Me at center court at Prospect High School 30 years after I graduated
Life Revisited - Music
Music plays a big and important role in a lot of people's lives. Songs remind you of certain times in your life. What you were doing and what you were feeling. Happy or sad. Music also reminds you of the people in your life. Again, happy or sad. Music has always been a dominant force in my life. These are some of my memories in no particular order. So as Aerosmith sings, Got one for the money, Two for the show, Three for my honey, And four to let you know that I...Let the music do the talking.
I remember the first four albums that I bought myself. After that it gets fuzzy. I remember riding my bike up to the corner music store. This is the 70's. No big box stores yet. I don't want to see refrigerators while I'm shopping for albums. It ruins the atmosphere. I'm talking about the classic music store. Neon signs and posters of your favorite groups and artists covering the glass facing outward beckoning you to come inside. Inside there were banners of your favorite groups and artists hanging on the walls and from the ceilings some soon to adorn your room at home to pay tribute to the musicians who made you smile and "bang your head." I'm a rock n' roll dude I should mention. Within ten seconds of entering my new to be hangout, I didn't see any reason to see the paint on my bedroom walls at home anymore! I was going to have the coolest room ever! Look at the selection for my interior decorating needs. Banners, posters. You've seen the movies where someone has their room's walls completely covered in rock decor. I was going to have that! Yes, of course, I also had a black light and black light poster. Really? That's a given.
These are the thoughts that go through your head as the room starts to spin on your first of many trips to come to the best place on the planet...the music store! There is a lot of money that needs to be spent here. But first, the mission is clear. It became clear in the second ten seconds upon entering the store. The first album of what is going to be an addiction...I mean a collection. I knew what album I came for. But on the way over to where my first album's location was in the store, there on display like prostitutes in the windows in the red light district in Amsterdam, were soooo many other albums I had to have! I, of course, did not know of the red light district at that time but I'm writing this now so the analogy stays. The room starts spinning again. I pick up the other albums, look at the cover, turn it over, read down the song list. I've got to have this one...and this one. Doubt enters into your mind as to your initial album selection. Followed by "maybe I can get two albums." Addition in head. That banner would look great on my wall. STOP!! I gotta get out of here. Just get what you came for. Go home and strategize how you can acquire everything in this store...legally. As I bought my album up to the counter the owner smiled at me, told me how great the album was AND asked me my name. He pegged me. He knew I'd be back. As I left, he said "Thanks, Mark. Come again." First name basis, first time in. Pegged.
Boston. Their first album. My first album. What a day. What a great start to my new forever life-changing hobby. I can't wait to get home to play it. Problem. I have a record player, not a turntable. Seventh grade confirmation bestowed upon me an all-in-one radio record player speakers that sounded like tin. The louder you turned up the volume, the worst it sounded. Scratchy, like tin. Designed by parents no doubt. My friend had older brothers. I've seen the individual hi-fi stereo equipment. I remember sitting in his brother's room with the lights off and the stereo on. There is nothing like the aura of stereo lights! There is nothing like the superb rich full sound of music that comes from a quality hi-fi system! Full perfect sound at every volume level. I had to explain this to my Dad once. He asked "Why do you need to have a sound system that is so loud? You never listen to the stereo at the highest volume level anyway." I said "True but the more amps you have the better sound quality you have at lower levels of volume." He nodded in agreement and thus the need for my ever increasing ampage over the years was never questioned. Neither was my use of the word ampage. Jesse Jackson wants ebonics, I call this stereophonics. Mine is a real word. The point is there was no way my new Boston album was going to be played for the first time on a record player, not turntable, that was horrible sounding and had questionable needle-quality. Even a K-tel record felt slighted being played on this very generous gift by my well meaning parents. It should also be noted that although it didn't affect the sound quality, you could fit a cake under the high rise cover that was atop this all-in-one beast. This stereo equipment problem was the conversation I had with myself on the ride home. A clear oversight on my part. What comes first, the chicken or the egg? I never cared much about that but I clearly needed a new sound system before playing my new album. Stereo system, chicken. Album, egg. Explanation just in case. I needed a stereo system that would produce the best possible sound in my price range. The price range that couldn't afford two albums at the music store was an obstacle. Time to negotiate with the parents.
