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This week’s meme comes from Mad Libs.

My friend Beth, playing and singing on a Sunday afternoon in the courtyard at Tokay High School (now Hutchins Street Square).

1. Did you date someone from your school?

Several years after high school, the boy I was crazy about throughout those years finally returned my affection. But I had moved on — geographically, as well as emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, professionally, socially . . . he was too late. For so many reasons, I couldn’t allow myself to go back.

2. Did you marry someone from your high school?

No.

3. Did you car pool to school?

No, we walked.

4. What kind of car did you have?

Initially, I drove my parents’ 1963 Chevrolet Impala, but my father later bought a 1968 Mercury Cougar.  We named our cars, so the Chevy was “Betty Lou” and I drove “Xavier Cougar” in homage to Xavier Cougat.

5. What kind of car do you have now?

Toyota Camry XLE.

6. It is Friday night . . . where are you now?

With rare exceptions, at home . . . relaxing after a busy week.

7. It is Friday night . . . where were you then?

A football or basketball game, or other school activity. Otherwise, at the pizza joint, a movie, someone’s house, Lodi Lake or one of the parks. Sometimes we stayed up all night and went to the park to sing as the sun was coming up.

Tobie, Robin, and Linda (seated) singing at sunrise atop the slide at Emerson Park.

8. What kind of job did you have in high school?

After school, I organized and catalogued the high school’s music library. The summer following graduation, I toiled at Straw Hat Pizza to earn enough money to buy a Fender guitar.

9. What kind of job do you do now?

I’m a litigator. Employment law, labor side. I love my job. I was born to object.

10. Were you a party animal?

Yes, but in an innocent way.

11. Were you considered a flirt?

No, I only had eyes for one boy. (He’s in the photo below.)

12. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?

A Cappella Choir and the Madrigal Singers.

The 1973-74 Tokay High School Madrigal Singers clowning around in the old auditorium.

13. Were you a nerd?

Sadly, I think so, but I was in good company!

Long, straight hair and embroidered overalls were popular in the early 1970's. That's me with my friends Tobie and Linda at a birthday party in my parents' garage.

14. Did you get suspended from school?

Never!

15. Can you sing the fight song?

We didn’t have a fight song, but I can still sing the alma mater.

16. Who was your favorite teacher?

Our beloved, greatly missed choir director, Wylie “Cosmo McMoon” Moffatt.

The late Wylie Moffatt leading a 1973 rehearsal of the Tokay High School A Cappella Choir.

17. Where did you sit during lunch?

I hung out in the music building or Press Room.

18. What was your school’s full name?

Tokay High School.

19. Where did you party the most?

My house or friends’ houses.

20. What was your school mascot?

The Tokay tiger.

21. Would you do it again?

Only if I could know everything that I know now, but didn’t know then.

22. Did you have fun at Prom?

Never went.  In those days, you had to have a date in order to go to the prom and the girls had to wait for the boys to ask them to go.  The boy I wanted to go with took a different girl each year . . . and mercilessly rubbed my nose in it.  He considered me too fat to be his date — for the prom or anywhere else.  Ironically, he was anything but thin himself.

I wonder sometimes if he feels badly about the way he treated me vis a vis my appearance, given that he has children of his own. The last time I saw him . . . well, I’ll just say that he was unrecognizable and BigBob thought he was one of my former high school teachers. I’ll leave it at that.

I look at photos of myself from that time period and realize that I didn’t look nearly as fat as I felt.  I was horribly self-conscious not just because of the way he treated me, but because of the way he openly belittled me in front of other classmates. We were cast in a musical theater production. My character was named “Rosie Pickens.” He repeatedly called me “Slim Pickens” a la the late actor, laughing at his own joke each and every time. I can still hear his voice, more than 35 years later, and it makes me feel the same way today as it did then. The memory refuses to fade away with the passage of time. Of course, today I would respond in a manner of which I was incapable back then.

Today, high school kids go to proms in groups, not necessarily with a specific date.  Good for them!  It is a much healthier way to interact with each other.

23. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with?

See above.

24. Are you planning on going to your next reunion?

If my friends go, I will go, too, so long as it isn’t “black tie” and ridiculously expensive. We’ve been to a few reunions over the years and had a lot of fun. No spouses are allowed because we don’t want to have to introduce them to people and worry about them being bored.

My friend, Suzie, and I crashed the 1994 reunion . . . I heard the homecoming queen and her posse who organized it were mad about that — so they started the rumor that Suzie was horribly drunk. She wasn’t. All she drank was a Sprite!

When we arrived, dinner was over and the dancing had already begun so the lights were lowered. I opened the door and told Suzie, “We’re in the wrong ball room. There are a bunch of old people in this one!” She then pointed out numerous classmates to me. When I asked her, “Do we look that old?” she pointed me in the direction of the bar and I stayed there for quite awhile.

25. Do you still talk to people from school?

Yup, I still hang out with many of the same people.

26. What are/were your school’s colors?

Purple and gold.


3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Ahhh I miss my first car… a 70’s buick station wagon with wood panelling, only one radio station came in: Classical music, which we blasted driving around town. So groovy!

  2. I never had a car in high school. I got my first car after I moved to Los Angeles at 19. It was a two tone brown honda civic. Every Sunday I would get on Pacific Coast Highway and just drive. It wasn’t until I was almost to San Francisco that I realized I needed to turn around and go back home. Nothing like having the windows down and music playing on the radio and no worries. Sometimes I wish those days were back.

  3. Anonymous

    That was sad about prom. I think you should have gone without a date anyway and enjoyed yourself. I did, even without a date. I went with my dateless friends and we huddled together looking at the men whom we wanted to have asked us out but ended up asking the prettier girls… Now, I see the man I was pining for and yes…he looks old and fat…

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