Monday, October 31, 2005
Highliner 57 - Anon
So - the deal about High School is that everyone remembers the class ahead of them (the cool folks you wanted to be) and no one remembers the class behind them (pesky kids). Probably true. I remember a lot of folks from the Class of 56-a lot of tall, great looking people. Babs and Sonny. Dutzie. Marylou McClung. David Anabel. Sassie. Patty Ranft. Frank Wolf. Punky Esping. Lola LeMieux (okay, not tall, but what an amazing name) - Chuck Cooper! I remember no one from the class of 58, but I ran into one about four years after I graduated and he informed me that I had said something really mean and hurtful to him at Highline. Probably this is why we don't remember those pesky kids.
The Pirates Log pictures have clearly been photo-shopped to give everyone much, much worse hair - nobody had hair like that. But I think everyone did wear those letter sweaters, and white middy blouses, and clearly everyone (I'm gazing at the Pledge of Allegiance shot) was much more pious and demure than kids today. Had our James Dean already been arrested? Dropped out? He wasn't on drugs. We lived in Burien. Probably Mr. Johnson, Bertie Davis, Miss Gibson and all those folks had quite a different take. One more set of adolescents, know-it-alls, passing through. They can't leave soon enough. (I saw Miss Gibson this summer in Des Moines, and she seems somehow to have become about my age….how did that happen?)
So - the other deal is that people who were out of it in high school show up at reunions if they become successful (popular) eventually. Also, people who were really popular in high school show up because they still think they are popular. (Insight: Popularity is everything is clearly the lesson of high school. Becoming a physicist at a top University-Paul Boynton in my class-cuts no ice in the great cosmic scheme of things.) Nothing erases the high school imprint; you have to move into an alternative universe. (The person in my class who we should all have known was gay moved to the East Coast pronto and got on with it. Smart!)
And just as we change, the school itself, and the neighborhood, also change. For a job I had about five years ago I was checking high school free lunch data ( a pretty good indicator of poverty) and Highline is right up there. The immediate Burien area now has lots of folks whose first language is Spanish. And in addition to not being able to get to the school any more because of confusing new freeways, the building is totally reworked. You will not be able to find your old locker (so your dream about forgetting the combination was useless. Worry about something else). Burien now has giant flower pots hanging from poles-a desperate attempt to turn the place into a 'destination." The planters look good, but one wonders. Our McDonalds is a Taco Bell. Bells of Burien (I think, as I write this, that Diana Bell was in the class of 58 - and went to Stanford) is long gone - nothing is as we left it. It's like a lot of other places. But then, let's face it -we're old. Sorry folks, but there it is. We've become senior citizens. Each of us makes something different of that good news/bad news term. I think it's a relief that we cannot go to our lockers, walk the old halls, and live the old dream. What do you think?Highliner 57