First let's disclose the other three albums. Album purchases two, three and four. My second album was Styx "The Grand Illusion." Association with this album was my first kiss which happened to be with two girls. Kiss one, then the other. Awesome! Hasn't happened since. Third album was Kansas "Point Of No Return." Sums up the state of my new music addiction after leaving the music store. And the fourth was Foghat "Live." My introduction to the awesomesomesomeness of live music!! Again a real word in stereophonics. There you have it! So next will be the upcoming very important piece of legislation that I need to present to my parents that needs to be passed regarding the acquisition of an acceptable hi-fi stereo system. Music doesn't play a big role in your life unless it's heard on some good equipment. You don't put your favorite roast beef on a piece of stale bread. A tenuous analogy I know.
In my favor in these negotiations was that I was a good kid with good grades. The parents were proud of me. Solid citizen child. My parents knew I loved music. They knew that I listened to the radio while I was falling asleep at night. This was a habit I obtained as a child because there were clearly monsters in the house that made the house creak. If I had the radio on I couldn't hear the creaks thus disabling the monsters. Songs like "The night the lights went out in Georgia", "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown", "Jackie Blue" and "Jive Talkin" are still the soundtrack of my nighttime dreams. Further evidence of my love of music was my accumulation of K-tel records and maybe overplaying "I'm on the top of the world" by The Carpenters on a 45rpm...don't judge! Saturday nights in grade school were spent watching either Don Kirshner's Rock Concerts or The Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack. The TV I watched these shows on was small, white, square with a curved screen, big a$$ rear side and topped with a martian antenna. A cut glass globe light hung in my Parent's bedroom behind their bed. Remembering the glow of this light reminds me of these Saturday nights. I would always eat 2 boxes of pizza rolls...awesome! The smell of cigarettes would curl under the bedroom door from my Parent's bridge rendezvous in the living room. Everybody smoked back then. Smoking inside the house with ashtrays aplenty was the norm. Just reminiscing. The point is the negotiations would start in my favor. This was not just a passing fad.
So the negotiations began with my now solid track record of my affinity for music. This followed with my concern for my new album. Then my plan. I asked them for a small increase in my allowance in proportion to my increased duties. I explained my plan to seek an abundance of new lawn mowing contracts. Then I asked for an advance on my birthday and Christmas presents. They were hip. No problem. I think they were excited too. The hobby was good. They liked music. I came to the table with a plan. We raised a smart ambitious kid. But there was a dollar amount range. No problem. I am stoked to the ceiling! I can't wait to go to the stereo store! I would learn that the stereo store is even harder to walk out of than the music store!
Zero hour, 9 am. And I'm gonna be...still sleeping Elton. More like 1pm on a Saturday. Bike locked outside the stereo store. Pause at entrance. Brace yourself, breathe. I walk in to the "acoustically perfect to my ears" store and look around at what could be the most beautiful space I've entered to date. Shelves upon shelves of amps, tuners, turntables, equalizers, some reel to reel players and the biggest speakers ever. These were the days before Bose made it cool to have small speakers. Size mattered! Look at all the awesome stereo lights. The house lights were dimmed for the ultimate eye stimulation. The distinct smell of the store. The smell of success! I could be here for hours. What the...? Salesman with white patent leather shoes and matching belt with a combover. Didn't think twice about it. That was acceptable fashion back then. My parent's generation is still apologizing for the fashion and the bad hair choices. I published a graphic novel entitled The Baldmen Vs. Captain Combover in case your interested. Inspired by my Father. He wore the combover too :(
The journey begins. Bang Olufsen is the first eye popper...the sleek look...oh, the price. I stop to look anyway. Don't want to show my hand right away. Pretend to mull it over in my mind as I gaze upon the future of sound. White shoes doesn't come over. He probably saw me lock up my bike. What?!, it's an ITOH. It looks like a Schwinn. I'm frugal. I mean my parents are frugal. It was a gift. Anyway, I leave the "city" of the store and head off towards the "suburbs" of the store. Apparently the merchandise is on the shelves according to price. I notice this by checking the huge price tags, probably 5x7. White with a design around the perimeter. The price written in black marker. It hangs by a somewhat thick white string. I notice that the closer I get to my perceived price range, the closer white shoes gets. He's closing in. I must be close. Should I mess with him and go back to the Bang Olufsen? Nah. Some pre calculated math is floating around in my head. Needs are an amp/tuner. Still acceptable for my age. We'll get the separate amp and tuner further on down the road. Turntable, already given my letter of intent to Technics. Speakers. These are the essentials, the starter kit. Surprisingly, it didn't take me long to make my choices. I was not a connoisseur. Spell check for that word. Anything I got was 10 times better than I had. I picked out my Technics turntable first. Didn't need top of the line. Pioneer HPM 100's won the speaker contest. Big speakers independent of the amp/tuner. The amp/tuner went to Pioneer also. Great lights! For my knowledge of equipment at that time, aesthetics played a large part. Big tuning dial to hone in on your favorite station like you were trying to crack a safe. I had been in this specific area of the store for a bit now with no intention of moving out into the "country" of the store. The analogy being the city being the most expensive, the country the least expensive. Felt like I needed to clarify. So combover, well, he came over. Thanks, I'll be here all week!
