Archive for the ‘my junior high best friend’ Category

The end-of-a-crush story

April 27, 2013

Today I returned to that Spanish class at my old high school. After I picked up the key to the room, I stood where the line forms for the snack window and remembered something that happened on that site.

This is a story I’ve told many times, as an example of how quickly affection can end.

There was a boy at school I had a crush on. By sophomore year I had had it bad for about three years. He didn’t know.

By some happening, my best friend’s parents became friends with his parents, and they invited the family over for dinner and visiting. I practically lived at their house, so this had my best girlfriend and me trying every outfit in both our closets to find the perfect thing for me to wear.

Things were going great. The teens were sent outside to eat by the pool. It was my crush, my junior high best friend, both their brothers and me. There was laughter and not a little flirting.

After we ate we went swimming, and when it was dark out we got in the hot tub. I was making a fool of myself with the eyelash batting and shoulder tucking, until I saw my soon-to-be-ex-crush had a huge, slimy, green booger half out of a nostril.

I moved to nudge my girlfriend, and when I looked back, it wasn’t there. I could not get out of that water fast enough.

The next day I was in the snack line, because I needed an ice cream bar for English class. The ex-crush found me there. He invited me to the Homecoming dance.

I made an excuse and declined.

I wasn’t able to come up with something sensitive and convincing, though, because I was focused on how excited I would have been if he had asked yesterday.

The sniper story

March 9, 2013

When I was in high school a sniper came to my town.

A retired woman was shot in the early morning walking her small dog. A man was shot having a lunch break in his truck. Everyday there was another death. No one knew who it was. There was no apparent motive.

After about four days of this came the weekend, and my friends and I went out as usual.

I think this was ill-advised. I formed this idea when my car broke down next to an orange grove.

Then I said my idea out loud. This was also ill-advised. I suddenly had a car full of panicking girls. That’s a fun Friday night, right there.

We knocked on a nearby home and called my dad. We piled into some poor stranger’s living room and waited, away from the window.

Saturday night I stayed home.

Sunday morning my girlfriend was freaking out. They had gone to the party spot overlooking the city, where teen-agers parked, turned up their stereos and hung out. It was an off-road labrynth of dirt paths in the hills.

It got chilly early, and my friends climbed in their car to warm up. Seconds later a burly man in fatigues waving what looked like a broomstick jumped on the hood of the station wagon.

As fast as they could, they locked their doors and peeled out of there.

So there’s my girlfriend on the phone Sunday, saying the guy on the front page of the paper under the word ‘Captured’ was the burly man. He seemed to have survived the fall from the car.

I don’t think he was waving a broomstick.

The ghost story

March 7, 2013

I grew up in a haunted house.

It was a hundred-year-old craftsman that had for some time served as a convelescent home. We assume our ghosts were old people.

I’ve got 15 years’ worth of hauntings to talk about, but this is my favorite.

One afternoon, when I was in high school, my friends and I went to my house for lunch.

When it was time to return to class, I followed everyone through the hardwood entryway and was the last out the door.

The door had a wood frame, but was primarily glass panes. There was a sheer white curtain on the inside of it that didn’t do much to obscure the view.

On each side of the door were vertical panes of windows. Indoors there were thick glass shelves clamped in under each pane. My mother had little blown-glass vases on them that she bought at art shows.

It was my job to clean the glass in the entryway. I hated wrestling those shelves out of those metal clamps.

I was turning the key in the lock when I realized I had forgotten my purse. I changed the rotation of the key and stepped back inside the house.

I was barefoot. I was always barefoot. Fun fact: I fed the school some story about my American Indian heritage. I don’t know if they bought it, but they said if I carried my shoes around with me they would let it slide.

When I stepped back into the house I felt cold under my feet. I was standing on a 100-year-old glass shelf. I made a noise.

My friend had turned around yelled something like ‘no way.’

Ten little glass shelves were lined up like stepping stones from the door to the living room. The clamps were empty. The vases were gone.

Most people say, ‘They were probably like that when you walked out, and you just didn’t notice.’

This is impossible. Even if we hadn’t seen the path or the absence of vases, the shelves were thick. Four teen-agers had just tromped through there. One of us would have kicked them, and I would have felt the cold under my feet.

No one had had time to move them, and they sure didn’t fall.

Over the next four years my parents and I found those vases one at a time: one morning we spotted one behind the leg of a desk; another time one turned up in the refigerator.

My friends, meanwhile, didn’t go to my house for lunch anymore.


