Friday, July 13, 2007


High school, 20 years later

I saw this over on Andrea's and Bub and Pie's blogs, and though it would make a fun Friday brainless meme. I've been thinking about high school a bit lately, since I've been playing on Facebook. It's amazing to me that so many people who have signed up to "I graduated CCH in the 1980s" group are complete strangers to me, but I suppose in a school that huge (when I went there, Catholic Central was one of only two Catholic high schools in the city of London and had an average population of 1700 students) it's little surprise that I don't really remember anyone except the ones I spent significant time with. And, high school in general was a painfully awkward time for me socially anyway so I've probably blocked out all but the very best and worst of it.

(This is long, even by my standards, so I've tucked it below the fold. Click the "more please" button below to keep reading. And please excuse the excess white space, but Blogger has decided to insert two hard returns between each paragraph no matter how many times I edit them out. Grrr!)

1 Who was your best friend?

In Grades 9 and 10, I was inseparable from Suzan Marchand. She was my first girly-girl friend, in the giggling, note-passing, boy-crazy, incredibly annoying way only 15 year old girls can be. By Grade 11, I'd started running with a different crowd and I suppose the person to whom I was closest would be the guy who eventually became my 'practice husband' James. He lived in Sudbury, though, so during this time, I was pretty much inseparable from the Fry brothers, and Todd and Yvonne and Rose and a large, revolving pack of oddballs and outcasts.

2 What sports did you play?

Sports? Guffaw. No thanks. I didn't even take gym in high school, and didn't discover that physical activity could actually be enjoyable until my mid-twenties.

3 What kind of car did you drive?

The first car I drove was one of those giant early 1980s Oldsmobile station wagons, the kind with the faux-wood paneling on the sides and the backwards-facing third-row seat that folded down. On my 17th birthday, my Mom bought a new 1986 Mustang coupe and we 'shared' that for the rest of my high school career. How cool is my mom?

4 It’s Friday night, where were you?

Again, that depends on whether it was early or late in my high school career. Early on, probably talking for hours on the phone to Suzan and watching Friday Night Videos together over the phone. Later on, probably at the Fry's house, or standing in the parking lot of McDonalds with the rest of the crowd trying to decide on where to go.

5 Were you a party animal?

Um, no.

6 Were you considered a flirt?

Um, no. But not for lack of trying. And again, I think I got much better at this by Grade 12 or 13. Funy how I suddenly became that much more attractive to other boys once I had a steady (and conveniently out of town) boyfriend.

7 Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?

Oh yes. I played flute in the high school band for four years, and really wish I had taken my music lessons more seriously. With the band, we traveled to Orlando for a festival one year, and to Ottawa in my senior year, just a few short months before I planned to move up here with my boyfriend.

8 Were you a nerd?

Um... I don't know. I was socially awkward, especially in the first couple of years. I think I was too desperate to be liked to be a true nerd, but I had definite nerdy tendencies.

9 Did you get suspended/expelled?

No. My most heinous rule violation was to frequently flaunt the school dress code, which required navy pants or skirt and a white or navy shirt with a collar. It was the collar part against which I often rebelled, and I played fast and loose with the definition of 'navy' blue.

10 Can you sing the fight song?

Uh, something about "fight Crusaders"... but, no.

11 Who was your favorite teacher?

I had Mrs Hammond for English twice, and in Grade 13 she told me she'd give me a final grade over 90% (I was already close) if I could get published by the end of the year. True to her word, she gave me a final mark of 93% when I got a letter to the editor published in the local paper - which, upon reflection, was about as difficult as getting my name in the phone book, but I was pretty stoked at the time. I also loved my Grade 13 world history professor, a crusty oblate priest named Father Bill Thompson. When James and I got married the year after I graduated (eep!), we asked Father Thompson to officiate and he did.

12 School mascot?

Rodney (the Crusader) from the B.C. comic strip.

13 Did you go to Prom?

Yes. It was at Wonderland Gardens, which burned down a couple of years ago, from what I understand. I barely remember any of it, not because I was drinking but simply because I don't think it was a particularly memorable time. I do remember the dress, though, a sexy white number with a poofy skirt that fell above my knee (not unlike the ones that were in fashion last year) and a risqué lacy patch over my cleavage that my mother kept threatening to stick a hankerchief into.

14 If you could go back and do it over, would you?

Ugh. No. The good times were great, and I think being 17 was one of the best years of my life, but being 15 was excruciating. Once was more than enough, thanks.

15 What do you remember most about graduation?

At the time, Ontario had five years of high school. You could graduate in Grade 12 and go on to a trade school or community college, or do Grade 13 and go on to University. The only thing I remember about Grade 12 grad is that my parents couldn't get in to the church because nobody bothered to check tickets at the door and it was overfull. Did we have a Grade 13 grad? I think it was just a mass. I do remember, though, that Father Thompson officiated our Grade 13 grad mass, and spoke about a book he was reading by Carl Sagan called Contact. A few months later, I remembered him talking about it and read it myself, and it has since become one of my all-time favourite books.

16 Where were you on senior skip day?

This must be an American thing? But speaking of skip, yes, I did like to do that. Once in a blue moon, of course. Like the day we decided to drive to Port Huron, Michigan for absolutely no reason.

17 Did you have a job your senior year?

I had a string of jobs all through high school, starting from when I was 14 and working at the tobacco/newstand/camera store of a family friend. I worked at Baskin Robbins, a movie rental place, doing telephone sales of magazines and freezer plans, and Canadian Tire. By senior year, I was working as a cashier at Zellers, a job I continued when I moved to Ottawa and for which I later quit university to do full time.

18 Where did you go most often for lunch?

For the first few months, I was so terrified of the rest of the student body that I ate my lunch alone beside a fountain in a tiny park half a block from my school. By the time I actually had friends, we mostly ate in one of the two cafeterias while we played euchre.

19 Have you gained weight since then?

*insert eyeball roll here*

20 What did you do after graduation?

The weekend after high school finished, I moved to Ottawa to live with James. (We had gotten engaged in May of that year. I still shudder to think of it, I was in Grade 13 and wearing an engagement ring. My poor mother.) I started at Carleton University in the fall, but had quit by the end of the Christmas break that year. James and I were married in the summer of the following year (1989), and divorced five years later. I went back to school part time in 1992 and eventually graduated from university in 1998.

21 When did you graduate?

June, 1988.

22 Who was your Senior prom date?


23 Are you going / did you go to your 10 year reunion?

Our school was never big on reunions. If there was a ten-year reunion, I never heard about it. I wouldn't go anyway. For the most part, the people I care about from high school are still around enough to be commenting here occasionally or at least a phone-call away. I met up with a few more online recently through Facebook. There's only one guy, Colin Murray, of whom I've completely lost track and often think about - but he doesn't strike me as a high school reunion type either.

24 Who was your home room teacher?

Oh good lord, I can't remember the plot of a book I read four months ago and you want me to remember stuff like this? I do remember being late more than my fair share of times because Fryman and Rose and I, along with some combination of others, used to drive in together in Fryman's beat-up shit-brown Volkswagon Rabbit, and we were easily distracted on the way to school. They had this promotion going on in my senior year called "Freebie Fridays" where you could get free French Toast Sticks at a participating Burger King, and we'd drive all over the city in search of free fast food. For reasons I can't quite remember, some days we'd randomly do stuff like decide to donate blood, too, and though we'd get peculiar looks from the administration, we at least never got in trouble for that act of altruism.

25 Who will repost this after you?

??? But if you do play along, leave a comment so I can come and relive this most painful and awkward time of your life with you!

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