Me, circa 1978 Freshman, Holbrook High School
August 21, 2013
Today’s Daily Prompt seemed to be right up my alley. Another school semester will soon begin. If you’re in school, are you looking forward to starting classes? If you’re out of school, what do you miss about it — or are you glad those days are over?
Being in school has always been the place I feel most comfortable. Almost everything about school incites such rich and beautiful memories for me. School had such a lasting effect on me that I remember everyone of my teachers from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Really, wanna see? Kindergarten: Mrs. Fitzpatrick, St. Vincent de Paul, 1st grade: Mrs. Godwin, Cartwright, 2nd grade: Mrs. Pickett, Zito, 3rd grade: Sister Cabrini, SVdP, 4th grade: ok, so now I’m just showing off, but you get the picture. Not only did I learn book stuff in school, but I learned life stuff as well. For instance, did you know that popularity begins in Kindergarten? It’s true. And did you also know that if you are not popular in Kindergarten, you can become popular in 3rd grade by swinging across the monkey bars two at a time? Which was how my popular fate was sealed. My best friend at the time chose a different route, she swung across the monkey bars as well. However, she had on a dress and, oops!, no shorts. Everyone noticed her yellow underwear and although she did gain popularity, it came at a price. At age 8, I learned that some people are willing to trade their dignity for popularity.
In 6th grade, against the better judgement of my “mean girl” friends, I went over to Unpopular Rhonda’s house to play one weekend. She became my only friend that year, by choice. Having defied their edict to refrain from mixing with the bourgeoisie, I was cast aside by my friends, never to be popular again. At age 12, I learned that what is right, is not always what is popular.
In 10th grade, my girlfriends gave me a makeover. They stripped and curled and tweezed and plucked, all in the name of beauty. Several hours, and several make-up applications later, I was ready to be presented to society. Well, society would have to wait, we had a volleyball game to play. Three hours of beauty treatments gone in as many minutes. Eh, not really worth it to me. At age 14, I learned that sometimes the price of beauty is too high.
In 12th grade, I wrote and presented a speech on gay rights (for the record, I’m For). My presentation and I made it all the way to the state speech competition that year. It was the early 80s, and what had been a hit in small towns across Northern Arizona, fell flat in the big city that is Phoenix. It seemed the learned Phoenicians were less forward thinking than their small-town counterparts. At age 17, I learned that small town people are often more open-minded than some big city folk.
You see dear Readers, I learned more than just reading, writing and arithmetic during my tenured education. And to this day, the life lessons I learned have stayed with me the longest. I have never traded my dignity to be popular. In fact, popular has never played into my decisions whether something was “right” or not. Certainly my beauty is very low maintenance. And those forward thinking, small town folks? Well dear Readers, a lot of them are still my friends. Peace, ~v.