I told leisure suit guy...I could go on and on...I told him what I wanted and that I would be back with my parents in their "ride." That's the name of my parent's car when I'm speaking to the salesman who said upon introduction "What's up sport." He called me sport. So now my Parents are my P's and their car is now their ride. I can talk jive, turkey!
So the day arrives when the stereo system arrives at home. Huge boxes are bought into my room. Boxes opened. Merchandise out. Boxes and styrofoam packing material out to garage. Items are placed on my wood laminated sound system fortress that I had already bought at Service Merchandise. Swinging glass door included for protection. A while hooking everything up including the monster guage speaker wire that would be interloping throughout my room. All along, the smell of the new equipment enveloped my room. I remember it was dusk when I finished and admired my accomplishment. My eyes glazed over as I turned the unit on and witnessed the lights on the sound system. I turned the dial on the tuner to my favorite radio station at the time. I believe it was WMET. The story would be better if I could remember the first song I heard...but I can't. Then, of course, I started playing with the volume controls. What great sound at all levels. The parents are invited in for a showing. They are impressed!
After the presentation and the hubbub is over, I sit in my room alone just looking around with a huge smile on my face. I listen to a few more songs. Then comes the time when the "Boston" album comes out. I slip it out of the cover and gently place it on the turntable. I clean it with the record cleaner. I can't tell you how much all the needed accessories added up. But I was all in!
If you have ever listened to this album, you know how it begins. I've heard it so many times. I listened to it all the way through. Great album! Every time I hear a song from that album on the radio, it takes me back to this time in my life. After I was done with the album, I put it away in the place that all of my albums would eventually reside...until there was no more room! I looked at the lonely only album and started remembering my trip to the music store. I remembered all the other albums I wanted, yea, needed. I have a lot of lawns to mow!!
On a parting note, I didn't understand til later why the heck they sold those funky pipes at the corner music store! :)
There is much more to add to this hub! :)
Pics From The Past
Life Revisited - My High School Car
Do you want your own car in high school? Get a job when you're 15 that's far enough away that you can't ride your bike. This accidentally happened to me in high school. That's not the point of this story but...I got a job as a busboy when I was 15 at The Rusty Scupper. It was about 20 minutes away located at the entrance to the BIG mall. The Rusty Scupper is no longer there. It's now an Olive Garden. They say a restaurant or any businesses success depends on location, location, location...with the exception being The Olive Garden. They can park their restaurant at any failing location and be successful. Anyway, my parents were glad I took the initiative to get a job in high school as long as my grades remained good. My Mom was more than happy to drive me 3 times/week to and fro...until I got my driver's license. Upon reception of my driver's license started the ever so subtle transition that the family car was now my car. So then I drove to work all the time. Then I started asking to drive to school every Friday...which led me to asking to drive to school more frequently...which led to me driving every day. A nice subtle progression. My parents were cool. I know they secretly enjoyed having one of those kids who got to drive to school every day. It made them cool too. Street cred and all that. Plus they were teaching me responsibility...ya da ya da ya da!
Recollections of having a car in high school is what the story is about. A few recollections anyway. Having a car in high school in the first place was what made it possible to have any recollections at all. Recollections only come about when you have lots of opportunities for them to come your way. Here are a few that I remember.
