Sunday, October 7, 2012

School Days: High School

My high school days were a little better if only because the high school's population was over 15,000 students. I found a group of like minded people with whom to hang. A group of ten of us formed a social club. We named it "The Sevants" which means a smart or scholarly person. It is actually spelled "Savant" but we changed it for some reason. If one couldn't be a jock at least being smart was the next best. The club organized a Pizza Party that took place in my basement. Dick Biondi was a D.J. for WLS at the time and he would drop by parties if invited. Sure enough at midnight or so the door bell rang and there he was, in person, Dick Biondi. What an accomplishment.

I made friends with a number of the teachers and administrators. I easily made friends with the women who ran the cafeteria, as usual I was more comfortable with adults then I was with kids my own age.

Miss Erickson was the only teacher I kept in contact with for my entire adult life. She started out as my Spanish teacher and when she became a counselor, I helped out in her office. She used to let me grade papers for the Spanish Class and I only changed my exam answers a few times. 
I fell in love with the art teacher, Miss Ames, and spent as much time in the art room as I could. I would drop by towards the end of the day to to see if she needed any help and when I left shortly after arriving, she would sign a pass for me to fill out on my way to last period study hall. I would check the “early dismissal” box and go home. Next day I would turn the pass in and never once got into trouble. I might mention I never “cut” class until my senior year.
I was part of the after school drama club. Our drama coach usually smelled like alcohol and the club never put on a play in the years I was involved. Mr. Gabriel was our business education teacher (also taught typing) and all the girls were in love with him. I was too. Mr. Tasto was the science teacher who would make a point after each concept he taught by saying, “Do you follow, do you know?” Our Geometry teacher taught us theorems by singing them to popular tunes.

While I was already gay by this time in my life, I didn't understand what that meant or what was going on. I found most athletic, confident boys to be threatening. Bullying continued to be part of what I received during high school. Fag. Queer. Mother Fucker. Although I am not sure what my mother had to do with any of this.

I was pleased to get "C"s and "B"s, enjoyed some classes, hated gym and often my mother sent a forged note excusing me from participating in gym. I dated now and then but never the popular girls. I remember some one called Sharon. She wasn't real pretty but filled the need to have a girl on my arm now and then. There also was Joyce.

I remember that my father was not very generous with loaning me his car. The family only had one car at the time and he would grumble on about what if something happened with the car, how would he get to work and who would support the family. Sometimes I would have a planned date on Saturday night and wouldn't find out until Friday if I could have the car or not. I only had one accident, don't remember to many of the how it happened or what happened afterward details but do know that no one was hurt. I think I skidded and hit a light pole.

I was very pleased when I applied to the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana and received my acceptance. I went down to C/U several times on invitation from various fraternities during "Rush." So far in my life, these visits were the most adventurous things I had ever done. My best friends Ricky and Jeff went on these visits as well. While it was against fraternity rules to offer a space in the fraternity house ahead of Rush Weekend, on one visit, Alpha Epsilon Pi offered all three of us a space and we accepted.  I think that the beginning of my gaining self confidence and respect began with that blue enameled, gold collared, diamond shaped pledge pin. 

1 comment:

  1. As I read this, I remember the impact of being a teacher on the lives of the students in front of me each day. Yikes.


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