You Wanna What???

by JT

Brett and Louise have both done posts about going home recently. You can’t every really go home… maybe you actually can. All hail the conquering hero, right? The prodigal son. The prodigal daughter.

The prodigal… writer??? Who could have ever imagined that?

Recapturing our youth is an impossibility; finding a path back through the jumble of memories, to the sweet, steady heartbeat of love and friendship we received, the good times, the bad times, all get tempered with age. We forget the details and the edges blur. Five years go by and your core group of friends fall off, ten years and you’re only talking to a few, fifteen, twenty…

Thank God for Facebook, right? The opportunity to reconnect with all your old friends (and enemies, and exes, and teachers) and dredge up all those old horrid memories and resurrect the sweet ones, both of which get amplified into nearly mythical proportions.

I’ve taken care this tour to match up with old friends. I had lunch with a friend from elementary school who’s now a major voiceover actor in Los Angeles. In Denver, I had dinner with one of my best friends from high school and my best friend from elementary school, and my first boyfriend (yes, we were in kindergarten. What about it?) In D.C., I’m staying with the other best friend from high school. The memories are flowing fast and furious, and I’m opening myself up to a whole world I’d put out out of my mind.

Moving away from home changes a woman. My parents moved me around just a bit. We had several homes in Colorado, but the Great Schism happened when they moved me from Colorado to D.C. when I was fourteen. I moved from the land of forests and 4H clubs to the denizens of society, began rubbing shoulders with the sons and daughters of the elite class in D.C., the politicians kids. It wasn’t an easy transition (and probably why you can drop me into most any cocktail party across the board and I’ll happily makes friends with the closest smile.)

I went to high school in D.C. After a disastrous first year in a small Florida college, I transferred to Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia. I wanted to go on in the political arena, and decided against Harvard so I could live at home for free and attend GW. Met the hubby that first night of classes, and he turned my world upside down when we eventually moved to Nashville.

I haven’t been back to D.C. for twelve years. And here I am, doing signings, riding around in cars with boys, signing stock in bookstores, drinking in pool halls, allowing the memories to creep back in. I’d forgotten how much I love this place. When we moved to Tennessee, I wasn’t happy, but I tried to hide that because I knew my husband was. And then I fell for it: the beauty, the dichotomies, the very differentness of it. Eventually, I was totally in love with Nashville, and I began to view D.C. with the same sort of horrified reverence as I do most things in my past – a world that happened to another person.

Kind of hard to separate past from present when you’re looking through your yearbook and laughing yourself into tears at the pictures, the memories, the genuine happiness. You know?

As you can imagine, I am much relieved.

My senior year annual was called YOU WANNA WHAT? I helped design the cover, a compilation of question marks and exclamation points. (This is not a surprise to those who know me, I am a fool for a well-placed exclamation point…) This is what the title means:


You can do ANYTHING you set your mind to. If it means going to the moon or getting an A on your English exam. The choice is yours; your interests and dreams grow during your time here and you leave with an idea of where you are going. Look around you and enjoy yourself. Do it all; varsity letter, straight A’s, anything you want. Now is the time, before you grow up. Don’t let anyone discourage you, if when you tell them your goals, they ask in an astonished and impressed tone; YOU WANNA WHAT?

I wonder, if that hadn’t been the theme of my life during those formative years, if I would have done some of the things I have? No one ever said no, you can’t. They only said yes, you can. Yes, you will. Yes, I believe.

Full circle. It’s a strange, strange feeling.

Okay, Murderati – what were you in high school? Happy? Sad? Most likely to succeed? Most likely to think cheerleaders were brainless twits and dye your hair, or date and marry them? Insider? Outsider? Sidewinder? Druggie, freak, band geek, theater geek, radio club, debate, athlete, Honor Society??? Share. (I wasn’t anything. I was a track geek, I guess, an athlete first and foremost, but I floated like a firefly between all the groups, with a friend or two in each clique.)

Because apparently, you can go home again.

Wine of the Week: Lemon Drops and Red Headed Sluts. Don’t ask….

33 thoughts on “You Wanna What???

  1. Alexandra Sokoloff

    What an awesome post and question, honey, I can’t WAIT to read people’s responses today. Firefly is a perfect word for you, I love it! And YOU WANNA WHAT?! is a motto that probably inspired a whole lot more people around you than you know.