My car was a baby blue Buick LeSabre. It was called the blue boat. It wasn't a car that turned girl's heads. But it was the blue boat I could drive. Plus it was a cooler blue boat with the Jensen car stereo and Pioneer speakers that were put in it via my tips at The Rusty Scupper. It was the blue boat that picked up my friends and drove them to school cranking out UFO, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and a myriad of other great bands and songs that I associate with my rockin' high school days. Ah, music association. That's a topic in and of itself! The Rolling Stones make me want a beer. Bruce Springsteen reminds me of trying to open Heineken not twist off bottle caps on any part of the blue boat because we failed to remember a bottle opener... at lunch during high school...only on Fridays, come on! Bob Seger reminds me of a keg party I was at on a farm. I remember first hearing Van Halen for the first time...at the public library...that was a mind blow! Anyway, these positive associations were constantly being reinforced because I could drive to school every day and were exponentially better by my exponentially louder Jensen stereo.
When you're a kid with his or her own car, you unofficially join that group of kids with their own car. I remember the kids who drove. I remember which kids had which cars. I remember the stories associated with said kids and their cars.
There was me and some others that had the family cars. Hey, we were glad to have them. There were those that had cars that their parents sprung for. And, of course, there were those kids that were in auto shop that bought the muscle cars and fixed them up. Loved those muscle cars! Wish I would have had one but to this day I only know how to put gas in my car. I even call AAA if I get a flat. The kids who drove the family car always upgraded by installing the nice stereo. The kids who got a car from their parents had a nicer car that came with a nicer stereo to match the nicer car. Then there were the kids with the Oldsmobile 442, the Dodge Challenger, the '69 GTO who had the nicest car and the nicest stereo to match...also wheels, rims, something called a Hemi and something called a Holley. You get the pecking order. Muscle cars did neutral drops, Parent bought cars did burn-outs, family cars went really fast...eventually.
The family car did have it's qualities. Seats more...and it was safe. Case in point. I had a friend who drove one of those little Italian cars. He actually happened to be Italian. When you sat in the driver's seat of his car you could see the bumper of the car in front of you when you were inches away from it. So in an odd sense of regularity, the little Italian car would see me on the way to school in the morning. Reminded me of John Cusack being chased by the paperboy in the movie "Better Off Dead" yelling "Two dollars!!" He would just show up out of nowhere skidding around the corner. He would get as close to my car as possible like he was driving in a restrictor plate NASCAR race. Drove me nuts. My point is, I could have slammed on the brakes at any time and heard the sound of an Italian accordion. But he's Italian. For $2/week he said he would stop tailing me AND my car would be protected. John Cusack and I...$2.
Everyone who had a car in high school had memories of the adventures that were had in their car. Also the trials and tribulations. My last story of my car and I...proper English...was actually a riot for everyone in my car that night except for me and my car. Many years later over dinner with my parents when, as is the ritual in my family, we talk about what actually happened that day or night back in high school in contrast to the prevailing story. I have two younger brothers so we have a lot of stories to tell and a lot of dinners to eat. An incident is brought up. Your parents tell their perceived version of the story and then you come clean as to what actually happened leaving everybody in tears laughing. So while this last story was very stressful for me at the time, I enjoyed telling the story these many years later immensely.
This turned out to be a story where I had actually told the truth, but not the whole truth, so help me God? My friends and I had heard about a party. It was a party at the house of a guy from a different high school. We stopped by in my blue boat and checked it out. We didn't know anybody. We scoped the place out and decided to leave. When we got back to the car one of my friends mentioned that there was a full keg of beer right near the edge of the back yard. We could easily heist it from the adjoining backyard. We went stealth...not really, we were all giggling and trying to trip each other because that's what drinking does to high school kids. We confiscated said keg and placed it in the trunk of the blue boat. Mission accomplished! Driving back to my friend's house to enjoy the spoils of our victory we took a short cut through our high school parking lot. At the other end of the parking lot, the gate was closed but not padlocked. Me not thinking I needed to get out of the car and open the gate decided to push open the gate with the blue boat's ample front bumper. I slowly pulled forward and met the gate with the bumper. I slowly pushed the gate open. While still having contact between bumper and gate I sped up just a little to give the gate some momentum away from my car. Ta Da. It worked. The gate swung open. I was a master of this particular craft. I start pulling through. My eyes notice the gate has reached it's intended end of its trek and is now swinging back right towards my car. It swung back at a much faster velocity than that from which it went forth. I got stuck in a suspended state of paralyzation as I slowly kept moving forward and the gate mockingly prepared to strike my car...which wouldn't necessarily be that big a deal but for the gate masterfully jamming into that small location which is the place between the front and back door... thus like a bottle opener pushing the front door in. No need to go further. This was not a cosmetic small blunder. After getting out and assessing the damage, coming up with no plausible lies, I decided to drive straight home after dropping all of my friends off at one of my friends house so they could consume the keg. So I drove home to tell my parents what had happened, minus the keg theft, and received the looks of disappointment that I was in for and faced the music. While I was sober.
