One of the nice things about my relatively new job is the work schedule. Being a green company, we’re encouraged to adopt a 45/35 schedule resulting in every other Friday off – thus saving gas and commuting costs. As eco-aware as I am, I was attracted to the idea of a string of three-day weekends more than the idea of being ecologically conscientious. In fact – I’ve used my car more on those Fridays off than the the five minute commute to work each day.
Take my most recent free Friday, for instance. My trek took me northward to the the big city in search of that holy grail of the female persuasion: a comfortable bra. My research pointed me to a little shop in a neighborhood I am well familiar with and as a result, I took a side trip down memory lane.
A few weeks ago I’d made contact with my best friend from high school. After about thirty-five years of wondering where each other was, Facebook provided the conduit for our re-connection. A few e-mails and a long phone conversation later, I was immersed in a flood of memories. I’m still searching for photographs after receiving some from her of the summer of our trip to Europe. But I digress…
When I got to the city, I drove by a couple of my childhood homes and went looking for my old high school. My last visit was with my brother ten years ago, but, oddly, I had difficulty finding it. I thought driving the route my mom took every school day would spark my memory of how to get there, but after winding through old familiar neighborhoods, I gave in and relied on an iPhone gps app to get me there. Embarrassing.
My school is abandoned now. Fifty-nine years old and she’s a decaying, weed-ridden and rusty old lady. As I drove around the building, echoes of memories bounced off the graffitied walls. My mind’s eye filled with ghosts of the football team practicing on the over-grown field, class-mates filling the breeze-way between the cafeteria and the main building; running down the hall to choir class…
I ‘came of age’ while at that school. From seventh through twelfth grade I matured from a goofy thirteen year old to a rebellious-ish hippie by graduation date. I found my ‘clique’ in tenth grade, fell in and out of love in pace with my surging hormones, experienced a string of ‘firsts’ and graduated amidst a torrent of teenage drama and looming adulthood. They were some of the best years of my life.
There have been some odd parallels to that time within the last few years of my life – not that I’m regressing to my teen years, merely experiencing changes, growth, new friendships, hormonal shifts… That high-school version of myself is always with me, though, reminding me to lighten up and keeping me as immature as I ever was.
I’m glad she’s stuck around. And sad that a symbol of that defining era will soon be eradicated and replaced to be remembered only within the yellowed and cracked pages of dusty yearbooks and a dwindling number of alums left behind.
Rest in peace old girl.
Pics: Sign: iPhone; Hallway: from Abandoned Oklahoma