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Have a Rockin’ Summer: Adding Yearbooks to the Endangered Species List

My twenty year high school reunion is in the works.

I am getting old.

Also, I am not going to the reunion. Basically, I know what’s up because I am on Facebook, and I do not want to relive twenty years ago, unless I am torturing myself with distant memories to make fun of as Drew in Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl. It’s not that high school was really all that horrible (no more than for anyone else, I’m sure), but I prefer to leave the past in the past.

Unless it involves looking through my old yearbooks.

These are my high school yearbooks from WCHS

These are my high school yearbooks from WCHS

Seeing reunion posts on Facebook reminded me that I found my yearbooks a few months back when we reorganized and remodeled our home office. Those yearbooks are especially special to me because I was part of creating it from my sophomore through my senior year. From headlines to deadlines, to awkward picture caption writing and slow Macintosh computers using Pagemaker, I did it, and edited it.

Having recently taught at the high school level, I sadly realized that yearbooks just don’t have the same importance and emotional attachment (I used to use mine as reference books) that they used to. In my day (see- I told you I’m getting old), for at least a week after yearbooks came out, they were academic distractions. Often teachers, if they were cool, just gave up and let us have time for part of a class period to look at them and trade to sign them. For some reason people who hardly spoke to each other suddenly felt the need to have each other write silly things like “K.I.T.” (keep in touch) and share their phone numbers so they could “have a blast together over the summer, just like in science class,” or wish each other to “have a totally rockin’ summer, dude!” We would reserve special blank pages for our close friends where we would have space to write super meaningful notes to each other, and even draw pictures, and possibly use ten different colors of ink without the pressure of writing around someone else’s work of art. I think technology has killed some of what made yearbooks so special. Social media chronicles our lives for us now, so we don’t have to wait all year to see the highlights.

But I won’t be sad about it; after all, my senior quote in my yearbook is, “Hakuna matata!”


Another Book, Another Soundtrack


In my upcoming book Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: Fresh-meat Year, Drew’s musical tastes have grown and grunge has been unleashed. With each video, I’ve included the excerpt where the song or band is mentioned.

Metallica: Enter Sandman

“My guess was he was just a bit taller than I was, and his dark brown hair hung in his face, covering one of his eyes. He wore a black Metallica tee shirt, so I knew he had good taste in music. We would be a perfect match.”

Jesus Jones: Right Here, Right Now

“In the time it took me that night to do my homework, except for the pre-algebra I was avoiding, and listening to my entire Jesus Jones cassette tape (both sides), Ryan called for my sister seven times.”

Paula Abdul: Rush Rush

“I expressed this theory to Adrienne as I dropped off her books that afternoon and we watched Paula Abdul and Keanu Reeves in her Rebel Without a Cause style video for ‘Rush Rush.’ Somehow we found her to be an acceptable pop artist, and we both drooled over Keanu, just as we had while watching him bring down surfer bank robbers in Point Break.”


Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit

“That evening I was introduced to Nirvana for the first time and their “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video revolutionized our outlooks on pep rallies and helped usher in a whole new style of musical genius to teens everywhere. Soon after, the Bubba-Joes and Allie-Maes of Florntayor weren’t the only ones wearing flannel shirts. Grunge had arrived, and it was wonderful.”


Ozzy Osbourne: No More Tears

Dustin and Adrienne were watching Ozzy’s “No More Tears” video from an old floral couch with wooden trim and threadbare arms.


Billy Ray Cyrus: Achy Breaky Heart (hahahahaha!)

“That was Chip Dicksen, the redneck senior in my math class who thinks grabbing my ankle is a turn on.”
“You better watch out. With that mullet, he’s likely to sing ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ to you.” I simply rolled my eyes in response.


Red Hot Chili Peppers: Under the Bridge

While Anne and I happily watched Anthony Keidis running and running in the “Under the Bridge” video, Mona and Violet’s minion Julia came sauntering in our direction.

Soundgarden: Outshined

I spied a black Soundgarden shirt draped over his desk chair, which I picked up and flung at him. “I’m going to need you to put this on,” I said as I lowered my backpack from my shoulders, untangling my hair from the upper loop.


Firehouse: Love of a Lifetime

“It’s a mystery,” she replied, shaking her head sympathetically. “But they danced to ‘Love of a Lifetime,’ so they’re probably going out now. I saw them together earlier.”