February 1, 2013

Something painful and humiliating happened to me.

I don’t want to talk about it.


January 14, 2013

Three years ago I was substitute teaching some for extra money, (my real job is as a copy editor.)

One day I was at my old junior high school taking over a friend’s English class on what I still think of as the archery field.

The children were fascinated to know PE class used to include a week of archery. I was fascinated that anyone would think this was a good thing. Archery terrifies me.

And as so often happens, I started explaining, and it started sounding ridiculous to me….

Every year in spring Mrs. Tilson marched us across the campus in our little white shorts and bright yellow — which they cooled up by calling ‘gold’ — striped T-shirts. We stood with our backs to the busy street, facing blocks of hay with targets on them, and heard about the dangers of the feathers.

That’s right, the feathers.

‘Don’t get your fingers in the way of the feathers,’ is how the speech began. ‘When they whiz by, they’re like razors. They will cut your fingers.’

And then came the worst part. Mrs. Tilson told about the kid who held the arrow too close to his face, and when he released it, a feather sliced his eyeball in half.

In preparation for writing this entry, I Googled ‘archery dangers,’ ‘feather dangers’ and ‘archery safety tips.’

Guess what. Mrs. Tilson is the only one who knows about the feathers.

Where’s that from?

November 28, 2012

I love to play guess-what-this-line-is-from.

When I was a teenager, my best friend and I would make lists of lines from songs and present them to each other in first period study hall. I remember in my sophomore year chewing on the line “Strangers making the most of the dark” all day.

I could hear the melody and hum the next line, but it wasn’t until dinner that the answer came to me.

That’s my idea of fun, for sure.

I also play this with movie quotes. There was a poster at Blockbuster –101 famous movie quotes, can you name the films? — that I wanted bad. I would have put it on the wall and then thrown a party to see how many people gathered around and tried it.

But this was when I was subbing, and no way was I going to spend $15 on a poster, knowing I didn’t have the money to throw me a see-who-gathers-at-my-new-poster party.

I found it online for $8 plus shipping, but I still won’t buy it. That’s how cheap I am.

Today I’m sharing a movie quote challenge that I have chewed on for years — and even Googled, which I frown on as the height of cheaterpantsery — and can’t find the answer to.

In 1999 my husband and I rented a VHS movie with the following line: “Yeah, but if less is more, think how much more more is.”

I thought this was the funniest ever. I don’t remember what movie it was. I thought it was American Pie, so I rented it and watched it again. No dice.

Now I’m setting the spinner to All Play.

If you know the answer, you win.

And because the chewing will finally end, I’ll win too.

The nerd party story

November 2, 2012

Every Monday night my kids’ band has to show up to practice in costume. Each section has a theme. Tonight, my son’s section went as nerds.

When My Junior High Best Friend and I were in ninth grade we threw a nerd party.

I would give anything to put the invitation verbage on this post. I have one of the invitations somewhere. It was in rhyme, and it was brilliant. I’ll look for it. Check back.

Essentially it told guests to put on their polyester high waters and come on over for an evening of dancing and junk food.

We had a great turnout. We put my Hitachi turntable in the laundry room window and blared The Clash onto the deck, where all our favorite ninth-graders were getting their groove on.

It never occurred to either of us to dress up. I wore tapered jeans with a The Who final tour concert shirt.

Then a boy named Doug walked in from the driveway. He had an elaborate nerd get-up on. It was beautiful. He had too short plaid pants that came up to his nipples, and fake bucked teeth under greased-down hair.

He got up onto the deck, looked around in horror at everyone in street clothes, and ran back up the driveway.

He ran all the way home, several blocks away, and changed his clothes.

My mom was disturbed. “That poor boy is going to remember that moment for the rest of his life.”

Great, now I was disturbed.

So disturbed I remembered it for all of my life.


August 22, 2012

Today is my 19th wedding anniversary, so I mean to wax sappy.

I babysat an infant when I was 14. One afternoon I was talking to my junior high best friend’s mom, and I said, “I was singing this baby to sleep in my arms, and I understood how a mother would love her baby.”

She said, “It’s amazing, and it keeps getting stronger.”

I couldn’t imagine it.

When I was pregnant with my son, my husband was freaking out. I told him about the increasing love. He said, “Honey, that’s nonsense. I teach teen-agers. Surely the love wanes.”

He was serious.

I have found that my friend’s mom was right.

It’s true for my husband, too. I love him more every year.

