Glory days

I have two Facebook accounts. The one associated with this blog and the other one. While there is some crossover, the account not associated with this blog is primarily for family and friends I actually know in the non-virtual world. Right or wrong, I like to keep these two world separate to a certain degree.

When I first signed up for Facebook (the friends and family account), apparently I did it wrong. I didn’t think to hyphenate my name. I am simply Kathy Richards, not Kathy Dishman-Richards, which (in theory) has prevented old friends and acquaintances who knew me before I was married from finding me. Not necessarily a bad thing. But despite my Facebook faux pas, several people from “back in the day” have been able to track me down and “friend” me, and it’s been interesting to see what became of some of the people I haven’t talked to in so many years.

I don’t spend much time on Facebook, but recently someone tagged me in the following photo:

Can you find me?

How about in this one?:

Hint: I'm one of the few girls in the picture who didn't get the Charlie's Angels hair memo.

And yes, I did make the same Charlie’s Angels hair comment on the Facebook post. As other people began to comment on the picture, someone said something that struck me:

“The fact I don’t even remember that day frightens me. I remember the 8th grade group photo not this one.”

to which I replied:

“That’s funny you should say that. I remember the 8th grade pic as well, but don’t remember this one at all.”

Then someone else chimed in:

“I hear ya Kathy-I don’t remember this pic. either. I thought it was our 8th grade pic.until I saw northbrook class of 83! damn we’re all getting old!!!”

Why would we all remember our 8th grade class picture and not a much larger picture four years later? I have a theory based upon my memory, but keep in mind that picture was taken 28 years ago and memories are tricky things, aren’t they?

Before we entered high school, we were still the neighborhood kids. We may have begun to splinter off into our little cliches, but we all still remembered the days when we played together because our houses were within walking or biking distance. Rather than choosing community, community chose us. I have to think those circumstances helped us accept our differences if not embrace them.

I remember wondering why my friend’s family three streets over rode bicycles wearing slacks and ties and carrying books, but he didn’t seem to want to talk about it, so we never asked. I remember one friend who spent her evenings sitting at the end of her driveway to get away from her parents’ constant fighting, so we sat there with her. Or we made up some stupid game to pass the time. I remember after my dad left. My mom was working nights and I remember friends’ moms and dads taking time out to talk to me. Not about the divorce, but just enough small talk to let know someone cared about me.

Funny how those differences that didn’t seem to matter when we were kids became important when we started our journeys into adulthood.

I don’t have fond memories of high school. By the time I was sixteen years old, I was going to school half days (I was in something called Distributive Education which allowed me to do this) and working full time at a department store. I didn’t have time for pep rallies and football games, and if I’m being honest, I thought I was all grown up way before I really was. I merely tolerated high school rather than embrace it. I missed my senior prom because my 20-something year old boyfriend was out of town. I pretended it didn’t matter, but it did. I think my high school experience could have been so much better if I had allowed myself to be a kid instead of being in such a big hurry to grow up and get away from all these people. People who weren’t so bad after all–just the kids from the neighborhood trying to figure out where they fit in.

How was your high school experience?

If you could go back and do it differently, would you?

(Special thanks to Ted Reade for taking the time to Β post our senior class picture on Facebook and allowing many of us to reconnect after all these years.)

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23 Responses to “Glory days”

  1. Jason August 28, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    My high school experience sucked so bad sometimes I’m amazed I didn’t kill myself. Honestly, most of my junior year what kept me from doing it was the irrational thought it would make people happy if I did it. I refuse to answer your second question because I would never go back. I don’t want to risk that it would be even worse.

    But for the record, you haven’t changed much from that high school pic.

    • katdish August 29, 2011 at 6:58 am #

      Jason – I for one am very grateful you survived your high school years. As for me not changing that much–have I not mentioned that I’m a vampire? Snort!

  2. OpinionsToGo August 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    So pretty…then…and, now!

    My high school experience was a little unique. I went to 4 schools in 4 different states. Would I change anything? No, my
    brother and I had a really great bonding experience, always being
    the new kids in school…no complaints!

  3. jake August 28, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    Kat, posts like this make me respect you more than I already do. It was conversational, just words that you’d speak but you said a lot with it…. I’m still sorry about your father- I don’t know how you did it and I can’t communicate how I feel about the whole thing without some level of fear that I wouldn’t do you or your mother justice, know what I mean?

    I was in a hurry to grow up too. I worked all the way through high school, but only because I was a freaking money-grubber. I did a few fun things and had a horrible attitude. I got away with murder and was drunk or high most of the time. Not bad for a straight-A student, right? Nobody seemed to give a rip about any of my substance issues because of my grades, which completely says something about accomplishment versus healthy living in the scheme of education and all that, but I digress… either way, thanks for sharing.

    I think I’d like to go back as a Jesus-person and see how I acted in school, but I’m alright with my story as it is. I wouldn’t go back and be such an idiot again.

    • katdish August 29, 2011 at 7:00 am #

      Something tells me we’ve had similar high school experiences, Jake. Except maybe for the good grades part. I had a strong C average. And I bet you weren’t as big of a jerk as you remembered.

