I went to one of those large urban high schools fear of which drives many parents to transplant themselves to farflung locations where the myth of everpresent safety dwells. Extreme poverty gave my mom no such choice, so I went to the local LAUSD high school.
That place—the one with the 52% drop out rate, a year-round schedule, sparse advanced-level coursework, and a student body of over 3,500—taught me some great life lessons (like do not light a match when teenage girls are spraying extra hold Aqua Net in a crowded hallway). I’d say it also did a pretty good job of opening up some exciting educational paths that allowed me to provide for my family in ways I never imagined.
I bring this up because the Class of 1988 celebrated its 20th Reunion this weekend. While the crowd of 300 alums was hardly everyone who graduated with me, it was fun to hear two decades’ worth of stories and wonder how different we’d have been if only we’d known then what we know now. But I’ll save those stories for a time when I can put them into some grander context. For today, I’ll just hand out awards to those providing amusement value in the “Reunion Book” (that handout where people try to capture 20 years in four sentences) and thank those who made the reunion a great event to attend.
Most In Need of Some Southeast L.A. Vibes—“I got married in 1989. I lived and worked in California until 2000 and then moved to Hailey, Idaho. I still don’t know what I’m doing here as I hate the weather, we have 3 months or spring and summer and the rest of the year is either freezing or snowing. I lived in the middle of nowhere as the mall is 75 miles from where I live. I have a son in California attending Culinary School. My daughter is a stay at home mom, as I also now have a grandson and a grandaughter. My youngest is getting ready to attend high school. And for the last 19 years I have been married to the same man? I don’t know if that is good or bad.”
Most Entitled To Judge You As Harshly As You Judged Her When She Got Pregnant—“I . . . became a Christian in 1991 and my life has never been the same. In 1999 my family and I moved to Colorado to plant a Christian church and have been blessed to lead a wonderful group of people (2000 or so) into a deeper relationship with God. Being a pastor’s wife is not at all what I thought I would be when I grew up.”
Least Likely to Outgrow Her Issues By The 25th Reunion—“My height still remains at 4’11” but hey, they say great things comes in small packages.”
Least Likely To Figure Out The Meaning of the Word “Literally”—“In 2002 I won the Lotto! Literally, when I married my Hot Fireman Husband . . . .”
Best Unintended Amusement Value—to the woman who claims that life hasn’t changed much and chose an email adress of “Piojosa” followed by a number. I must have been feeling silly because I spent most of the night wondering who the other three dozen piojosas are.
Most In Need Of A Change–“I am sure many of you have started a family and by now some of you are grandparents. Me, still single with no kids and loving every minute of it. I get to hang out with the same ol’ guys every weekend. My buddy . . . bought a house one block from Bell high. It’s directly behind the football field. We get to hear the band Friday night’s during football season.” (Find better Friday night amusement, the band wasn’t even that good way back when we were there!!)