As always, I encourage you to take your time with the article.
It's June as I write this article...That means that school is coming to an end. For some, it's only for the Summer. For others, it's forever. Memories of school can stay with you forever...Those memories vary from person to person, though.
A leitmotif in my articles has been my dealings with my school days. I've often talked about the problems I've had to deal with during those times. Today, though, I have decided to think of 5 positive things from my school days. I hope my memory is good enough.
The first positive memory I have is meeting early-90s freestyle singer Laura Enea back in the 11th grade.
I've tried to distance myself from most 90s music, but I'll gladly embrace 90s dance music in all its' forms, and freestyle was one of my favorites. It's difficult to recount how I was first introduced to Enea's music, but I know it was my teacher who first mentioned it to me.
One of the aides to my teacher was a hot little number who, if I remember correctly, was named Lisa. She was in her 40s, but she looked at least 2 decades younger. Unlike most of the aides we had, she was good-looking and cool, dressing like she was heading to a dance club even though she was instead helping out a variety of teenagers, myself included, with various levels of damage, and allowing us to call her by her first name.
Anyway, one day, my teacher gave me some papers and told me to walk outside and meet a teacher who needed them. I walked outside and saw Lisa there, standing alongside another good-looking teacher. I handed her the papers, and we had a very brief conversation, since I did have to get back to class. I walked back in, and my teacher told me that I handed papers to Laura Enea.
Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I only wish I had thought to ask for an autograph.
Onward to the second positive memory.
Our high school teachers were hard-asses a lot of the time. For example, even though only a few of us had personal hygeine issues, they would gather us into one classroom every few months and chastise us as a group for our hygeine issues, even if the students kept clean. I asked one of my teachers why they did that, and she told me that if they met with each student individually, they might feel like they were being singled out.
Anyway, they also cared for us enough to see that we were rather damaged individuals (kids in special education usually are), and so one day, we went on a field trip for some team-building exercises. Often they'll have these on corporate retreats, but in a pinch, they can also help out students in bad situations.
The thing I remember the most of this excursion was standing around in a circle with the other students and seeing how fast we could roll around a ball in that circle.
Since we didn't really get along all that way in school, I guess they decided to see if we could pull off this form of teamwork. We did it quite well.
In the end, the team-building didn't really help. A few days after this excursion, we were all on each other's cases again. Despite that, though, it was nice to have a day where we could learn about something more important than who won the French and Indian War or what 3/8ths of 2/5ths was.
Onwards to my 3rd positive school memory.
We would occasionally take field trips into New York City, which was only about half-an-hour or so aware from my high school. I didn't really enjoy the trips into the city. The last time I felt safe in New York City was when my Dad was alive. He was a pretty tough guy, so I could rely on him to protect me. On these trips, though, the students were the charges of teachers who got angry verbally and not physically. My Dad never laid a hand on anyone, but he seemed like the kind of person who could if given the opportunity. I don't know if the teachers could've done any damage, though.
Anyway, the trips back from the city were enjoyable since we would often stop into restaurants for a late lunch. We usually had to eat the same thing, but occasionally they would make exceptions for one or two other students. For example, on one field trip, there was a strip mall with an Indian restaurant and a pizza place.
My teacher wanted us to all eat Indian food to expand our tastes. I looked at it, and it looked very unappetizing. I wanted to go to the pizza place, and they said that I couldn't. The lone male teacher we had, though, reached out to me and we went to the pizza place. I enjoyed a good-tasting slice of cheese pizza, and we were joined shortly thereafter by another student who didn't care for Indian food, either. So there the 3 of us were, eating some cheese pizza and just relaxing. The teachers did have issues with us on occasion, but when they reached out, they were positive and caring.
Onward to the 4th memory, which was when I got a complimentary haircut from the friend of one of my teachers. We went on a dual-purpose field trip one day. First, we went to a local college, and then, after a stop at a deli to make our own lunches, we visited a local hairstylist that my teacher knew.
I often found myself looking at the windows of these places, and I noticed that, even into the early 00s, they had what looked to be Patrick Nagel pictures on them.
I didn't know his full name at the time, but I did know the cover of Duran Duran's "Rio", and I recognized the style of drawing. This hairstylist was surprised at the 80s references I was making, but she thought it was cool. She didn't think it was funny, like my teachers did, or stupid, like most of my fellow students did, but instead, she found it interesting that I knew things like that.
I'm not sure if that's what sparked the haircut, but I received one on the house. I looked in the mirror, and I thought I looked good. This stylist definitely did a great job, and her appreciation of retro culture, as well as her acceptance of my own appreciation of it, was something of great pleasure.
Now, to cap off the article, friends were awfully difficult to make. Pop-culturally and personally, I was on a different wavelength from most of my fellow students. I did have one satellite, though. His name was Alex, and although he was a grade behind me, he was an old soul like I was. As such, we had a friendship that lasted beyond high school. He enjoys retro culture as much as I do. For example, we bonded through 80s culture, but we also like several 70s movies, like "Network", for example.
Both of us have looked at matters both trivial and major and wondered what the Hell was going on. Howard Beale (Peter Finch) was like that, too. Neither me nor Alex has said "I'm as mad as Hell and I'm not going to take this anymore", but we could relate to the character. I graduated in 2001 and he in 2002. We have both been witness to the physical manifestation of the saying "May you live in interesting times", and even though we only talk a few times a year, we know that we can rely on each other. I couldn't rely on my fellow students, because they thought I was crazy, and I couldn't rely on my teachers, because THEY thought I was crazy, too. Yeah, nothing like having your homeroom teacher staring at you like you have two heads because of your personal beliefs.
Alex was the only person who didn't think of me as off...He just accepted me, and our friendship has survived to this day.
So, there you go. My high school years were very rough, but I put my mind to it, and I was able to come up with positive things that happened during that time. I can't say it wasn't that bad, because it was that bad, but if you keep on swimming, you can find an island in the middle of the ocean.
So, with that, the floor is open for discussions:
Did high school treat you well? If it didn't, could you think of at least one positive thing that happened during that time?