The Things We Never Forget

lynellmorganwalletIt was alumni weekend in Elgin with graduates from Elgin High School and St. Boniface High School coming home to renew old friendships and relive the memories.
There is nothing that can compare to one’s school years.  There are always good memories of the triumphs and fun times and probably a few bad memories of the growing pains that come with life and being a kid.
Choir classes were held on the old gym stage. Bats liked to occasionally buzz the stage which startled both the girls and boys. Our English/Spanish teacher’s VW Beetle would routinely get moved by the boys from its official parking spot to a nice VIP one right up against the south entrance doors. Mr. Bradley probably saw some humor in it but they would get his “I’m not amused” face as he ordered them to pick it up and put it back.
This summer was my – insert gasp here – 35th class reunion.  While only an hour away, I didn’t make it as the gathering fell on a weekend when we had a must-do meeting out of town that Friday afternoon and then Vetch Days activities on Saturday and Sunday. Out of a class of 55 kids, we’ve usually had a decent number of alumni show up.  I haven’t heard yet but I hope a good number returned to Randolph. We’ve lost a few, one to suicide and the others to cancer, and a number of us live far away.
Looking back, our class got along fairly well. The class ahead of us had more than its share of idiots so I think we tended to band together to survive.  I’m not saying we were all the best of friends but I don’t recall too many blowups with our class. Having said that, there was a little drama here and there.
As expected, the drama always came from the girls. It would be easy to say it was the hormones but that wouldn’t explain the “witchiness” that started in kindergarten. Funny, the “witchiness” changed to a another word as they got older.  Hint: it rhymes with witchy. From what I observed at the last gathering I was able to attend, a few girls were still a bit “-itchy”. They can keep the drama. Its way too exhausting for me. Many potential friendships have ended quickly when I realized someone had drama queen tendencies. My good friends have always been pretty level-headed.  As for the others, I wish them well in life and hope they find someone who can handle their drama.
When guys get mad, they fight it out and its over. Rarely are grudges held beyond a day or two.
A line from the comedy sitcom “Seinfeld” pretty much hits the nail on the head when it comes to girls and fighting. The character Elaine Benes responds to the question of how girls fight with “we just tease someone until they get an eating disorder”. It would be funnier if it weren’t so true. Girls are like a hungry dog with a bone — they won’t let anything go.
I recall our class, mainly in elementary and junior high school, learning the fine art of writing. Not writing stories as much as writing one hundred times on a sheet of paper something along the lines of “I will not talk out of turn in English class”. I’m sure the teachers hoped that peer pressure from the majority would keep the one or two continually disrupting class time under control. It worked after a bit as we got tired of writing.
We had a substitute teacher handling study hall one day in junior high – Mrs. Buell. I no longer remember what the boys did but it resulted in her leaving the room in tears. The room was quiet for a minute or two before the door flew open. There stood Mr. Lake with a thick yardstick in his hand. He was a coach, an athletic redhead with a quick temper to match. He barked out “everybody, in the hall!” Once there, we girls were ordered to stand on the north side of the hallway while the boys were told to “face the lockers” on the south side. Mr. Lake proceeded to start on one end of the boys and work his way down the line, whacking each one with the yardstick right below their butt cheeks. I can still hear that “snap” sound the yardstick made all these years later. Another high school English teacher, the late Tom Barlow (of Ewing), always reminded us that “cheaters never prosper” and “liars go to Hell”.
Whenever the classroom acted up, we would lose a privilege or two and never got them back. We showed, as a group, that we weren’t worthy of those privileges.
Funny how one or two bad apples can spoil it for everybody.
Things have changed and evolved over the years with how schools can handle punishment. Many of our teachers would be fired on the spot for what was acceptable during our days.
Even businesses have to change when dealing with problems. In newspapers, with the ability of internet users to access, copy and paste stories and photos, news items are being shared across the world. We love that about readers and people honestly interested in Elgin. Readers were free to share our photos, we have had – and still have – no restrictions on sharing. Our photos aren’t for us, they’re for our viewers.
So some may be asking “why the watermarks on your online photos”? It’s not because of readers sharing but because of other commercial websites using our photos on their sites. Its frustrating (okay, it’s really another word but we’ll just keep it at frustrating) to work on something for hours – sometimes longer –  just to have it someone else copy it and claim it as their own. Yes, this has happened to us several times.
Dang it, one or two people are always ruining a good thing for everybody else!