Growing up most of the kids in our neighborhood thought of my parents as the “cool parents”. Not because there weren’t any rules, believe me when both of your parents have served in the military there are rules. They were, and still are, considered cool because they would listen to both my sister and I and any of our friends who came to them with problems. Most of my friends have less than stellar home lives in high school and so my parents and by extension a lot of the rest of my family became anchor points for kids looking for something stable. As it turns out, I know several people who have active drug abuse issues going on through high school. I did not realize this for several years because my friends had enough respect for my parents and their home not to bring those substances around. I know for a fact that for some of my friends my parents acted more like parents to them than their biological mom or dad ever has. This post was inspired because I read a post here that said ” When a teenager says to someonem “your parents are so cool,” it really means, “I don’t realize this now, but later in my adult life, I will look back and judge your cool parents for being so stupidly insecure and permissive.”
I am not saying that some parents that teenagers think are cool aren’t permissive and insecure in their role as parents. I am merely saying that from my experience being known as the “cool parents” doesn’t automatically make you permissive or insecure. Growing up my sister and I were expected to maintain at least a B average in school. We were not punished for getting a C in the subject so long as we had put our best effort forward. Math beyond about seventh grade level in them always has been the bane of my existence no matter what I do therefore a C was acceptable when it happened because they knew I had put every effort into getting the best grades possible. By contrast if I had gotten the same grade in English or History, both subjects which come much easier to me you can bet I heard about it for quite a while. In case my parents do read this and they might because my blog posts are linked to my Facebook, it’s 28 years later, I still think you are the cool parents and I wouldn’t change a thing.
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.
When I was in high school one of my very best friends was the head of the maintenance department. I am pretty sure that nowhere in his employment contract was there a clause stating that he would be asked to function as an impromptu wheelchair mechanic as needed but in spite of that he did so cheerfully. The repairs were never major, just replacing nuts and bolts when they fell out in the middle of the day and minor adjustments because he always had a full set of Allen wrenches handy, and if all else failed there was always the standby of duct tape to get me through the school day.
I had to catch the bus at 6:45 in the morning, breakfast was not nearly as important as sleep. I did my best to have change for the soda machine so I could stay awake during math class. If I didn’t have any Ray could usually find some. For one of my birthdays he and the ladies who worked in the cafeteria bought me a watch (so I didn’t have to keep asking for the time) and put it around a can of Dr. Pepper. I still have the watch.
When I was in school I thought graduation would never come, now it feels like I blinked and there it was. I won’t say that I was sorry to leave because I wasn’t but the intervening years have lent me some perspective and I realize that, as awful as I thought high school was, it could have been much worse. The ceremony was held on the football field and because of my chair I didn’t have to walk all the way down there from the cafeteria I just went straight there. While I was waiting for everyone to get there a man in a suit walked up. I had to look twice to recognize Ray, who I was used to seeing in jeans or overalls. Saturday was his day off but he had come to see graduate and say goodbye. That was definitely not in the employment contract.
You are probably the smartest person anyone in your school knows that probably why most of them don’t talk to you. Ignore those who call you a know it all and say mean things behind your back. I know you’re jealous that Morgans plays hockey and you can’t but Ipromise you that Chris, your sister’s teammate who also is also in choirwith you will make the bullies regret picking on you, trust me. Speaking of choir eventually the school will try to tell you that you cannot stay after school to practice for the Christmas show even though it is part of your grade. They will assure you that they will not let the teacher penalize you for not being there, refused to except it. You’ll be better off if you stay after school, you might even become more than just passing acquaintances with most of your classmates. Talk to Paul Holloway more, his time is shorter than anyone thinks and not knowing him better will be one of the biggest regrets after high school. Keep in touch with Damien he has a good friend. Don’t begrudge your mom the time spread talking on the phone to Nathan about sheep, she needs the advice and he will not let you be forgotten I promise. Sometimes it may seem hopeless, hang in there better days are coming.. You’ll find a man and woman who love you for your self. Write your book, it is going to take far longer than anybody including you want to think about so start now. Above all don’t give up, in the next 13 years your life will strange so drastically that you almost will recognize your self at 27 as even remotely resembling the person you are now and most of the changes will be positive.
I’m not actually talking about the act of singing, although that is definitely good for you. I’m actually referring to the song Sing. If someone had told me when I was in high school.I would like bands like My Chemical Romance I would have probably laughed in their face, that was more my sister’s thing. It’s amazing how people can change between high school and college. In the current world where it is easy to think that one voice doesn’t matter the song reminds people that revolutions can and do start with a single voice struggling to be heard above the mass of popular opinion. One voice can change the world. When did we forget that?
Believe it or not this is actually a positive post so nobody need feel obligated to try and cheer me up I’m fine. Loser like me is actually a song off of the TV show Glee (I am a choir geek remember) but it isn’t a cover of someone else’s work it’s actually an original piece written for the show. I’m sure you could probably find it on Pandora if Glee songs regularly show up in one of your channel. The absolute highest praise I can give is that I wish this song had been around when I was in high school I would’ve been singing it every day and to heck with people who said I was off key, though back in the day that didn’t happen as much as it does now.
I may have mentioned (a lot) that my high school experience was not all that I wished it had been.One of the things I really liked both of my junior and senior proms I had a boyfriend who I did not deserve and it was due in large part to him that both of those events are good memories. This story is not about him though. In my senior year there was a young man who I’ve shared several classes with and who unlike everyone else usually said hi to me every morning and smiled at me. We were by no means good friends but because he was in show choir and the general chorus and show choir always did one show together at Christmas we were on friendly speaking terms. The evening, while memorable for the decorations and lights was equally memorable for its awkwardness. That night I discovered how goldfish must feel in a fishbowl. The rest of the kids there seem to think that the fact that my boyfriend and I (who was also in a wheelchair) were there was something of a novel oddity. I think I heard at least one person term the way in which we danced “cute” I had to restrain the urge to punch that person.
In one of the lulls when we decided to sit down and snack I heard someone call my name and turned around to find the guy who I shared economics class and sometimes the stage with holding a camera, other than my boyfriend I think he was the only person who called me beautiful that night. He took our picture and even complimented me the next morning despite the fact that I was no longer wearing makeup and a gown and gloves. Several people talked to me the night of our prom and even more talked about me, but very few talked to me the next Monday when I was back in jeans and a T-shirt.
Fast-forward (almost) 10 years. Good authority has it that he has become she in the intervening years, no this does not surprise me it was fairly obvious which side of the fence he was on in high school. I have made the decision to attend my ten-year high school reunion if at all possible, a thing that I swore I would never do the second I walked offstage with my diploma. I will go because she deserves all the support I can give her if she decides to show up. I would like to think my classmates and I are grown-up enough not to harass someone for lifestyle choices but honestly I’m not sure, we are talking about the South after all. All I know is that if the situation hits the fan I will be there to defend her in any way I have to. I owe her for the moral support I got from him in high school. The song Just The Way You Are is now in my head, in a way it fits. One of the things I learned in school, choir kids stick together no matter what.