Saturday, February 16, 2013

The perks of being a wall flower

Mixed tapes.  Remember mixed tapes?  Our kids will never have mixed tapes.  Songs picked out by your friend, boy friend, girl friend, songs put in a certain order by them that you couldn't just "click" over, you had to either listen to or shrrrrrrrrrrrr  shrrrrrrrrr fast forward rrrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrrr rewind because you went too far.  Or you couldn't find the song because you didn't know the ones before and after.

I remember a boy I dated who made me mixed tapes.  It must have been during college.  He kept making me mixed tapes--of Bruce Springstein.  I don't like Bruce Springstein.  But he wouldn't give up.  He thought if I just heard the right song I'd like him.  Yeah it didn't work out for either one of them.

One of the many things I fell for in Anthony was his mixed tapes.  He has a gift.  To this day.  Now he makes playlists, but I swear there was something to that whole mixed tape thing--the order.  There are still songs I hear today and expect the next song to be the one that came right after that one on a mixed tape.

Mollie and I watched The Perks of Being a Wall Flower.  WOW!  Watch it.  I might watch it again.  Right now.  Or I might get the book.  Back to high school.  Mixed tapes.  Angst.  Liking someone.  Them not liking you back.  Special friendships.  Intense friendships.  Friends you want to help.  Friends you can't.  Suicide.  Suicide attempts.

On the map of my life there is a big way station--high school.  It's almost like a neighborhood because it has so many intersections there.  Things that formed me.  Moments that formed me.  In general I have a happy warm feeling about high school, but a movie like that can really take me back and remember that there were some very low days and nights.  Nights I was home alone, "out in the country," feeling very far away from my friends in town.  Feeling sorry for myself.  Boys I liked, who didn't like me, or no longer liked me.  Feeling like a misfits.  Finding the misfits who felt like me.  

The Mac Sisters.  I had two friends Renee and Laura.  We together with our brother Karl, were the Mac Sisters.  Laura Mac, Renee Mac, Mr. Williams our fave teacher--Johnny Mac, me--Ho Ho Mac.  I'm pretty sure Laura came up with the idea.  I'm pretty sure Karl was one of the characters in the movie.  Renee and Laura were good friends.  Laura had scoliosis in 8th grade and had to go to Boston Children's to get a rod put in her back and then wore a body cast through much of 8th grade (or was it 7th?)  Laura had big lips and had had the nick name Laura Lippa.  Since it was deHegh who gave it to her, she took it as a sign of affection.  Big lips were not necessarily the fashion statement they are today.  Renee lived in Portsmouth (outside town) and was probably the first person I knew with divorced parents.  Laura lived like 1/2 a mile from school--in the heart of it all.  Once I could drive, we used to go to her house after school and eat Krafft Mac n Cheese and Nacho Cheese Doritos with French Onion Dip and watch General Hospital, which we called Gen Ho.  Anyway, Karl's dad was an Admiral in the Navy and probably not all that tolerant of sweet sensitive Karl who I think was considerably younger that his next sibling.  I never saw nor met either of his parents.  He had this little yellow car (in my head it's a mini cooper but we didn't have those) and he would unhook the odometer when his parents went out of town so they wouldn't know how much he'd driven.  Only problem with that is that the speedometer also doesn't work!  So the Mac Sisters had many adventures.  Some I'm comfortable writing about, some not so much.  

Eventually Renee and her mom moved to Ghent, so she too was in the heart of it all and I was still in the country.  Then we would go to her house after school.  We'd stop at Burger King and get double cheeseburgers on the way.

Renee had an older sister and Renee got her drivers' license.  Though there was a Tinee Giant we could go to where they had no idea how old we were and would sell us beer.  I mean we were 16 and the drinking age was 18 so it was a little different than it is now.

By senior year Renee's drivers' license said she was 21.  For our senior ski trip we went to the ABC store and picked up all the supplies that were needed for most of our friends.  We put them in my car with the back seat down so you couldn't see it.  It was March 2nd, I know because it was the day after my 18th birthday.  I was driving home and "Come On Eileen" came on the radio.  I was happily singing and hitting the dips a little too fast on the road I cut through to get to the interstate.  And oops going about 10 over the speed limit.  I thought, "crap 18 for a day and I'm already going to jail!"  Fortunately I think the cop was about my age and just gave me a ticket and didn't search my car.

OK I've really got to go to the basement and pull out pictures because these stories will be way better with photographs.

Friday, February 15, 2013

High School--the time of your life or not?

I started this post a long time ago, but since it's relative to my Moments in Life them, I dug it back up.

I was watching Glee the other night. Mr. Shue was talking to Coach Beast, asking her to please stay. He said something to the effect of, people like you and me, we had a terrible time in high school and yet we return to that place every day.