Guns N Roses: Don’t Cry

We managed to escape the world where parents mattered while attempting to rescue Princess Toadstool, later known as Princess Peach, in Dustin’s attic bedroom. Guns N’ Roses blared from the stereo. We stopped between levels as “Don’t Cry” came on. “I love this song. I know it’s a released song and everyone knows it and all, but it’s still one of my favorites on this album,” Dustin admitted, and we listened without speaking, all the way until Axl Rose held out the final note, his voice wavering up and down, and then we resumed the game until Adrienne’s mom showed up.


Jane’s Addiction: Been Caught Stealing

“Ugh. Now I have to find another date,” I replied.
“Take Adrienne.”
“No way. She’s got Jane’s Addiction concert tickets that night. Besides, Angela didn’t think I could get a real date, so the gauntlet has been thrown down, in a matter of speaking.”


Pearl Jam: Alive

The great debates of our lives became whether or not Adrienne and I were going to torture ourselves by not only attending the upcoming homecoming game but the dance as well, whether Nirvana or Pearl Jam was better, and whether or not Dustin liked me. We were currently undecided on all fronts.


Bryan Adams: Everything I Do

For the rest of the night some poetry was recited by a mousy junior girl and Bryan Adams’s “Everything I Do” was sung a cappella, and badly, by a senior who was using it as a means to ask a girl to prom. She said yes and with tears in her eyes, which were obviously there for different reasons than the tears I had in my eyes after the performance.


Sex Pistols: God Save the Queen

“Do you think they’ll have Sid and Nancy: Love Kills?” Adrienne had taken an interest in British punk music as of late, and had written “God Save the Queen” and “Sex Pistols” on all her notebooks.


Guns N Roses: Patience

He played the usual “Electric Slide” type torture after the first bride and groom and father and daughter dances, but he had brought along a selection that Dustin and I enjoyed as well, including Guns N’ Roses’ “Patience,” which became our slow dance for the evening.


The Doors: Riders on the Storm

We both sat without speaking for what felt like eternity, but I knew was only about thirty seconds because we only covered a short stretch of the drive home in that time and we didn’t make it past the beginning of The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm.”

I love reliving my youth through the music that shaped it, and I think Drew would too.  Hopefully you relived yours a bit as well.  The book will be unleashed tomorrow at

A Title-less Chapter from my Sequel in Progress

I’m almost finished writing the sequel to my Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages, and I feel like sharing a teaser today.  If you were a student anywhere around the time I was, enjoy the nostalgia.  Otherwise you might need to Google stuff.  I’m hoping to have my follow-up ready to release by mid-May.  Enjoy and spread the word:

The phone rang only one more time that night, and it was Adrienne.  Feeling defeated, I hadn’t even bothered to rush to the phone and just lay on my vermilion carpet, staring at the Spirograph-looking design on my ceiling until my mom yelled that Adrienne was on the phone for me.  I shuffled across the hall and all the way around my parents’ bed (normally I would have flung myself right onto it, grabbing the phone while I landed) to pick up the phone.  “Ok, Mom.  Hang up. I’ve got it,” I yelled then put my ear to the phone, not saying a word until I heard my mom’s line click.  “Hey, Adrienne.  Are you back to the world of the living?”

“Not quite.  I feel a bit like the undead.  I think there was a point where I almost went into the light, but my future husband Kurt Cobain called me back.”

“Are you coming to school tomorrow?”

“Probably not.  I also still look like the undead.  I was calling to give you my locker combo so you could grab a few things for me.”

“Adrienne Pierce!  You’re not going to do homework, are you?”  Adrienne was smart, but she was mostly lazy and she didn’t usually care enough to bring home work.

“I might.  I know I’m going to be really behind.  You know, if I can pass my tests and quizzes, I should be mostly ok, but I probably couldn’t do that right now.  I do want to actually pass.”

“Wow.  High school has changed you.  You’re growing up right before my eyes,” I feigned the whole choked up and crying thing.

“Yes, Master Drew.  I learned from you.”

“Ah, very good, young Grasshopper.”

“Anything non-academic I need to know about? Mom said you stopped by the other evening while I was all out of it.  Usually you just call, so I figured it might be a biggish deal.”

“Uhh…” I hesitated, embarrassed.

“Drew.  It’s me.  What’s up?”