There are many car recollections but this was the most memorable. This is the one that all my friends in attendance will remember to this day. I mentioned earlier that I remember the kids who had cars. I also remember some of their adventures. This is the story of my car and my adventure that all the kids that had cars will remember about me and my car.
My Dad did his handyman job on the blue boat. The kind where there is no investment but time. He wadded up a bunch of "material", crazy-glued it in the "door injury", and spray-painted it. Talk about a scarlet letter. Daily guffaws by my friends were the norm. Driving home right away kept me out of trouble. The blue boat was still mine. The Jensen still looked "glorious" as Will Ferrell expressed about the apparent sighting of one Joseph "Blue" Palasky after he fell down the stairs and was accosted in the movie "Old School." Will Ferrell, aka Frank Picard in this particular movie, would not have exclaimed "glorious" about the outside of the car now, particularly in the door region. It was not "glorious." Not that it ever was glorious. It's a baby blue Buick LeSabre. Good memories trump car aesthetics any day! Besides, every time I opened the door I was reminded of being responsible...NOT!!! Let's bust open a Heinekin, it's Tuesday!!
Revisiting The Past - High School Soccer
Junior year soccer banquet. That's where this part of the story begins. What happened that year?... You don't realize that something is transpiring at the time until you relive it in retrospect at the end of the transpiration. Not a word but you know what I mean. I unexpectedly get the "Most Improved Player" award. I am truly stunned. Had I gotten that much better...or did I just have that much room for improvement. I shake my head as I walk up to accept the award as if I didn't deserve it. My Mother tells me later not to react that way. Lesson learned. Good advice. She should be a Mom. What do you know, she's mine. Next up on this night I obviously remember. One of the cutest girls in school, who happens to be a cheerleader, sends her liaison, also a cheerleader, my neighbor and my friend over to my table. My friend says "Guess who wants to go out with you?!!!" Oh to be an up and coming jock. My life is getting good.
So reliving in retrospect...during the season, the cheerleaders started coming out to cheer our soccer games, not just the football games. We were apparently pretty decent and our expectations for the following year were big! Soccer had arrived at our school. I just didn't know it yet. I would soon. I loved playing soccer. I started playing after my midget football career ended with the Spartans. That's what it was called back then, midget football. I think after stewardesses became flight attendants, midget football became pee-wee football. Politically correct and all that. Wasn't my problem. Anyway, I forget how football ended. I think I just stopped being midget. That was the end of that part of the program. You had to go on to the next level. The big boys. I was a skinny, sugar eating, might get hurt at the next level kid. So I just started playing soccer. I was not a natural. I was one of the better players by the end of grade school. But then Junior high bought in many more kids from all the different grade schools and I was back to being an average player again. By the end of Junior high I was again one of the better players. I was always good by the end of...so the story continues. On to high school. I was on the freshmen team as a freshmen. The better players as freshmen were on Varsity. Sophomore year I was on the sophomore team. The better players as sophomores were on Varsity...and there were quite a few of them. Junior year I HAD to be on Varsity. I wasn't a starter right away, but as per usual,...by the end of,... I became a starter my junior year. How predictable. But by the end of my Junior year, not predictable. Not predictable socially...not predictable big picture. Senior year I hit an apex. Our team hit an apex!
In retrospect again, our expectations were high because of all the freshmen and sophomores that had been on Varsity for three years...and some up and comers like myself. When we started our Senior season, our soccer schedule was posted in a trophy case in the main hallway through which all must pass. As each game passed, a "W" and the final score was posted by our announcer and biggest fan in the trophy case for all to see. The year went on and the W's piled up. We started wearing our jerseys to school on game day, white for home games, dark for away games. We started getting individual nicknames. Mine was "White Lightning" due to the fact that I was fast and I had white hair. These nicknames were shouted over the mic as we were being introduced at the beginning of each game.