Lately, I've been hearing what a horrible place high school is. The story line of the Glee was quite timely and relevant to part of the reason I've been hearing about it--the bullying of openly and not so openly gay kids. It's horrible. There shouldn't be bullying. I just read The Wave by Todd Strasser. It took me about 4 hours no kidding. It's about a high school history teacher teaching his kids about the Nazis. The kids are appalled and asked how people could let that happen. How could they join a movement like that? How could they turn a blind eye to death camps? The teacher was stumped, he said we don't really know. But upon further thought, he did know, it's just very very difficult to verbalize--unless you experience it. So he starts a movement in his senior history class called The Wave. They have a special salute, special symbol, motto, etc. I won't ruin all the details, but once he starts the experiment he realizes that he can't just say, OK no more. The kids have to realize the danger of this movement and stop it.

Bottom line though the kids who liked the movement the most were the ones who weren't popular or were bullied. Think about it. 

The kids. That's the key. We can preach and give experiential programs and read books, but the kids have to stop it. Our job is to give them the tools.  I don't know exactly what those tools are and how you empower the kids to use them.  I am very interested in the recent bullying seminars they have put on at all levels of the Mariemont Schools.  They talk about bullying not so much as stealing lunch money or pushing and shoving.  It's more about exclusion and leaving kids out, maybe a little name calling.  And now they can't get away from it--you didn't get invited to a party, well here it is in full living color--pictures of the people you thought were, you want to be, your friends.  Someone have a sleepover and not invite you, oh look here's a picture of them all having a pillow fight, and here they are having pancakes for breakfast.  It seems to be much harder for girls than it is for boys, or maybe it's that my girl talks about how hard it is and my boy either doesn't care (I hope because he's happy in his own skin) or keeps it inside (which scares the shit out of me).

But I digress (shocker). So apart from the gay bullying which is so serious I can't even address it (and if it went on in my high school, I was blind to it), was high school such a bad place?

I loved high school. It was some of the best years of my life.  I think my sophomore and junior years were the best of the best.  I loved my school, I loved my friends, I loved my boy friend, I loved my teachers.  Sure I cried myself to sleep more than once, sure "the love of my life" broke up with me the summer after sophomore year (oh it was so so sad), sure I didn't win Homecoming Princess or Homecoming Queen (it was an honor just to be nominated, except for the fact that Jody Mersel campaigned against me because she was pissed I got nominated and she didn't), and yes I basically took a total stranger to senior prom because no one asked me (he was cute but behaved rather rudely at the end of the night and had to be sent home).

Some snapshots:

Latin class--I loved Latin Class.  Robin, Beth, Robert, David, Kimberlee and of course Mrs Freeman.  Who else?  May have to get the old year book out and look.

to be continued

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Today I got braces

Under the theory that life is lived in moments, here is one.  My teeth have been slowly migrating back to their very sad state of crooked before I had braces.  So for Christmas I asked for Invisalign.  Of course Anthony did not think this a very romantic Christmas present, but when I told him how much they cost he said they would make a fine Christmas present (and birthday and possibly anniversary too).  And yesterday I got them.  Damn, I do not remember braces hurting this much.

I got my original braces the summer before 7th grade.  Dr. Walker was my ortho.  He was about 100 and I think that's about how old the technology was he used on my teeth.  On my teeth.  Did you ever see the Simpsons where Lisa got braces from the discount brace place?  That's what mine looked like, no literally, that's what my braces looked like.  Still my teeth were so bad it was a huge improvement.  First of all I had buck teeth that defined the word (Parker got the same ones but his were at least straight).  One of them was sideways--pretty much literally.  In my 6th grade picture I look like I'm either pretending to be a fish or trying to kiss someone because DeHegh Lille was trying to make me smile and I didn't want to show my teeth and that's the face that is frozen in time.  Secondly, my nickname (my Girl Scout leader gave me (was Chunky Meatball).  The summer before 7th grade was one of transformation for me.  I went to Camp Seafarer for 6 weeks where I grew two inches and lost 10 pounds.  That and the addition of braces and a cute hair cut and actually there were several people who did not recognize me when we went back to school.

So I remember the day I got braces--I don't know the month, I could figure out the year.  It must have been after camp and before we went to the beach.  I do remember putting on a two piece bathing suit for the first time--pretty much ever.  My mother would not let me wear one before that because I was too fat.  We won't go there right now.

That was a truly transformative summer in so many ways.  I can literally go back to that very moment, standing on the deck of the beach cottage in Anne Moss' hand me down bikini and feeling good, really good.  I'm not sure that I actually wore it down to the beach, but that feeling of accomplishment and sort of peace with my body image if I think about it can come back to my mind's eye.

So much for the birth of Anne Hester Old story, maybe tomorrow.  Or maybe someday.......

Monday, February 11, 2013

We do not remember days, we remember moments

As part of my discipleship group, we are making a life map.  I started on my life map but really could not come up a plan, a format, a vision.  I started just writing stuff down which was a good start.  I got all the way to 4th grade.  It was a good start and it made me think about pictures in time, moments.  We really do not remember days, we remember moments.

So then as I was looking at journals on Amazon, I remembered I had this blog that I apparently have neglected for well over a year.  Actually interestingly I've thought about it several times over the last week.  I think this is where I am meant to take this journey.  So I think this is where I will create my life map.

But alas, not tonight, for tonight I must go and read for my class and I have put it off until 10:30 which is really much too late.

I'll start tomorrow.

The birth Anne Hester Old.