“I don’t know.  I’m stupid.”

“I need a story to corroborate this claim.”

I told her everything, sparing not a single detail in the process, but I did it in record time because I just wanted it to be over.  And then I paused to give her time to consider.

“So he hasn’t called?”


“Well, you’ll see him tomorrow.”

“I know!  What do I say?  I wish you were going to be there so I wouldn’t have to face him alone.  I made such a fool of myself.”

“Maybe.  Maybe not.  You’ll find out tomorrow.”

“That’s your wisdom for me?”  I asked incredulously.

“It’s all I got.  Undead, remember?”

“Oh, all right,” I whimpered.  “I need you feeling better.  I’m a disaster on my own.  I need my wing-girl.”

“I’ll be flying next week.  Just get my books and drop them off tomorrow.  I need socialization with someone outside my family or I’m going to have to drink Windex or something.”

“Will do.  See you tomorrow afternoon, if I survive.”

“You will.”

And I did, though I was only bodily present in each of my other classes that day.  Ms. Finch noticed right away, but we were fortunately given time after our vocabulary quiz to either write in our journals or read a book.  I reread the same page of Petals on the Wind about a hundred times.   Why did V.C. Andrews find it necessary for every member of the Dollanganger family to have a name beginning with a C?  I thought I’d sorted it out in the first book, but now I was getting the characters blurred and thinking about how my name, Danny’s name, and Dustin’s name all began with a D.  Of course, we weren’t nearly as twisted as that incestuous brood, but it did make my mind wander. She reminded us that our journals were due on Monday.

By photography, I was ready to face Dustin, no matter what.  The uncertainty clouded everything else.  I arrived with a smile on my face, which faded as the warning bell sounded, and disappeared completely when the final bell rang without any sign of Dustin.  Then relief spread though my entire being.  This explained it.  He was sick, or some horrible thing had happened to a family member and he was unable to attend school or call me last night.  The circumstances were entirely out of his control.

I expressed this theory to Adrienne as I dropped off her books that afternoon and we watched Paula Abdul and Keanu Reeves in her Rebel Without a Cause style video for “Rush Rush.”  Somehow we found her to be an acceptable pop artist, and we both drooled over Keanu, just as we had while watching him bring down surfer bank robbers in Point Break.

“Yeah, that makes sense,” she coughed out and then blew her nose.

“Man, you’re still sick.”

“Actually, I feel much better.  What are the dress-up days for next week?”

“You’re suddenly feeling the need to express your school spirit for Homecoming?”

“I like a chance to wear weird stuff.”  Adrienne had never really needed an excuse to do so before, but it would be easier if it was sanctioned.

“Uh, let me see,” I said as I opened my own bookbag.  I had come straight to Adrienne’s after getting off the bus and had walked with Emily.  At some point earlier in the week I had shoved the Homecoming flyer into the bottom of my front pocket of my hunter green Jansport.  At least four pieces of paper were uncrumpled in the process before I found it, straightening out the creases on the edge of Adrienne’s coffee table.  “All right.  Monday is pajama day.”

“Done.  Got that for sure,” she replied.  “Next.”

“Tuesday is crazy hat day.”  I paused, but Adrienne didn’t add any commentary that time, so I moved down the list.  “Wednesday is cross dress day.  No.  Wait.  They had to change it.  Apparently some parents complained because some of the senior guys were planning to wear miniskirts or something.”  We both looked each at each other and laughed.

“So what are we doing instead?”

“Uh, I can’t remember.  They announced it today during photography, but my mind was elsewhere.”

“Inside out and backwards day!”  Emily shouted from the kitchen.

“How do you even know that, Emily.  You’re in middle school,” Adrienne called back, annoyed.

“I hear stuff,” was her simple reply as she walked in front of us with a brownie to get to their bedroom.

“Hey!  Where’s my brownie?” we both asked in unison.

“I think they’re in the kitchen,” Emily said as she shut the door behind her.

Assuming we were both too lazy to make our way to the kitchen for brownies, I continued with the list.  “Thursday is blast from the past day.”

“Cool!  We are totally going to raid my grandma’s closet this weekend.”

“And Friday is spirit day.  School colors and stuff like that.”

“Yeah, I’m not doing that.  I don’t own maroon outside of gym class, and I don’t really wear it then either.”

