Did you like high school?

I loved it.

I went to a smallish high school, 800 at its peak, and was the new kid in town as a freshman. The school was known for its academic excellence and I enjoyed the work.

I had friends in different groups, though not among the jocks. But even the jocks had B averages and went on to Harvard or Yale. (They were legacy students.)

There were embarrassing moments.

I wrote a bunch of poetry about the jock I had a crush on and our poetry notebooks were shared around multiple classes. I heard about it after the second class had spent their time giggling through it. I went to the class and took it away. Since I had turned in two poetry notebooks the teacher was okay with that. –Why hadn’t he told us he was going to pass those around? –It was embarrassing for me, but more embarrassing for the jock.

I was asked to the prom by a guy who had told me he sold marijuana to elementary school children so that they could “make their own choices.” He told people he was going to ask me. I knew ahead of time, because a girl in one of his classes left on a bathroom break to tell one of my friends who brought her to me immediately. I ditched class to avoid having to say no. (That wasn’t hard, since I had been given permission to have two classes at the same time. I skipped the one he was in and went to my other one.) That didn’t save me. He found me in the hall elsewhere. I said no. Then on the late bus home I was sitting in the front and a guy in the back yells out, “Hey, are you going to the prom?” We had a loud conversation. Only when he asked why I said no, did the others on the bus finally tell him to hush. So I’m sure my inviter was embarrassed by that fiasco more than I was.

One day David and I ran into each other in the hall after school was over. Okay, we walked by each other. And we were both wearing the exact same pair of pants. They were yellow and blue plaid. I had bought mine in North Carolina the year before. He had bought his new in New York city. Neither one of us ever wore those pants again.

What did I like about high school?

I had friends- Leslie, JoAnne, Guy, some others whose names I have now forgotten. (I am sorry. Please forgive me.)

I learned a lot. That doesn’t mean I always did well. I made a C in high school geometry only by the grace of Dr. Knudsen and the fact that I passed the Regents’ multiple choice final with a B. (I should have had an F all year.)

I enjoyed school and my teachers liked me. I was a big hit in Mr. Klinger’s social sciences class. He even asked me to review books for possible adoption for his class when I was a sophomore. But not all of them thought I was perfect. Dr. ?, my high school biology teacher, said he knew I hadn’t opened the book all year. (That was almost true.) “But I took copious and perfect notes,” I told him. He knew. It’s why I’d done well in biology. Of course, looking back, I have to wonder why he wanted to teach in such a way that I didn’t have to open the biology book. Didn’t that mean I could have skipped class and just read the book?

School was enough of a challenge to keep me busy and not so much that I couldn’t do the work. I had friends and was known in my school, even though I wasn’t perfect and sometimes folks didn’t like what I did.

For example, I wrote an April Fool’s newspaper article saying that the school district was getting rid of basketball. (We’d just gone to state.) And I decided saying the pledge was a bad thing my first month in sophomore year and irritated my homeroom teacher. My dad helped me, with editing, write a piece for the paper and when I was asked if I did it all myself I said no. I am sure they thought my dad did it all and I didn’t do any of it.

But overall it was fun and I learned a lot.

So, yes, Gates of Vienna, I liked high school.