50 years, second decade
by Rachel Creager Ireland
Continuing with a memory for each year.
11. I went to sixth grade in a school made of two buildings on opposite sides of a major street. There was a tunnel that ran under the street, but it had been closed for years. Once my teacher and the teacher from the next classroom over opened the door for me and a friend to look into the tunnel. The doorway was thick with spiderwebs, and half a dozen striped spiders skittered away when we opened it. The teacher said, “Be careful, I don’t know what brown spiders look like.” Now I know that they were wolf spiders, which most arachnologists consider to be harmless to humans. The one in the picture is carrying her babies on her back. They don’t usually look quite like that, but you can see the stripes.
12. I went to seventh grade on the other end of the forbidden tunnel, in some mobile units set up beside the building. I took a test that determined that my interests were most like those of a computer programmer. (They had those, back then? I didn’t know of any.) My second occupational recommendation was bricklayer.
13. My mom made me go to summer orchestra. I had to get up early (!) and walk all the way to the school, carrying my violin. After an hour of playing, it was already hot for the walk home. I secretly kind of liked the playing, even the “4 Finger Club” exercises, but seriously??? Summer orchestra???
14. Oh, what a big year. First real job (Vista Drive-In), first big purchase (a new 10-speed bike, silver), first year of high school, stuff I won’t tell you about . . . In the summer before we went to high school, Michelle Wycoff told me that she didn’t have a group of people to hang out with. I said I didn’t either, so we would be one, and we were.
15. I sat next to Shelli Emery in chorale. One day I could feel the vibration of the sound through the paper sheet music I was holding as we sang. I told Shelli and she thought that was really weird, but not in a mean way.
16. There was a boy in Debate who would put Peppermint Schnapps in a bottle labeled Chloraseptic. It took a lot of spraying to get a buzz.
17. I switched from vocal music back to orchestra. We played in the pit for the musical, which was The Wizard of Oz. The music was really hard, because it was written in a key for singers, with more flats than I could count on one hand. I thought we were cool because we were allowed to perform in sweatpants and eat candy, as long as no one heard the wrappers crinkling.
18. Three weeks after I graduated from high school, I had a dream that I went to school as normal. After I’d been to a few classes, I realized I hadn’t done any school work for three weeks! I’d have to get on the ball, or I might not graduate. Then I realized I had already graduated. I tried to tell my Physics teacher, Mr. Buster, that I didn’t need to be in school, but he didn’t believe me.
19. When I came home from my first year of college, Anne Calvert introduced me to The Full Moon Cafe. We hung out there all summer. They had awesome cheesecake.
20. My sophomore roommate was Cheryl Stone (who is now Cheryl Richardson, but not the motivational speaker). She was a great roommate, and never complained about what a slob I was. Erin Legris (now Erin Beck) was in our suite, and she did complain. In a nice way.