Then, and I don't know exactly when, rumors of an undefeated season started echoing through the halls and in the media. I was a starter on a possible undefeated team! How did that happen? I suddenly realized that I was pretty good. I had again become good by the end of...Anyway, the hype had arrived. I couldn't wait for game day! None of us could. Wearing the jersey down the hall to all the shouts of support. Knowing a lot of your classmates from freshmen to Senior were cheering you on...living vicariously through THEIR high school soccer team...knowing they were going to show up to cheer us on to high school immortality. If we win, the whole school wins! Nobody can ever take that away from you...us.
I remember warming up on the side of the fieldhouse before the games. The fans crowding in, the hootin' and hollerin'. Then the jogging into the stadium to the roar of the fans. Priceless. And then, the best part...the introduction of the players! Starting at...number...nickname...real name...Each guy sprinting out there with adrenalin to spare. High five, low five, I forget. Another win, another "W" in the hallway. More speculation. More hype! I got a feature story in the local paper about my soccer skills. I was the up and comer. The many more that were better than me and much more deserved everybody already knew about. My nickname should have been "Good by the end of." Our team was kicking on all cylinders. We weren't really having a hard time with any of the other teams. Until that mid-season date with our rivals...the team that always had our number.
The game was an away game. Still our fans showed up in numbers! They knew the rivalry. This was a big game for us. Let's get this monkey off our back! We had them 3-0 at the end of the half. We were going crazy, the fans were going crazy............. The monkeys won 4-3. That's the way monkeys are. One "L" on the board. Not just any one "L" either. The rival's "L." Weeks go by and the "W's" resume overwhelming the board. We finished with one loss that season...one hurtful loss.
The playoffs arrived. I'll keep this short. We won...we won...we're going down state!! Heavens to Betsy! Tell me your Grandmother didn't say that. Friday night was the first game. Friday morning is the Pep Rally! School shuts down and it's everybody to the gymnasium to get the team all jazzed up...unless you're ditching. Irregardless...the principal steps up to the mic for his ceremonial "Boooo" following which he announces the coach who gets muted applause...says some things about the season...AND NOW, as the famous boxing announcer shouts, let's meet your soccer team!! Standing ovation as the gymnasium erupts with cheers. Now at this point you know that some team members cheers are going to be louder than others. Where will I stand? I have a girlfriend...that will help. Her and her friends surely will be loud for me. Hope I was nice to everybody this year. We'll see what my cheer assessment reveals. I get a rousing cheer that comforts my insecurities. That's all I remembered at the time. Whirlwind and all that. Some 30 years later revisiting my old high school and standing in the gym, I remembered the scene at that pep rally as clear as a snapshot. I remember exactly where certain people were sitting that day in my mind's eye.
Pep rally is over. Our team is headed to the bus and off to the State Playoffs! School is out so the students can go to the game...or not if they choose. Buses for the students are lining up behind the gymnasium...it's actually "the gym" but I like Metallica and gymnasium sounds like Sanitariuuuum, dum, dum, dum. Exciting! We're the first game on Friday. It's mid afternoon. We're on the field warming up when all of a sudden what starts as a low noise gets louder and louder with no distinction as to what it is. We're all kind of turning in the direction of the noise which is coming from over a hill. All of a sudden, what still gives me chills of joy to this day, come buses full our student fans over the hill into sight yelling their heads off! They kept yelling over the river and through the woods...no, but they yelled from the top of the hill all the way to the parking lot. They yelled from the parking lot to the stands. They yelled in the stands until the announcement of the our players. Then somehow they yelled louder during the announcement of each individual player. Then they went completely silent for the announcement of the others team players. Then they erupted again up until the end of the game. Near the end of the game with the score tied and going into a shootout, our fans started inching closer and closer to the field. Good thing there was that wood slate fence held in place by wire...that'll keep 'em out should we win. The final shot in the shootout gets us our first down state victory!! Our fans trample the fence in a V shape. First one guy...I remember exactly who it was...another snapshot in my mind...followed by three more, then even more as the fence went down like dominos from the middle all the way to the end of both sides. The party on the field had started. Unbelievable!! We're winning down state! I was part of this. When I think about the line-up of our team now, we had an all-star team...no weak links...and talent on the bench! Next game was later that night. Win and we play for the title.