“Same here.  I better go now though.  I came straight here and Mom will worry I missed the bus.  I’ll see you tomorrow if you feel better.”

“Cool.  Later.”

(Obviously you should consider this as Copyrighted material and not try to pass any of it off as yours)

This Crazy thing Called Technology: Just an Observation

I was just having a flashback moment last night that resulted in the inspiration for today’s post.  Who remembers cameras that used real film?  Anybody remember anything other than the common 35 mm camera?

The only difference is that my first camera way baby blue, not pink.

The only difference is that my first camera way baby blue, not pink.

My first camera was a 110 Concord and I quickly learned that all my pictures would be off center until I learned to purposely aim it a bit to the left (or right- I really don’t remember which way anymore, but it was definitely off center).  Of course, I went through the entire multi-pack of film I was given with this wonderful Christmas gift, and waited the customary one month minimum it took for my mom to take me to drop off the film, and then the additional week it took for the grocery store to send the film away to their lab for development before I learned this fact.  So maybe I didn’t learn this lesson quickly at all.

And that is the point to this post: Technology advancement.  I was probably ten or so and my first muse and model for my photography was our family’s cat.  After that first round of pictures finally came back (and I didn’t care that they were terrible and off-center), I had to save up my allowance to buy film and pay for developing because my mom already had a pretty good idea what the cat looked like and wasn’t going to pay for such nonsense.


Now we point and shoot our phones at something and instantly upload our pictures to Instagram, which we can link to Facebook, or send them to our spouses or mothers via a text message.  The key word is instantly.  It’s crazy!  And I didn’t even mention the quality difference yet.  There are baby pictures of me that have discolored over the years from physical photo development, but modern mommies can capture amazingly clear photos of first steps and keep them safely in a cloud, or the cloud, or whatever.  The clarity, megapixels and whatnot, are far beyond the technology of my grainy 110 camera from my childhood.

I rarely bother actually printing photos anymore either.  I’d just have to place them into bulky physical photo albums.  Now I just move them around on my computer to organize them into virtual photo albums that only take up as much room as is needed on my computer or back-up hard drive.

I could go on and on about this, but I believe I’ve made the point of my amazement.  And I refuse to let the exponential growth of technology make me feel old, just fortunate to be around to see it (and incidentally, I’m really not very old).

Prom Pictures

Since this was my last year teaching, I did things I wouldn’t normally do in the past…like chaperone the prom.  I really had no interest in reliving it after my own, but it was fun to see so many of my students dressed up, looking so mature (though my husband kept saying, “Aw, they’re just babies.”)  We got our picture taken while there and I just picked them up last week and decided to share on Facebook.  People love pictures and it got a good response, so I decided to share here as well.

Prom chaperones 2012- FPCHS

Prom chaperones 2013- FPCHS

Of course, after this I got nostalgic, so I found my actual prom pictures from high school.  I have little to say about them.  I’ll let the pictures mostly speak for themselves.

1994.  My junior prom, with Andy- WCHS I believe we played at Toys-R-Us before the dance.

1994. My junior prom, with Andy- WCHS
I believe we played at Toys-R-Us before the dance.

And of course, my senior prom…

1995.  Senior prom with Darryl- WCHS I even got my hair done.

1995. Senior prom with Darryl- WCHS
I even got my hair done.

My Time Machine

lunch box

The things we hold onto in order to remember our youth!  I carried this lunch box to school for two years during high school, until I got my Lion King lunch box when I was a senior.  After I retired this as an actual lunch box, it held my cassette tapes in my car, until I finally got a car with a CD payer.

This started out as my dad’s lunch box when he worked for United Airlines.  My sisters and I had put a few little stickers on it for him, like one that said, “Dad Thinks I’m Cute.”  The original handle came off, so Dad used a discarded airplane cabinet handle in its place.  At some point, the latches seized to work correctly, so Dad took some kind of wire and made a sort of huge safety pin out of it to hold the latches shut.

When Dad no longer needed the lunch box, it became my project.  I put every sticker I could find on that thing, and now almost every sticker on this masterpiece has a story.

My sister used to joke that this lunch box would one day be on display at the Smithsonian.  It no longer serves any other purpose for me, but I cannot bear to part with it.  It sits atop a shelf in my closet, and I glance at it on almost a daily basis as a reminder of who I was, and it always makes me smile.  No other sixteen year old girl had a lunch box like mine!