    I was a lot of things, too. Straight As, most likely to succeed, taking college classes starting as a sophomore, the total overachiever, like Hermione in Harry Potter manipulating time to do way too many things at once. I was a drama kid, and that was my soul identity always, way more than any of the others: always had a leading role in our very good school productions, and directed and produced the senior class play. Started dancing then too, one of the constant joys of my life, maybe even more today. I was an outspoken feminist; the whole concept of cheerleading outraged me and I mocked my football friends for their casual sexism. I also had a group of friends with whom I broke into cemeteries and did seances on various graves – which led to some mindbending events I wrote about in THE HARROWING.

    I can pretty safely say I had a better time in high school than a lot of people I know. I felt loved and respected. But there was a dark current running through those years – several good friends were raped, one serially molested as well. I went to Turkey as an exchange student and was so severely sexually harassed myself that I didn’t let anyone – and I mean anyone – touch me for the next two years. (Happily got over THAT at Berkeley and for all time, though…) And the guy I would have been dating had a similarly traumatic experience of his own (people still don’t talk so much about the abuse of boys, which makes their experience a double violation). So… no innocent, happy proms for me.

    My rage about sexual abuse started in those years, with those experiences, and has never let up – but it did form me as a writer. I’ve explored this in THE PRICE, and I directly wrote about my high school in "The Edge of Seventeen", the story that won the Thriller award, so I guess you could say I did go home… and captured the experience in a way that resonated.

    But as much as I’ve examined them, those things still haunt me, not just in my writing, but in my personal life as well. High school casts a long shadow.

  2. Chris Hamilton

    High school. Hell, work is like high school.

    That person doesn’t exist any more. He was so over-the-top clueless about so many things that I’ve cheerfully celebrated his death and burial. On to better things.

    Alexandra, that’s a great point about guys. We have such weird double standards about that. If an older man sexually abuses a girl, she’s a total victim. If an older woman sexually abuses a boy, he hit the lottery. Except how do you feel if you don’t think you hit the lottery.

    Finally, when I went back to Northern Virginia last year, a lot had changed. We moved from there in 1995. But there’s still Hard Times Cafe, the best chili parlor ever. That’s the best part of going home. Hard Times in DC. Hard rolls in upstate NY. Gino’s East in Chicago. Rock Creek Cafe’s pies in Phoenix.

  3. PK the Bookeemonster

    I was in honors English and math classes and a first soprano in the top choir. I was also the fat girl but I had a circle of smart friends. This was the mid-80s, but I was sooooo in love with the Beatles that I knew everything about them and wanted to be a flower child. Strangely enough, my husband and I graduated from the same high school the same year (class of 352 students) but didn’t meet until 10 years later (NOT at the 10 year reunion which I didn’t attend but at a software store where I was assistant manager). In high school, he was playing AD&D and the first computer games.

  4. Alafair Burke

    PK, I think we would have like each other. Did well in school, choir geek, but dying to get out of Kansas and starving for something that felt more normal to me than my Wichita surroundings (I say that not to diss Kansas, but simply to say, at that place and that time, I was a fish out of water). I experimented with hair, music, and clothes, nearly getting myself kicked out of school until my father threatened to call the ACLU, but I look back on it now and realize I was doing exactly what the mid-80s fashion scene called for. Most of my friends were the gay kids trying to make it through the day without getting bashed, or people who had already graduated and probably shouldn’t have been hanging around a high school girl. It was all very odd and I’m probably lucky to have made it through all right. Facebook has put me back in touch with a some people I would never have expected to befriend 25 years later, but generally I’m fine with leaving those days in the past. (I do miss the clothes and music, though!)

  5. JD Rhoades

    I went to a very small private high school (yes, I’m a preppie) that was really just getting off the ground (my freshman year was the year they graduated their first high school class). We only had 22 people in our graduating class, so there really wasn’t much room for rigidly enforced cliques. The straight-arrow church organist and the sensitive poetry writing girl came to the same parties as the jocks, the boozers and the stoners (and there was considerable overlap between those three groups). And we partied, a LOT. There wasn’t much for young people to do in my town, and it’s a resort area, so bars and beer were plentiful.

    In addition, I was the class clown, and a lot more people accept the guy who makes them laugh, especially if he’s known for tweaking the noses of the faculty. So I didn’t experience the same kinds of snubs, humiliations and casual cruelty that I hear a lot about. The core group of guys I hung out with are still good friends who I see and talk to often, despite the fact we live in different towns now.

