Saturday, February 11, 2006

Time Machine Memory Tour-H.S. Freshman

I went into my freshman year of highschool at 15 years old. My parents told me I couldn't date until I was 16, in December. But I was boy crazy already! This was the first year of school when my classes were integrated with more than just my year of classmates-there were sophomores, juniors, and even seniors in some of my classes, and some of them happened to be boys! I absolutely think the reason Algebra was not my best subject was because I couldn't (didn't) concentrate. LOL!

I was Freshman Student Council representative, and loved being part of the student leadership of the school. Mrs. Gleason was right, there was a whole new world out there!

Then, there was also an invitation by Karen Culhane to be on the yearbook staff after school. I became the freshman editor for the yearbook, and got to know a whole new set of people. It also became the realization of a dream I had for a long time, of being trained in journalism. I followed this dream for the remainder of my high school career, and on into college.

Karen also invited me to help with Special Olympics and with a special camp during the following summer. It opened my eyes to the needs of specially challenged individuals, and allowed me to see these individuals as joyful, fun-loving, caring people who just wanted to be noticed and to MATTER to someone else. Well, they mattered to me! I also attended to the needs of an autistic young lady, age 18, with the mental age of a 2 year old when she came home to visit family from her residential care facility.

I tried out for the musical, "Fiddler on the Roof," and made it into the chorusline. Oh what fun it was to learn the songs and the scenes, and to help create the sets and props! And to mix with an expanding group of new friends and acquaintances. Some who happened to guessed it...boys!

Kevin Hampton was the male lead in the musical. He was also in Student Council. He was the same boy I had first noticed when he visited his mother's sixth grade class. He was tall, thin (rail thin to be honest) and talented. A pianist extraordinaire! He called to invite me to the Homecoming Dance, just a couple months shy of my 16th birthday, and my parents decided to allow me to go, since he was known to be a respectful upright citizen. I was going with a senior! This began a dating relationship that lasted from October until February. My, oh, my what I heartbroken when he began to brush me off and became suddenly unavailable to me. No break up. Just a sudden end to a nice time together. This was when I learned the fun of not being exclusive with one boy, and I dated several. This went on until the Christmas of my Sophomore year-but that will wait until another time machine trip.

Marching Band was difficult my freshman year, because it was the only year I marched as a clarinetist. I didn't have the training the others had, because I had been the majorette before now. I had to wait to be the highschool majorette until my sophomore year, because an upperclassman had the coveted role before me. At least I got used to the football field, and marching eight steps to the ten yard lines, before being thrust into the spotlight of "full field director."

I was extremely involved with my church youth group this year, and got to know all of the highschoolers for the first time. Being a freshman was a dream come true, finally feeling like you were grown up enough to hang out with the cool upperclassman! At least, in a small town, in a small church, that was the case! The whole youth group became like brothers and sisters to me. I especially appreciated the friendships of: Don and Vickie Waltman, Jeff Oliver, Dana Hope, William Ludwig, Darrell Brown, Mandy McCarty, John Robert Bibb, and I'm sure there were more I'm leaving out.

Darrell Brown ended up asking me to the Junior/Senior Prom my freshman year. We ordered a gown out of the Sears clearance catalog. Darrell picked me up wearing a top hat and I think he had a stick too (not a cane, what do they call the sticks?). Mom and I bought an after-prom outfit at a store in Clarksville that had a big sale going on-it was a cream jumpsuit. I felt like Cinderella with two outfits for one evening! I even borrowed Aunt Minnie's transparent high heel shoes to wear, that looked like glass!

One thing I was introduced to this year was Miss Saijbon's parties for students. She was the single music teacher who preferred the company of students to adults. She allowed the punch to be spiked with alcohol and didn't report inappropriate behavior of the students. In fact, she encouraged it. I went to two such parties. One was as Kevin's date to a chamber choir party at her house to go Christmas caroling. And one was as Darrell's date before Prom night. I can't help but wonder if this type of behavior is why Miss Saijbon was not our music teacher after my freshman year? There were rumors that she dated a guy that was one of her students (she did wait until he graduated). We hear about teachers being inappropriate in the news, and we think it is a new thing-but there is no new thing under the sun!

I'm sure Mom and Dad got tired of being my taxi cab driver my Freshman year. Fortunately I had some older friends who often drove me to and from events. Patricia Rubemeyer was one such friend-a neighbor who was like a sister to me. I had play practice, yearbook, Student Council, FSA, and more. I was in that group that teaches teens how to plan and run a business-what is it called? We made and sold indoor thermometers one year, and jumper cables another year. Junior Achievement, perhaps?

I was so busy with extracurricular events that I have no idea when I did my homework. I didn't have a study hall until my senior year, because I took so many electives each year. I'm glad I got good grades!

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