I saw some familiar faces, which was a nice surprise. These are the same folks that still live around the area but we have never associated, even in school. It doesn't make us bad people. Just NOT friends. So many souls have passed through these rooms with me along for the ride. I should have done more to make real connections with my classmates but I was a mess. My self-esteem was not just low, it was unmeasurable. I mentioned it in a posting [here] about Billy Baumbach.....my Nemesis. He had no idea.....
As I walked through those halls, very few things stood out. The first was of those souls who didn't make it to 2016 for the tour. We lost a few classmates along the way. (I wrote about Donnie Leggore [here]) Jimmy Morrison comes to mind, as he was such a good guy that couldn't win over his addiction. Betty Vogt was our first loss I believe, by a car accident. There were a few more, like friends Tony Kinsey and Sue Strohm, others Rita, Anthony, Hesh, and more I may not know of. Suffice it to say they are all missed. We won't know until OUR time is done if they were the lucky ones or not. I guess the walls themselves held nothing to remember, but when I got home and started thinking about high school, many other things started popping up. In no particular order (or is THAT a kind-of order???)
It took almost 30 years, but I had my first conversation with Audrey )and she signed my yearbook!). She found out that I had a crush but knew I couldn't pursue it then. Although she was a pretty cheerleader, Audrey always seemed happy and was smiling 24/7. She made those rare moments when our paths crossed a delight.
Those of us who had Mr Walters in metal shop didn't understand at the time how lucky we were to have HIM as our leader. The first thought that I have is how almost every day seemed to start.... We would all be lounging around his desk, as Mr Walters would usually come in right at the bell to start. He would yell, "HEY!" Why aren't you guys working???" We would respond, "..... but Pappy, It's MONDAY!.... " the next day, same routine, he would come in and say "Hey! Why aren't you guys working????" We would reply, "....but Pappy, it's TUESDAY!" We couldn't get away with THAT again until next Monday... He was a good guy who left us far too young.
What a difference a YEAR makes in school, but now, a few years later, not so much...
One of the first things I noticed as I started my last four years of learning was the respect that higher grade kids had for their younger compadres. They would be so very helpful in helping make the uneasy adjustments to this new environment and their compassion was unending, making us all feel like we belonged to the group. Also the ladies who were seniors or juniors would always be open to dating underclassman, as they knew we were vulnerable to being forever damaged by the torment of youth. OK, it was exactly OPPOSITE of all that.
....and SPEAKING of girls, what's with all the mentions of "girls" in the yearbook???? I MUST have been so painfully obvious with my insecurities that most everyone mentioned in my yearbook about being "hopeful" I will find someone special, as well as reminding me of my epic failures in THAT department. "Friends" permanently recorded in the pages, "good luck with the girls, you will NEED it"..... and "...good luck with the girls, you will never master the skills". No wonder I had issues....
Every class had a "beauty queen" and ours was Alison. I had known her a bit since grade school. Her family lived down the street from me and I would occasionally see her there. By the time we got to high school, she was a star and I was a shadow in the background, yet she was always nice and talkative. A lot more than I could ever imagine. It was some of the few times I felt like I was a part of the cool crowd. I've wondered for years what happened to her, but I won't bug.
Mayor Reid......He became VERY well-known for being Mayor during a challenging time, but one of the "unfortunates" of my time at MAHS is that he was NEVER a teacher of mine.... I'm sure it would have been fun AND educational.... Mr McConaghy..... He was one of the teachers who, somehow seemed a complete human being. he had personal difficulties that came out in class discussions and we couldn't have respected him more for sharing. Mrs Kulha.....She was the teacher that I wanted to have but, FRENCH????? As a half-German that couldn't SPEAK German, it just seemed wrong. But she WAS elegant! Mr Guinivan and Mr Kamandulis.... The corporal punishment I earned, right or wrong, were by these guys. Once when I got Pam Crum to laugh while she was reading out loud in Mr K's class. The other was in shop for a long forgotten incident. The School system ended these practices soon after. I'm sure it's been regretted ever since. Pete Fox Sr.... I thought I told this story here before but I can't find it.... I was in wood shop during the heydays of Wrestling. Mr Fox was the teacher and the discussion one day turned to the "sleeper hold". There was more than one enthusiastic volunteer to experiment with it's effectiveness. Turns out the largest kid in school offered himself up as "victim" and the biggest fan of WWF would put the hold on him. Mr Fox didn't believe it would work but OK'd the show. Bruce put his arms around Terry's neck and in short order, the big guy went down! Not only that, he had slammed neck-first into a vice. I KNOW Mr Fox saw his career flash in front of his eyes. Luckily, no permanent damage was done to the vice or Terry but Bruce was just as shocked as anyone in class it worked!!! Mr Demichele.... Although there is no mention of it in the yearbook, I thought we lost my homeroom teacher during the school year. We waited for him to show up and he never came. Mr Kraft..... He was a guy that tried to get you thinking and involved. How do you do THAT with MATH????? He was usually smiling and happy and much appreciated.
Mr Brunner..... What can be said that hasn't been spoken by many already. The man was ICONIC, not in his meanness, but in his fairness and strength of character. He was the reason Middletown had a GREAT reputation all those years ago. He was involved enough that when I tried to sneak out during school hours with a friend, guess who was waiting for me at the door when we got back? ....and he called me by name. I didn't know him but I sure as heck respected him. Irv Alexander..... I'm sure many students didn't know this fine man, and I didn't either while in school. It was after I had graduated that we spent many hours in the gym together, talking and teaching and laughing. He left us as a young man and is missed by everyone he spoke with I'm sure.
I ALSO forgot ANOTHER interesting entry on my yearbook by a teacher ' Mrs Ott wrote "To a nice young student with a very individualistic but undisciplined personality. I enjoyed having you in class even though you didn't work up to your capacity. Best of luck in the future. Long Live Elvis!"
Why didn't I participate more???? Plays, the school newspaper, conditioning club, student council, typing, sewing, Spanish, band, radio, sports... we had opportunities for each. And yet I said no to all. Dumb dumb. The teachers WERE right about my potential and lack of reaching it in school.
I came to the locker number with the combination from 10th grade. Why I ever saved that is beyond me but I still had it. Of course the lockers have changed since I attended so long ago. Like everything in life, progress rolls forward.
Am I happy I went?
Well..... I haven't written much in quite a while and yet the words came flowing out. What do YOU think??? My lost sentimentality began with reflection of the past and what importance it is in my life. Honestly, it means very little. I found my happiness in life long after my student days were done and have put most of the memories away. I posted [here] about how looking back hasn't exactly been a positive thing. This visit was a confirmation that the past is the past and I don't dwell on it or have much use for it. It helped make me who I am but other than that, there isn't much.
I always hold out hope for more though.... Yes, I'm THAT corny.
There will be no new friends from that time, as they all have family obligations and a life beyond our childhood.
When they finally demolish the building none of my memories will go down with it. Nothing will be buried. There will be no loss. I just hope that many years from now, when the NEW school is old, the place we call "home" for 4 years of our life is filled with happy thoughts and happy folks.