The story, alas, doesn't have the happiest of endings. We lost that night...to a better team. No excuses. They won 3-0. Any loss is hard. We were that close. The team we lost to won the State Championship. There is some consolation in that.
The memories from that season made for a great Senior year, a magical year. The picture of our team from that special year hangs in the hallway of our high school to this day. A reminder of the memories for our team, our fans, our school and our families. Memories that last a lifetime...that have lived a lifetime! :)
Life Revisited - High School Revisited
Last summer on a trip back to our hometown with my girlfriend, we decided to drive by our old high school which we both hadn't been to since we graduated almost 30 years ago. Friday night, it was late, I was walking you home...that song by The Little River Band was actually on the radio. It was a Friday night, we were in the area, we knew it wouldn't be open. Maybe I'll do a neutral drop in the parking lot...in my Hyundai, not! We were reminiscing...the song is still on...by driving by our old houses and haunts, marveling at all the changes around town since we had left and relishing in some of the things that hadn't changed.This is still...that used to be. Sharing stories of what we did here all the time...one night my friends and I...the stories went on and on. It was an unplanned trip that turned into a marvelous night. Anyway, we decide to drive by our old school...unlike Steely Dan who is never going back to his old school...the radio is still on.
The lights are on, people are milling about, cars are in the parking lot. We have to go in! I'm dying to see my picture that hangs with the many others in the halls for achievement in academics, sports, art, etc. My picture hangs for my achievement in soccer my senior year when we went down state. The memories from that season are another story altogether. We park out back near the entrance to the gymnasium. The doors are open! There is not a sole in site. It's been nearly 30 years! My brain is tingling!
The gym foyer has a lot more pictures for achievement hanging on the walls and a lot more trophies. Life went on here while we were away. We roamed the gym with heightened senses, with memory overload. Very distinct memories, pictures and words in my mind like a video. I remember the pep rally for our soccer team before we went down state. I remember specifically where certain people sat during the rally as their faces shot through my memory. On another occasion, I remember coming out of the locker room to my friends telling me that John Bonham had died and the Led Zeppelin concert we had tickets to was cancelled. My girlfriend and I again shared story for story. Still no one in sight.
We headed down the hallway to where there were some people. On our way we continued looking at the pictures on the wall. Fascinating to look at all the people. People we hadn't thought about for a long long time flooding back the memories. Who they were, what they did, how well we knew them, how they affected our lives, certain specific memories. We continue on. We reach the theater which is right in the middle of what we called circle hall...because it's circular...brilliant! Major remodeling done. Very nice! My picture has been moved?! Yes, I remember where it USED to hang! There is a talent show going on, thus all the hubbub. We talk to a few people, tell them that we went here. None of them has much interest. We used to be somebody here...now just another brick in the wall. Sorry about all the music references.
We continue on to the the main part of the school where we had to use our brains. Classrooms, lockers and, of course more pictures hanging on the wall. Classrooms where I stared at girls instead of listening. Lockers, I had four different ones, proof of graduation in four years. I only slightly remember the vicinity of those lockers. The pictures on the walls are a lot older here. No remodeling here, no picture relocation. It is enjoyingly haunting in this the main wing of the high school. Nobody stopped us from going over here. Only the flood lights are on. We go up floor by floor by ourselves. It feels like we're in the beginning of a horror flick. The pictures here are faded. The students who came way before us. Where are they now? Spooky. Empty frames amongst the others. What happened there? We speculate. Spookier. We're having a great time! We've travelled all the halls on all three floors. We sat down in the hall. Silent for awhile as we took it all in. A black and white photo of us leaning against the lockers shot from further down the hall would have summed it up...what we were feeling. We got up and headed down the stairs. Our journey here is over. We didn't plan on getting in. We ended up being everywhere within. We get back in the car. We drive back to where we're staying. The stories continue on the drive back and into the night. The unplanned trip that we will never forget!! :) And yes, I found my picture. I was relocated to the gym foyer where we entered. Just another jock in the gym!