I never was a good student. During grammar school I had the misfortune of having two exceptional and amazing scholars in my class and try as I may, I never could get the best of them. Since the class size was only 12 students and for the most part remained so for the eight years, I believe this microcosm twisted my view of the real world. Therefore, I never gave much effort to excel. In my small private high school (once again, I was one student in a class of only 120) I found myself thrust among four Merit Scholarship Finalists. I was already well on the path that if I could not be Top Dog (though back then, Top Cat would be more apropos)then I was not going to try very hard.
Home work was completed during Home Room and study hall. If I had not studied enough for a History or Social Studies class, I faked an illness. I had to have an algebra tutor. I copied my Latin assignments from my BFF Laura. In other words, I was a nightmare for teachers. Not that different from the majority of my classmates.
There are certain moments of High School I remember. Tiny vignettes of people and place. Smoking in the bathroom, skipping classes and getting caught, detention class after school, riding the bus to downtown where I would have to ride the Greyhound Bus the last 12 miles home, being on a panel with Jose discussing transcendental philosophy, Latin class with Father S. who drove a Hot Rod and was very handsome and all of us girls shook our heads at the waste, the nun who was the librarian we called Rat, decorating homeroom doors, having the biggest crush in the history of crushes on the Dog.
The most vivid still holds certain emotions that are stirred. In Junior Year I found myself in a creative writing class. For perhaps the first and only time in the four years of my high school experience, I gave it my all. I was inspired by something that has happened to someone I knew that summer. I took his reality and experience and gave it the voice of a 12 year old girl.
Mrs. F sat at her desk and began to read the best of our efforts. She read two of them and paused before beginning the third and final. The best of the best.
I began to hear my words being read aloud by someone else. "It happened this summer, when the days were becoming so hot the tar was bubbling on the road......"
I was terrified and shamed for some unexplained reason. In my totally freaked out state I tried to glance around the class room. Mrs. F. had every ones attention. Hanging on her words, my words. And at the end, my pal Bonnie was crying.
"I'm going to be a writer" I vowed to myself.
Thirty some odd years later I sit here at my key board and wonder if....if I had pursued a writing career. If I had taken my life a little bit seriously, not a lot, just a little and talked to someone. Maybe someone then would have directed me towards journalism.
Instead, here I sit, still slightly terrified at people reading what I write.