    On the downside, my always tense relationship with my father was really coming to a boil, and we had some nasty confrontations that still make me involuntarily clench my fists and bring the throbbing vein out on my forehead when I think too much about them.

    And I didn’t have a girlfriend till senior year. That really sucked.

  6. Eika

    Band geek and ‘tweener. Choir geek too, but mainly band. Book nut.

    I’m in college now, so the memories are still close enough that I really, really miss some of those people. *sigh*

  7. Dana King

    Band geek, hard core. If it involved a trumpet part, I was in. No kind of jock (bad depth perception), but as sports editor of the school paper I got along well with the jock population; as a band member I got along with the majorette population, though I had not one date in high school. (Always doing some band thing.) Looking back, I’m good with it.

    I’m lucky in that I can go home again, and do so several times a year. My parents still live in the house I grew up in. It amuses my wife when I speak of a trip to Pennsylvania as "going home" and returning to where we live now as "going back to Maryland." That’s just how I think of it.

    JT, I live in Laurel MD and commute into Washington every day. You’re not missing a thing.

    (PS, I’m the guy, if dropped into a cocktail party and left to my own devices, will talk to the bartender and waitresses most of the night. I relate better to them than most DC cocktail party types.)

  8. James Scott Bell

    I was a jock, starting guard on a basketball team that almost made it to the L.A. city championship. But I had the good fortune to land in the creative writing class of one Mrs. Marjorie Bruce, and she apparently saw something in me that she wanted to see nurtured. She got me interested in great literature and pushing the boundaries of my own writing. She inspired me, and we kept in touch until her death a couple of years ago at the age of 90.

  9. Susan Cushman

    I was into art, theater (acting and painting scenery), writing (newspaper staff) and boys. Would have given up all that to be a cheerleader. Well maybe not boys. Also into Jesus. 40 years later (40th reunion was last summer) I’m still into art (I paint Byzantine style icons), theater (well, I GO to the theater), writing (eight published essays and a book in progress), and I married that boy I dated my senior year. We’ll celebrate our 40th anniversary in June. The reunion was so therapeutic, and I’ve continued to be in touch with folks I saw there for the first time in years. We’ve shared stories about how WE remembered things, and it’s been very healing. Also very informative as I’m writing memoir, to see the filters through which we view the past.

  10. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    What an awesomely cool background you’ve got, JT. A great place to write from.
    I didn’t really learn anything in high school, except to "work the system." I guess I was getting my chops together for writing crime novels. I did flit around between all the groups. I played saxophone in the jazz band, which was better than being a jock for meeting girls. And meeting girls was pretty much the point of it all, from what I recall.

  11. Laura Benedict

    Oh, I cringe just thinking about high school. There go decades of therapy.

    After years of straight A’s and being mummy and daddy’s sweet, smart angel, I fell apart all at once. Went looking for love in all the wrong places with all the wrong people. Discovered that drugs and alcohol made me feel a LOT better. Yearned and yearned for something more, something better, something different, something more exciting. Visualized my soul as a chunk of lava rock that lived somewhere near my liver. Now I know much of what I went through had to do with undiagnosed ADHD (didn’t exist back then–I was just "lazy and scattered"). Much to the relief of my puzzled and mortified Catholic high school-sweetheart parents, I moved out just after my 18th birthday to get married because they told me not to.

    The good news is that I never have to look back at those days being the best ones of my life. The other good news is that I wouldn’t have the amazing life I have now if I hadn’t lived through them (which, at times, was no small feat).

  12. Neil Nyren

    Like Alex, I was in the brain group, but my social life revolved heavily around two, sometimes overlapping, sets: the theater crowd and the folk music group. This was the mid-60s, so folk music was just starting to explode, and we spent a good deal of time over at each others’ houses, playing, and it led to a stretch at a Cambridge magazine, writing about music and attending folk festivals with press credentials. Sweet! The theater interest became much heavier when I went to college, and I spent so much time there, on and off the stage, that I seriously considered giving it a go after graduation. The main thing that deterred me was that I noticed that some of my friends who had graduated before me — and were more talented — weren’t eating very regularly, and I kinda liked eating. So I opted for Door #2: Publishing.

