Stay as You Are and You'll Go Far

Remember all the fun we had in cheerleading? Wait...I wasn't in cheerleading.
I must’ve been an idiot when I was in high school. Lately, looking back at those four years from 1973 to 1977, I’m astounded at just how flawed high school kids can be, and I ranked right up there with the most idiotic of them.

For reasons I won’t get into (really, you don’t want to know how I spend my days), I was recently flipping through my old yearbooks and started to read the chicken scratch of the autographs I got. Chicken scratch with big swirly balls for letters, and circles and hearts dotting the i’s. 

My kids’ yearbooks are not autograph friendly. It’s just not something they do now. For one thing, they get their yearbooks the following fall for the year before, so it’s kind of late to be writing, “Remember all the fun we had in - - -“ when that’s long gone and they’re already onto the next memory. They have MySpace and Facebook for that kind of thing now, and thankfully they’ll have no permanent record of what was written on their Walls to discover years later.

But signing someone’s yearbook was something really fun for us in the ‘70s. You would cherish a note that said, “Diane, To a sweet girl who I don’t know very well, but got to know a little more this year because of English. Good luck.” I had such a crush on that kid, and for six months bored my eyes into the word “sweet” thinking, could he really think I’m sweet?

My yearbooks are full of notes like that. Apparently half the school “didn’t know me very well” but thought I was “sweet,”  “nice,”  “funny” and would always remember the fun we had in English. 

I, however, don’t remember any of the fun from English. Nor do I remember the time I got water on my skirt in Mrs. A’s class, or “all the fun we had up the barn” or “good old gym class.”  I don’t remember “the ice incident,”  “going to the lake” (what lake?) or “all the times you gave me your tests.” I don’t remember who Jo is or the “embarrassing parking lot incident” that I helped her/him with.

I don’t remember these things, despite the fact that I was ordered to remember them - commanded, really - by several people.

Here’s an entry from Vicki:  “Never forget all the things we did like tripping.” Gee, the other things we did must’ve been real memorable, too.

From Rick:  “To a girl who makes a lot of mistakes in English.”Is this a yearbook or a report card?

From Steve:  “I’ve only known you for a year but Jeanne always talked about you.” So why are you signing my yearbook if we barely know each other?

From Tammy:  “Remember the time your stomach growled in Mrs. A’s class.” Which time?

From Elaine: “You always had something to add in geometry.”I can’t even begin to comment on this one. See above remark - I was an idiot in high school.

From Janet:  “You better come over this weekend.” Now there’s a girl whose mind is in the here and now.

I seriously wonder if they just made some of that stuff up. In my sophomore yearbook, three people mentioned the time I went toilet papering houses with them and I never, ever in my life toilet papered a house. Try telling that to my mom, who read my yearbook and didn’t seem to think that three people could be wrong about such a thing.

The best part of the yearbook signings are the pieces of advice they dole out.  Here are a couple sage declarations from 15- 18-year-olds:  

“You have everything going for you, so don’t mess it up.”

“Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do anything.”

And the best piece of advice of all: “Stay sweet and you’ll go far in life.” If they only knew me better . . .