Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Memory Day: Fifteen Years Ago Today

On Friday, April 15, 1994, I was fourteen years old, and a stalwart tenth grader at T.C. Williams High School. With public schools slowly migrating away from the "junior high" system, tenth graders were at the bottom of the high school caste (and freshmen had a school all to themselves like some sort of prepubescent syphillis quarantine). Here are a few memorable moments from this day, taken from the journal I kept at the time.

♠ Homeroom was a hodge-podge amalgamation of students who weren't actually classmates -- anyone who took Art at some point during the day might end up in the Art room for morning announcements. As such, I was at a paint-splattered table with upperclassmen, Kathryn Danaher, Diana Polson, and Emily Roberts, reading my book while they talked about field hockey and other chick stuff. A very young Matt McGuire (long before his present day woes) had a crush on Emily, and chose today to try out his intricate plot to accidentally on-purpose bump into her. During homeroom, he came in and nonchalantly asked in a campy voice, "Hello Brian, do you know if we have English today? Oh hello there, Emily!" Given that we had English every day, and that Emily knew of Matt's secret love, this was as painful for me to watch as it was for you to read about.

♠ Fourth period was Biology BSCS (an utterly worthless suffix that didn't actually stand for anything, but does rhyme with buenos dies if you ever need to write about it in a Spanish poem). With eight weeks and eight chapters left in the book, Lois LaPlante divided the class into groups so we could teach ourselves while she continued to get paid. Her trouble-meter must have been on the fritz (not the Fritz in the class) when she allowed me to group up with Jack Wilmer, Ben Seggerson, and Jenny Holland (before she got famous and changed her name to Ada). We were told to get started on The Immune System, but spent the entire period making smart-ass remarks instead -- when she asked Jack how to alphabetize a table in WordPerfect, I'm sure she didn't want to hear, "Well you start at 'A'...".

♠ When the weather was nice, I spent fifth period lunch under the trees in front of the school, eating with my junior high friends like Jennie Geisner and Cheryl Sherling. Michelle Cao came out to eat with us today, since taking fifth period Photography gave her free reign to wander around the school for an entire period, pretending to take pictures of questionable artistic merit. Like no one has ever taken a picture of the flag pole FROM RIGHT BELOW IT before...

♠ I spent sixth period Art doing preliminary sketches for my surreal locker scene, which still hangs on the wall in my office to this day. Our school did not have wooden floors, but the picture looked dumb with shiny floors, and dumb art is dumb.

♠ After school came Crew. With clowns like Ben Seggerson, Tim Shaw, and Dutton Hauhart, I was on the 3rd 8, which translates into "all the rowers that weren't good enough to be in the top sixteen slots" and we brought the concept of mediocrity to roughly the same old levels. Because it was a Friday, we were spared our normal workout. Instead, we were "allowed" to do a three mile run and ended up at the Lee Street Park where we played ultimate frisbee until it got dark and I bummed a ride off the nearest rower with a car. This was followed by a "boat party" at my house to pump us up for Saturday's race. My hosting of the party made little sense since our boat also had a surplus of bad coxswains, and I wasn't the one in the race. Even so, I diligently woke up the next morning at 6 AM for the races, partially for moral support, but mostly for all the girls in spandex.

Fir tree sprouts in man's lungs
Man trapped in blueberry waffle mix
Honda unveils dog-friendly car

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