    I’ve got to say, i had a pretty good time in high school (except for the months during senior year I was in the hospital….but that’s another story)>

  13. Chuck

    I was a bit of an outsider, because I lived on the wrong side of a road. All of my friends from elementary and middle school went to one school, I was shipped across town to another. Because we were poor, and I went to a rich school, I was ostracized. My father passed away when I was in tenth grade, sending me on a spiral downward. By my senior year I was drinking heavily and smoking weed. Fortunately, I had enough sense to join the Army after a failed year at a tech school, and that’s when things finally came together.

    Funny, now I look back on those years warmly. Many of the bricks in my current foundation were laid then, although I certainly didn’t realize it.

  14. Christine McCann

    I grew up primarily on Air Force bases. So it’s only on the rare occasions that I get to go "home". But get me on a base with the plain houses/buildings, a BX/Commissary and see people in their uniforms, fatigues, and flight suits in particular as Dad was a test pilot, that’s when I get that hometown feeling. There was one time my husband saw his 3rd grade teacher in the grocery store in his hometown of Dayton. When he mentioned this, it took me a bit to even remember which state I was in for 3rd grade, let alone the name of the school or my teacher’s name. HA!

    I was very lucky and got to spend all four years of high school at the same school. JD’s high school experience sounds similar to mine in that it was a small class (78) so we all saw and knew each other at the parties which were frequent because there wasn’t much to do on base in the CA high desert in the early 80’s. With the Jr and Sr high combined, we had less than 500 students. With such a small talent pool, that was terribly beneficial to someone like me, who is NOT athletically gifted, a chance to be on the tennis and softball teams. 😉 We moved the day after graduation. Over the last year, Facebook’s been a great tool to reconnect with many of my classmates. I love reminiscing with them with stories and photos, but it’s great to see where they’ve been since then and see pictures of their lives now.

  15. Jude Hardin

    I played in the school band, and I also played in a hard-rock garage band that played dances etc. I hung with the smart crowd (my gf was #1 in the class), but I also had a subset of friends whose brain cells were constantly under barrage from a variety of substances. Facebook has been great for reconnecting. This summer a bunch of my friends from Jr. High are getting together to celebrate most of us turning fifty this year. And I’m putting together a little rock group for the occasion!

  16. Rae

    Oooh, fun question…

    I was one of those Incredibly Annoying Overachievers. In every club, theater, drill team, got the grades (not hard at my H.S 😉 Busy, busy.

    Interestingly, I now have a house in my old home town. Ten years ago, if you’d told me I’d go home again, I’d have laughed myself silly. Today, across the street from me in that little town lives a guy from my old junior high. And it makes me very happy.

  17. Kathryn Lilley

    When I went to high school in South Carolina, I was beyond uncool, a cross between Carrie and nerd (sans psychic powers). Thank God for books–they were my best friends. Mid-way through junior year I transferred to a high school in Cambridge, Mass., and suddenly school became a wonderful, positive experience, with lots of friends. But I still feel shivers of horror when I recall my South Carolina school–I had a teacher that used to call each of his students by pet names–Gordo, Estupido, Mosquito Muerte, these were a few of ’em. Ah, the good old days.

  18. Allison Brennan

    Wow, I haven’t really thought about high school much. It just . . . was. I had friends across all "groups" from druggies to athletes to rockers to geeks. I got along with pretty much everyone, had one good friend, and just hung out.

    I went from being a straight-A student to getting my first C. I went from public school in 8th grade to a small (400 student) private college prep school where I was on scholarship and most everyone else was from very old money. 17 people in my 97 member graduating class went to Stanford, Yale or Harvard. 96 went to a four-year college and 1 enlisted in the military (if I remember correctly!) I may be the only college drop-out of my class :/

    I never had to study to get my As; now I how to learn how to study because I couldn’t just do my work in class while the teacher talked 🙂 . . . I had a 2.2 GPA as a sophomore, but ended up graduating with a 4 year GPA of 3.6, so I did get my act together! I was a good kid . . . until I turned 15. Then I was very, very naughty 🙂 My first concert was YES, followed by about 17 Grateful Dead concerts. (I know, people who know me are always stunned to hear that little tidbit . . . )

    My first serious boyfriend was in a hard rock band. I played the piano in some of the school plays (not the high-end piano, more just the backdrop–I’m not a musician, I can just read music and am technically ok.) Never got a part in any of the plays and I think the drama teacher just felt sorry for me so gave me something to do 🙂

    My senior prediction: "Allison Turner will be silent for 10 consecutive minutes."

