Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Monday, July 2, 2012

High School Gifts

My niece Angelica graduated from middle school this year and will be going onto high school. For her graduation present, my brother and his wife set up a scavenger hunt which ended with her graduation gift, an IPhone. I was excited for Angelica because she worked so hard this year and deserved it.

I thought about the high school graduation gifts that I have received in my life. My high school did not include a middle school and we went straight from 7th grade through 12th. When I graduated 6th grade Wenonah Elementary and went onto Gateway Regional High School, I was given the gift of false expectations. I thought everything would be the same as in 6th grade and it would be easy and fun and wonderful and I would fit it with everyone. Gee, was I wrong. My first day in 7th grade, I was assigned a locker mate. He smelled, was the age of a 10th grader, and had week long crust formed in his eyes. Don't ask me why, I never asked him. I promptly marched down to the front office and got my own locker after he told me we would not be putting a lock on the locker as it took too much time to get his "smokes" out.

Subsequent locker mates were not any better. My locker mate in 9th grade vomited one morning into our locker. Lucky for him, he only vomited on my side of the locker.

When I completed 8th grade and moved onto 9th grade, my "graduation" gift was getting tripped by a senior the first week in school. All of his friends laughed at me while "high-fiving" each other. "Good one!!!!" they exclaimed. Actually I said that to them like the geek in the movie 16 Candles.

I also was given the gift of horrible acne and greasy skin for my entrance to high school. The acne medicine back then was tinted one color, medium beige. So if I used it sparingly, I ended up looking like my face had been splattered with clay from art class. If I used it all over, my ancestry would dramatically change from white Caucasian to Hispanic within 15 minutes each morning.

My 9th grade class picture showed the pure humiliation I came to know those first couple years. The photographer said something to me while I was posing and I leaned forward asking "What did you (FLASH!) say?" So I was in mid sentence with my mouth hanging open drooling when the picture was taken. You can guess how bad it looked. I had a do-over done later that year but the damage was done with the photo now permanently in that year's school yearbook.

The last three grades in high school went much better than the first three. I actually began to enjoy it looking forward to graduation and my life beyond at Rutgers University. I was also so excited to get that all important graduation gift from my parents. Would it be a car? A trip out to see family in Colorado? Several hundred dollars in one of those narrow greeting cards that you know hold money before you open then up?

I received luggage. This was the gift that my brother before me received for his graduation. This was also the gift that my sister before him received for her graduation. My parents, LOVE THEM, justified that you will always need a good set of luggage for your "journey into adulthood." I see their metaphorical point, but … luggage.

For the record, my sister and I were cracking up about this on the phone the other day, and 30 years later, she still has one of the pieces of her set. That is entirely another blog … that's all I'm sayin'.

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