  4. Rebecca August 29, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    I didn’t have such a good experience in high school to be one of those people who’d love to go back, but it was good enough that I enjoy seeing old friends pop up on Facebook or meeting up at a reunion. There are things I’d love to tell my back-then self, but knowing then what I know now would have changed major life decisions, and I might not be where I am. I suppose I’m happy to leave the past as past.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures, I agree you’re as beautiful now as then. πŸ™‚

  5. katdish August 29, 2011 at 7:01 am #

    And no one has picked me out in the photo yet. Come on, people! Where’s Waldo?

  6. James Williams August 29, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    Sorry, I thought it was pretty obvious. You are near the center, just to the right a bit. Red shirt.

    Great blog post, by the way.

    • katdish August 29, 2011 at 7:48 am #

      Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

  7. Berniece Richards August 29, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    I think you are the first one seated – on the right as we look at the picture. Correct?

    • katdish August 29, 2011 at 7:52 am #

      Nope. Not sure who that is, Berniece.

  8. Helen August 29, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    I wouldn’t go back now for a million dollars! I have honestly forgiven those who hurt me in school, but I would not go back for a second helping for anything.

  9. Simply Darlene August 29, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    winner winner chicken dinner — did you make that up? you got talent.

    it was easy picking you outta the crowd. what’s up with the folks on the left side? did they live a black & white life?

    Would I go back and do it again, but different? It would be something to sit in my own skin again, knowing what I do now, but I would not change what I said or did. I am who I am because of my history. I met my husband in the hallway when my little sister pointed him out as the “boy who keeps picking on me in math class.” What if I hadn’t taken matters into my own hands? πŸ˜‰

    And all those fisticuffs I got into, my wild side, and that horridly painful stuff, well, those were all given to the Lord 7 years ago. Swapped ’em. Old life. New life.


    • katdish August 29, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

      I believe “winner, winner chicken dinner” is a Coffey-ism. I could be wrong about that.

      • Jim H August 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

        I remember it in the movie “Tin Cup” but I’m sure that’s not the origin

  10. Drusilla Mott August 29, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    I loved the learning part of school…the people I could have done without…those self-involved people that thought they were God’s gift to everyone else. Got a basketball deliberately thrown into my face and then watched through tears of pain as they all stood and laughed while I wondered if my nose was broken.

    The only redeeming part of my high school experience was that my son was born during my senior year.

    As far as wanting to go back…not on your life! I went to one reunion and they were all still self-involved twenty years later.

    I think the only thing I wish I could change about myself back then is the way I lived my faith, because I didn’t do a very good job of it. Thankfully God has been patient with me and waited for me to change that.

  11. Diana August 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    My high school days were pretty bad. It was the whole braces and extremely freckly face thing that I was constantly being teased about and bullied for. Of course there were those typical pretty girls in the class who would give me dirty looks as I walked by if I was invading their personal space when I really was three to four feet away from them! But it’s all in the past and somehow I’ve survived it without too much emotional scarring.

  12. floyd August 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    I was a jerk. Big surprise. Although by the time my senior year rolled around, I decided to be a better person, anything would have been an improvement. In trying to be a better person, I just became a different kind of jerk.

    In a class of 289 graduates, I soared all the way up to 283 in scholastic rating. I try not to brag about it too much…

    I probably wouldn’t have the self control to not use my football helmet to spear people with, so… I should probably stay here with my arthritic neck and shoulder and leave well enough alone…

    You actually looked more mature or serious… My guess is that your heart is a bit lighter now than it was then.

  13. Candy August 29, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    I was a strong B student and about a dozen store-bought outfits shy of being in the “in” crowd. I now realize how unimportant that was. I was shy, unassuming, and lots of people were jerks to me. Interestingly enough, they want to be my fb friends now.

    And how could people not pick you out of that photo? I swear, you’re still using your high school photo as an avatar. You haven’t changed a bit. Unless your butt is fatter, which I can’t see. (Mine is, that’s why I mentioned it).

    • katdish August 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

      Oh, my butt is definitely fatter, even though I always thought I was fat in high school. Heck, I WISH I had that butt back!

  14. Louise August 30, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    Great post Kat — and my high school years are a blur of trying to get out of my high school years.

    You stand out in that photo because of your beauty — not the lack of Charlie’s Angels hair.

  15. Berniece Richards August 30, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    Kathy, I was referring to the b/w class photo (first one sitting in the front row, right side as we look at the picture). You were easy to spot in the colored photo! Always our lovely Kathy!

    Although I was from ‘the wrong side of the tracks’, was shunned by the high school ‘in crowd’ and didn’t graduate with my class, (married midterm my junior year and still married to the same guy almost 63 years later) I still attended several of the class reunions. By then I had 4 children, taken the GED, earned my BS and MSE + numerous post graduate hours in a specialized area (educational diagnosis). It was nice to go back and, yes, gloat a little!

  16. Marni September 1, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    I loved high school. I did all the cliche’ activities and clubs. I had awesome 80’s hair and wore a size 5. Life was good.

    But I wouldn’t do it again. I have not made a single reunion. It’s like it was fun while it lasted, but let’s move on people.

    My parents still live in the town I grew up in. When I go visit, here and there I’ll run into old high school running buddies. And many of us have connected on Facebook too. Some of them still act like high school was the highlight of their life and practically still live there. It’s sad.

    PS–you were smokin hot in that class photo. Yowza! πŸ˜‰

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