  19. Berenmind

    It’s been fun reading all of the writer’s and publisher’s comments on their high school years. I was trying to find a common thread; something in their histories that would point to a future of books. Haven’t come up with one. All the pasts and profiles seem pretty diverse. Fun knowing the backgrounds, however.

  20. Judy Wirzberger

    High school YEARS were fantastic – twas the fifties – innocence and fun in the midwest. An older brother and his friends around all the time, drive in movies, sneaking friends in in the trunk, no drugs or pot in my group, dance-a-thons, parties in basements after football games, summers working on a tourist boat on the Mississippi, boys like ripe plums.
    School – catholic – all girls – uniforms with white collars and cuffs, gym clothes with skirts to the knees, proms where we took vows of virginity to the Blessed Mother (our dates loved that). Scholastically I breezed through, elected Student Council President senior year (to my surprise because I didn’t really have that many female friends). Suffered through friends’ heart aches when they broke up with boyfriends, Saw Elvis on Ed Sullivan for the First Time, panted over the Beatles, passed around copies of Payton Place with pages marked, went to a youth convention in Philly and danced on American Bandstand, thought babies came out your belly button until last half of my junior year, laughed with the doctor’s daughter at another girl at Lab table because she didn’t know what a "rise" was (had to go home and ask my mother). And, yes, kept my virginity – the Blessed Mother was very happy…so was my over-protective brother.
    Hey JT how was the book tour?

  21. toni mcgee causey

    My parents read this blog, so I’ll just say right here, completely honestly, no holds-barred, that I was an angel. I did absolutely everything I was supposed to do and I never, ever, ever was the girl who knew how to forge all of the teachers’ signatures by the time she was in ninth grade. Nor did I ever take a single solitary drink of alcohol or had anything stronger passed my virgin (totally) lips before I was seventeen. And just because I was the valedictorian (and knew I was going to be from 10th grade on, because I’d aced honors classes they no longer offered), I was never once ever tempted to do anything like cut class and go hang out with friends at a local pool hall, where I, er, some people hustled people for money.

    Instead, I was a delightful, completely upbeat child, prone to smiling all the time with sunshine and rainbows hovering at my fingertips. I’m sure you can imagine what an utter joy I was to raise.

  22. Pete

    High School? At the time I couldn’t see my life beyond it. I wanted to leave and yet didn’t at the same time. I was in Honours English, excelled in History and Biology, but the rest of my grades were average. Art was my escape and I fondly remember those hours creating and having others asking" how did you do that?" My drawings and paintings got me through those years and some of my work still resides in a box buried under other stuff in my basement. It wasn’t until college that I began to excel both socially and academically. I thought my high school experiences would define my life, but they haven’t. Those experiences belong to a person who no longer exists, who grew and changed and whose life has turned out pretty good. I’m now glad that my life peaked as an adult rather than the teenager who might as well have been invisible and who often wished he was.

  23. JT Ellison

    I can’t thank y’all enough for sharing these experiences. What a blessing! I just arrived in Charlottesville, a trip that took nearly 3 times longer than it should have because of crazy DC traffic (and Obama’s motorcade… really, what would DC be without a motorcade? Things shut down a bit more than I remember growing up, I’ve never seen such a crazy traffic snarl.)

    So I have to go primp and polish for this evening’s event, but I wanted to say thank you. I’ve read all of these, and I think you all are fantastic. Amazing how we are shaped by these experiences, and manage to make it out the other side intact. Thanks for baring your souls with me.


  24. Robert Gregory Browne

    I loved high school. Okay, not the school part. But hanging with my friends. And by the time I was a senior, I not only had just a half day of school every day, I was also living on my own. My parents had left Hawaii and I was living in an apartment in Waikiki.

    Loved it.

    I was basically an outsider. A bit of a nerd. Not one of the cool kids, for sure. But then we didn’t think much of the cool kids. Barely paid any attention to them. We just lived in our own part of the world and enjoyed every minute of it.

    Oh, and most of my friends were female. So that didn’t hurt. 🙂

  25. Cornelia Read

    I was a complete social reject through freshman year of high school in California, then escaped to NY and had a great time for sophomore-senior years in boarding school. The kids there were way nicer, way more forgiving, and not nearly as asshole-ish about my general poverty. Not sure I would’ve survived if I hadn’t gone there instead of finishing at Carmel High. I’m very grateful for that opportunity, still.

