It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
But it was never both at the same time for the same person.
I'm talking about high school.
Ahhh, high school.
My husband hated it. I loved it.
Well, my high school experience wasn't all paved with ribbon candy and happy sappy times. Down times certainly existed -- drama among my tight-knit group of friends, experiencing the death of a former schoolmate, sliding 15 feet down a stucko wall and landing on my butt next to a pine bush. (ouch)
But if I could go back and redo any part of my life over again, my senior year of high school would be at the top of the list.
I wasn't a sporto or a prom queen. I wasn't a delinquent -- although in our senior wills and prophecies, I will my extensive criminal record to one of the delinquent underclassmen (!) I didn't classify myself as extraordinarily smart either. In fact, if I had to identify with any of the Breakfast Club characters, I probably would choose the basket case (Ally Sheedy). I spent much of my high school years observing, studying my classmates and the emotions cultivated through the goings-on in their lives.
I credit the writer in me for spending that time observing.
I had about 35 students in the senior class at the private school I attended. Most of the kids in my class had been attending school with me for at least five years. Many of them I'd been friends with for 12 years.
Even though I rarely spoke to some of them, after getting to know my classmates for the better part of 12 years, I grew attached to their features, the sounds of their voices, their personalities.
Sadly, some I haven't seen since graduation nearly 17 years ago.
Lord, where has the time gone?
The featured speaker at our graduation ceremony, Dolph Puliam, told us that once we walked out those doors, we couldn't go home again. Our lives would change, and we would have to find a way to become successful individuals in our own rite.
But I longed for those days. I even tried to go back. Before I started writing for a living, I worked as a librarian at my former high school for about six months.
Although many of my former teachers were still there, it wasn't the same.
Walking down the halls, I expected my friends to come around the corner and ask me if I was ready to go to lunch, if I was ready to skip out on eighth period, if I had any gum in my locker.
Even when I caught the principal/head football coach calling me by my maiden name -- "Miss Hupp, Miss Hupp, Miss Hupp..." "Excuse me Mr. Bellar, my name is Mrs. Harris now," -- it wasn't the same.
I enjoyed my time there that spring. Watching the stars in the eyes of that young senior class as they prepared to step out into the world helped solidify the memories I retained of high school, but it also drove home the reality that I wanted to impress upon them as they turned the tassel on their graduation cap: "You really can't go home again."