My son Zach is a high school senior this year. Lucky kid!
He appears to be enjoying it immensely. By my judgment, he’s not one of the super-popular kids at school, but still has a solid, genuine, positive and intelligent group of friends. He hangs with the geeks – they have LAN parties, gaming get-togethers and marathon Dr. Who sessions. I don’t think any of his friends drink, do drugs or sleep around; they may, however, get in trouble for trying to hack Microsoft someday.
This afternoon was one of many great small-town high school days. It was sunny, warm and beautiful. He and his friends met up at the school to play Ultimate Frisbee for a couple of hours, then variously piled into cars or hoofed it down the hill to Dairy Queen to hang out.
I remember my senior year, although it was an awfully long time ago. (My pet dinosaur hated being left home alone while I went to class.)
High school was not an especially happy time for me, although it got better as I got older. I was very young for my grade, just turning 16 at the start of my senior year. I didn’t have many friends, my family had issues, and I was quite likely clinically depressed. Still, I stayed busy – I was on a club swim team, in color guard, and an editor on the school newspaper – and got decent grades.
Being a senior meant open campus, and lunches at McDonalds or Taco Time with friends. It meant interesting classes – like Lifetime Sports, where I took rollerskating for a quarter, and racquetball for another. We had privilege; the closest locker assignments, the best lunch times and preference for the popular classes like photography and pottery.
In spite of my general malaise, I do remember a few wonderful times. We had awesome horror movie nights at friends’ houses, group trips up to Inspiration Point just to hang out together, a great night at homecoming with one of my best friends, ski trips, picnics, and a backpacking trip with my dad.
One night in particular stands out. Six of us piled into one car and drove up to Inspiration point. I did not drink, smoke, or date, and had a reputation for being straitlaced. A couple of the kids broke out a beer, and one guy – the driver, pulled out a pack of cigarettes and lit one up. Everyone groaned – no one wanted to deal with the smoke.
I said, “Hey, John*, let me see your cigarette!” He snickered, thinking ol’ goody-goody Jeri was going to try a smoke, and handed it back to me. I smiled, held it up to the group, then ground it out in the ashtray and tossed it out the window. Everyone cheered, except for John, who really was good-natured about the insult.
What do you remember about your senior year? Was it a good year – or was it painful?
*Names have been changed to protect the guilty.