    And I adore finding people through Facebook, these days.

    Great post, JT!

  26. Tom

    Newspaper, theatre, music, English, German, more writing, more theatre, much more music, outsider among the outsiders, graphic design and printing, the heartbreak of psoriasis . . . oops, no, scratch that last one . . .

  27. BCB

    I was a straight-A student (except for gym, which I hated). But I never had to study and, except for English papers, did all my homework in class or sitting on the floor in front of my locker. The academic part of HS (and MS and ES) was mostly boring. By the time I got to college I had NO IDEA how to study. I was on the danceline (think Rockettes, high kicks and splits) because it was sort of what passed for sports for girls back then. Well, there was a girls track team, but I hate to run even more than I hated gym class. My school also had cheerleaders (who were popular) and pom-pom girls (who were slutty).

    My dad was a teacher in my HS and, unfortunately, everyone loved him. While all my friends complained how awful their parents were, I couldn’t say one word without everyone telling me how cool and awesome my dad was (and he really was) (unless, you know, he was your dad and wouldn’t let you use the car). I also broke every single "rule" that existed. We had something called "modular scheduling" which meant that we had a free period somewhere in the day. And since everyone had a different free period, no one ever knew when you were supposed to be in class. Back then the drinking age was 18 and no one blinked an eye or tried to card me when I was 16. I spent my kids’ HS years rather desperately hoping they wouldn’t be as bad as I was at that age. Even so, I was shy and quiet. Was fine with my friends, but meeting new people or talking to a guy I liked but didn’t know… just didn’t happen.

    We had an art teacher who was a master potter (he studied extensively in Japan) and I learned how to throw pots (electric wheel) and loved it. I was pretty good and still have several of the pots I made sitting around the house. I kind of assumed my kids knew I’d made them, until this past fall when my DD asked where I’d gotten one of them. Had to show her my initials on the bottom before she believed me.

    I don’t have any desire to reconnect with people from back then. Have never been to a reunion and have no plans to set up a Facebook page. I guess I’m not one to look back once I’ve moved on. But my mom still lives in the house we moved to when I was five years old. I go home all the time.

    Geez, I haven’t thought about some of this stuff for years. Thank god my mom thinks reading blogs (including mine) is a waste of time.

  28. Pari Noskin Taichert

    High School graduating class: 13 — 10 girls/3 boys
    Pari: Straight As, outsider, "intellectual" aiming to be an international lawyer at the time.

    Senior year, I’d just returned from a year as a foreign exchange student to France and my closest friend had been in Spain for the same time. We felt as if no one at all could possibly understand what we’d been through.

    We were right vis a vis our class. And I remain friends with that girl to this day.

  29. Melanie Avila

    This is crazy! I moved around a bit as a kid, but always within western Michigan, until my BIG MOVE at age 15 to DC. I totally get what you say about going from trees and nature and a relatively calm way of living to big city and politics and diplomat kids. It really changed me and I’ve been told that I can be dropped into any social setting and get along well.

    I was voted Most Studious in high school which still seems so wrong. Yes, I was valedictorian, but I’m social too!

  30. Lea Wait

    What fun to read others’ posts! I was a scholarly nerd who wished she were popular, living in an unforgivingly football-fettish NJ suburb. I actually tried flunking a course once, just to see if other kids (boys, especially) would like me then. (Luckily, the ploy didn’t work.) Other than that glitch, I took advanced courses, worked as a "page" at the local library after school, and, finally, my Jr-Sr years, became part of a crowd of other misfits — all guys, most of whom wrote, some of whom were photographers or artists. We took over a sadly-neglected school newspaper. My senior year I was editor. That spring the Board of Education voted to close the paper down for printing "inappropriate materials," like reviews of McCarthy’s The Group, lists of oportunities for volunteer activites to support civil rights, and reviews of the high school musicale that were not glowing. The day after that Board meeting, our newspaper won the New Jersey Press Association’s Award for "best high school newspaper in the state." That day is still a high point of my life. Someone threw a rock through our Victorian living room’s window, and my mother was thrown out of the Women’s Club. The newspaper survived. I went on to college and didn’t look back. Wonderful memories.


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