you use now. Thank you for telling me I was beautiful the day AFTER senior prom, when all I was wearing was jeans and a t-shirt and no makeup at all. If you do go to the reunion and someone gives you hell remember they are probably just jealous because weren’t even half as awesome as you in high school.
Ms. Shelly Watson: The last school aide I had before you tore me down at every turn, you were her polar opposite. You supported me in everything I ever did while in school. You didn’t have to buy a dress, hose , and shoes for me to wear to junior prom but you did. You didn’t have to buy me a cake (from a bakery no less) for my birthday but you did. As awful as my previous aid had been, that was how wonderful you were.
Mikayla: Yes, we have our differences now but, whatever else we’ve ever fought about in high school you had my back.
To all the people who might have gotten to know me better if I had been a little less standoffish I’m sorry. To anybody who ever bullied me, whether it was to my face or behind my back, I hope you grew up. I hope you no longer feel it necessary to make fun of those weaker than you can make yourself appear strong and if my presence in your life has helped you get to that point I am glad.
That is a picture of my paternal grandparents headstone, I never got to meet either one of them. My dad is the youngest of three boys (I believe there had been a baby girl before my oldest uncle but she was stillborn). I suppose you could say that my father was an ‘oops’. My grandmother Eileen was diabetic and after her second boy, my uncle David, was born she was strongly advised against getting pregnant again due to the impact it could have on her health. I’ve heard rumors that what led to my father’s inception was a birthday present of sorts to my grandfather. When she turned up pregnant again my grandmother’s response was to walk up to my grandfather call him a bastard and slap him across the face so I’m not sure how true the birthday present rumor is. On a side note my grandmother’s reaction has become something of a tradition at least for my folks, I know for sure that was how mom told that she was pregnant with me and I think that maybe how he found out about my younger sisters impending entrance to this world as well.
The doctors were right, the last pregnancy did not do her health any favors, she died with my dad was 10 years old. I am sorry that my sister and I and my cousin never got to know her but at the same time if she had followed medical advice neither me or my sister would be here. From her life I have learned that love is sacrifice and that sacrifice isn’t always bad.
So I’ve been in Ohio a little over a month and as I expected there is a lot that is different now that I live in another state. For instance we currently live in an apartment complex where over half of the residents are 55 and older, that has definitely taken some getting used to. There are several people who are afraid of my Golden retriever, not because he is threatened anybody, he hasn’t, they are afraid of him simply because he is a big dog. I remind myself whenever that happens not to take it personally. There are sidewalks here and a much better bus system then Tennessee.
One of the things I’m still struggling with though is crossing streets. While still in college I was hit by a car while crossing the street while I had the right-of-way. And on that the fact that my debt perception has never been very good and therefore I don’t trust myself to accurately gauge in traffic and the fact that I no longer assume that I’m safe just because I should have the right-of-way in a crosswalk and it is more than a little scary. Even though the mall is right next door (you can see JCPenney from our living room window) I’m still not brave enough to make a trip without my boyfriend because there was a moderately busy street in between our apartment and the mall and I am afraid that I will misjudge traffic and get hurt again. Sundays I think I’m not much braver than Chicken Little, it’s a work in progress I suppose. I miss everybody in Tennessee (well almost everybody) but I think I miss mom the most. Even when I was in college I wasn’t so far away that driving out to see me was a big production and or possible inconvenience, now it is definitely one and more than likely the second I am not sorry I left but I am sorry for the distance and inconvenience it has put between us.