At first, my love was about how good it felt to be together, and the excitement of feeling that way forever. It was about promise. It was the potential of future happiness. Also, I agreed with the values he told me he had.

Twenty years later, it’s not about what the future holds so much as what the past has shown. I’ve seen him consistently be a good man, when it would have been easier not to be. I’ve felt him care for me when I sick, when I was frightened, and when I had just delivered a big honking baby. I’ve watched him sacrifice for and live by his values.

At 20, if a 40 had told me I ain’t seen nothin’ yet, I would have said she didn’t understand how strong my love was.

And if a 60 said to me today I ain’t seen nothin’ yet?

I would think it’s impossible.

click here for picture

Adverb humor

August 9, 2012

Today is My Junior High Best Friend’s birthday.

It’s also my High School Boyfriend’s birthday, the boyfriend from The Trumpet Story‘s birthday and the copy editor from The Palm Tree Story’s birthday.

But I’m giving the post to my Junior High Best Friend.

We used to fancy ourselves grammar police, which everyone knows makes you popular at parties.

My focus was verb tense, and Kelly’s was adverbs.

When somone said, for instance, ‘I’ll just do it real quick,’ she would mutter ‘-ly.’ She was always muttering ‘-ly.’

My running joke was that when she was born her mother named her ‘Kel,’ and Kel popped her mouth off the breast to mutter, ‘-ly.’

Mötley Crüe concert

August 1, 2012

It’s midnight on the nose, and I just got home from Cruefest 2. I was working a concessions stand to raise money for my kids’ high school’s music program, but I abandoned my post when Mötley Crüe came on stage.

I’m a Mötley Crüe lover from way back.

When I was 14 they played at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino. That concert kicked off the Shout at the Devil tourQuiet Riot opened for them. I realized tonight, while I was complaining that the music was giving me a headache, that that was 25 years ago.

They can still rock just as well as ever. But they’re very loud.

Fun fact: Aerosmith’s ‘Dude Looks Like a Lady’ was written about Mötley Crüe. They wore a lot of make-up.

This concert trip was a different experience from the one 1984. Midnight didn’t feel so late last time.

Instead of being  Too Young to Fall in Love, I have to close my eyes and wait for the Motrin to kick in.

The horse riding story

July 2, 2012

My Junior High Best Friend just got back from a family vacation in Mammoth.

Fun fact that isn’t particularly fun: Her boys are the same ages as my kids, and her oldest boy has dealt with tumors in his head, too. This makes me wonder if we were exposed to something together during our teens. The other two girls we hung out with never had children.

I’ve been to Mammoth this time of year. It’s beautiful. My dad rented a condo there for the week after I finished high school. We took My High School Best Friend.

We spent the first couple of days lying by the pool, but I woke up one morning with a chest, and my bathing suit didn’t fit anymore.

So we went horseback riding.

We had never been on horseback, any of us, yet we had the nerve to be disappointed we would be led nose to tail slowly on a narrow path. Now that I’ve actually ridden free, I can see the beauty of our Mammoth ride. Who did we think we were, Hoss and Little Joe?

There we were, meandering painfully slowly through the forested mountains, and all I could hear was my mother behind me anxiously sucking her teeth.


“There are loose rocks on the trail. I’m afraid your horse is going to trip.” This is my mother in a nutshell.

I tried to get someone to trade horses with me. No luck.

Then the gasping started.

“Mo-om! This horse walks this trail everyday. Its whole life is walking this trail. Plus, it’s a horse. It’s not going to trip on a rock. Someone please switch places with me!”

And then my stupid horse tripped on a rock.

His front leg slipped and buckled. I almost fell off.

I think she’s forgotten about this, though I will never know, because to ask would be to remind. I hope she has, because I hate to see her nervousness rewarded.

I’m pretty sure if you ask her what she remembers about our trip to Mammoth, she’ll tell you about my visit from the booby fairy.

My geometry teacher

April 21, 2012

My geometry teacher was good.

I learned and enjoyed the subject.

There was just one thing — he had body odor.

He was so odoriferous everyone speculated he had it on purpose or didn’t care.

By my second year as his student, in trigonometry, we had gotten used to it. Passing notes about it was still common, but not daily.

One rainy day during that second year everyone chose seats in the back of the room.

This was neither organized, nor for any evident reason.

When the teacher came in, he gave a dramatic visual sweep of us and acted offended.

“Why are you all sitting against the window? Do I have B.O. or something?”

We all had the same thought: Oh my God, he doesn’t know.

You never saw so many frozen smiles of fake nonchalance.