Sunday, July 6, 2014

Life Story: High School Memories

Senior yearbook picture
At the end of this week I'll be attending my 30th high school reunion. Yes, it makes me feel so very old. But remember, I'm still that 17 year old band geek that I was in high school, forever and always.

So this week, in order to mentally prepare myself to go back in time, I thought I'd do a few 80s posts, maybe share some pictures, music, I don't know. We'll see what pops out.

But today, I'll begin with an overall high school memory post. First of all, I must say I don't get it when people look back on high school and moan and groan. I thought it was all a blast. Mostly. I mean, yes, there was drama. Yes, I struggled with self-esteem. Yes, there were hard bits. But mostly, it was really an awesome time.

My friend and I during band.
I hung with two different crowds in high school. First and foremost, I was a band geek. I can't remember if we used that term in those days, but that was definitely what I was! I played the clarinet and loved it. I went to all the games and played in the pep band, both at home and away. If we weren't playing at the away games, I went to cheer the team on anyway... with my band buddies. We did everything together. I had one friend who was NOT in the band and finally, our senior year, she caved and joined the band and played the triangle and bells in the percussion section. She always said it was the best the thing she ever did.

My other crowd (and the two crowds did have a fair amount of cross over) was the honor student group. Back then, we were called the Brainiacs... or some such thing. I never truly felt like a "brain" but I was in the honor classes, and the AP classes, and I did get all A's (mostly!) and I was in the top of the class. However, there were SO MANY more people smarter and better and more brainy than me. They all got the scholarships, and were crowned Sterling Scholars and were recognized by all the school. I was on the sidelines. Which was quite alright by me.

Because I was also very shy, much like I still am today, and rarely talked unless I had to. Except with the band friends who saw me a little more...relaxed... shall we say. At home I was not quiet at all. I was the oldest of huge family (baby number 8 was born at the end of my sophomore year.. and he wasn't the last) and I was as bossy and obnoxious as you might imagine.

My family at Disneyland the summer before I was
a Junior. I'm not in the picture because I'm
taking the picture!

My time in high school can be divided up into the three distinct years. Here's my impression of those years:

Sophomore Year: This was a hard year. I felt like I had no friends, even though I did. I remember crying a lot. I wanted to be noticed and liked. Sound familiar? I think it took most of this year to find myself and feel okay about it. I loved my English class and remember doing a report on Patty Hearst, and learning about Thomas Hardy and falling in love with Arthur Dimsdale from The Scarlet Letter and Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities. But, I but the best teacher I ever had, pretty much in all my high school years, was Mr. Felt for World History that year. He made things come alive. He ACTED out lessons and taught us so much. Tests were even fun to take!

Junior Year: This was the year I finally came out of my shell a little and learned how to flirt. Not by talking much, but smiling a lot. My friend and I took a Physics class FULL of senior boys and we couldn't get over how much fun that was. I went to my first dance at Christmas and pretty much didn't miss a dance after that. Yes, it was fun! What's this about high school being  a drag? Fun, I tell you! We partied with the band geeks almost every weekend (and by  party, I mean watch a movie at someone's house because those VCR machines? Oh my word, they were the cool new thing!) I continued to enjoy my history class with yet another most awesome teacher. We went to the Model UN and represented Libya. Now if you don't think that was interesting! I also took anthropology this year and absolutely loved it.

Graduation Day
With my then boyfriend, now husband!
(Though it would be three years before
we got married!)

 Senior Year: Things started getting drama filled this year. I started dating a certain boy the second half of the year who would end up my husband. Serious stuff falling in love during high school! Serious stuff! I was still very involved in band, but also in a service club, the French Club, and the National Honors Society. I played in the pit for Hello Dolly and supported my fellow band members in a bunch of concerto nights and jazz band concerts and such. There was always something happening. Always. And despite the drama and the sudden serious take on the whole love life... senior year was, yes... fun!

With my friends the summer before senior year.
(I'm in the navy blue if you can't pick me out!)
All (almost anyway) wearing our shrink to fit Levis!
And sporting our permed hair which was looking especially
fine after a weekend at the lake!
More random high school tidbits:

  • we wore shrink to fit Levi Strauss jeans and Izod polo shirts, perfect for my fashion sense!
  • denim jackets were also very cool and I never had one
  • permed hair was in, even for the boys
  • Return of the Jedi came out the end of my Junior year and I don't remember ever being more excited about a movie as I was for that one! Getting Han Solo out of that carbonite? Finally! Oh my word.
  • I watched the last episode of MASH even though I'd never really watched the series, because, wow, that was a thing too.
  • we loved to go get shakes and french fries and pizza. I'm guessing that hasn't changed a whole lot in 30 years.
Well, enough memories for now. I'll post more 80s stuff this week. Stay tuned.


  1. Loved reading this! No wonder we've become quick friends -- we are very much alike! I wasn't in band (played the piano and cello) but music was a huge part of my life, as were lots of honor classes. And shy as can be (still am in a lot of ways). I loved all the 80's mentions -- I graduated in '88 so I remember a lot of it so well! Have an awesome time at your reunion!

    1. Gayle: I thought you were WAY younger than me. You're only a little younger! :) The 80s were a blast.

  2. I adore this post Suey! Such fun memories and so many things I can relate to here. Although my senior year was my least drama-filled year, my others match up pretty closely. Oh the tears! And the frustration! And feeling invisible! Being the oldest child and loud at home but quiet at school. Though my permed hair was a bit earlier than yours--6th grade for me. Honestly I am NOT looking forward to going through teenage years again via my children. Can't we just skip over those times? LOL! I hope your reunion is a great one.



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