Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Long, Long Ago...

Reminisces of youth, and other disjointed crap.

I just turned 68 and of course got a lot of congrats and remarks on my facebook page.
To all those peeps, thanks. I understand. I also got asked why I missed our fiftieth reunion which most celebrated this year.

FIRST, I happened to have been called to Canton in August and September, to assist my youngest on a major renovation on his twenties vintage Sears house. This consisted of lopping off everything above the 2nd story ceiling joists and building all new from there up. The crew consisted of me, him, his two teenage boys and their friends. In other words, he did the work and I helped. And they mostly watched, humped some lumber, and swept up now and then.

- I did make it to Homecoming though. There's that.

SECOND, you all from that era remember me as I was, right? I was tall skinny and somewhat socially retarded. I remember that those 12 (13) years of school seemed to take forever at the time but looking back are telescoped down into a blur of weird and disjointed memories. Funny what we take from those. Anyhow, here are some talking points I would have been prepared for:

K (indergarten)
- I dont remember a thing about it other than I was there. And probably didnt pee my pants. But, it was only a half-day. Miss or Mrs Ryan, right? And I noticed girls evidently came with pigtails.

1st grade
- Mrs Fryant. Traumatic. Not just her general demeanor, she also wouldn't let me go to the restroom to pee when I needed to. Took me YEARS to get over that. Sometime later, in jr high, I learned to deal with things like that and I knew it served her right!
The proper term for the insight is 'Rationalization'

2nd grade
(glorious!)Miss Gloria Able
- Tragic. IIRC her balcony at the Dayton YW collapsed and she was killed.
- Some say male awareness of sexuality begins at 10 or 11. ...WRONG! She is the ONLY thing I remember about 2nd grade. Anything I actually learned was by osmosis; in essence, subliminally.
- Didnt pee pants, for sure. Dont recall any other embarrassing effects, and wouldnt say if I did.

3rd grade
Gladys Denlinger
- noticed those UV lights for killing germs
- began to notice it wasnt the ideas and concepts I had trouble with, it was the RULES. To this day I cant do long division without thinking and visualizing shifting the numbers. Helluva start for an engineering career.
- "Why can't you be more like your cousin, Richard?" blecchh... IOW, I couldnt do anything right. Just like 1st all over again.
Upside: Didnt pee my pants. Did have a bout or two of gas passing as I recall, but not quite the same thing.

** somewhere between 1st and 3rd I remember running in the door and telling Mom "I can read, I can read!" Years later she laughed about that. I guess it DIDNT just happen in a flash, I always could. What I do remember right after that, I started reading the paper and Time magazine. And most everything else I could get my hands on. Dunno why it happened that way... except maybe I was told I wasnt following the reading 'rules'.

Lillian Beam
- The beginning of a middle grades respite for me. Mixed results. Continued to underachieve, but she gently told me it wasnt cause I was stupid. Just lazy. Like I say, a breath of fresh air. But I was mortified to learn she had also taught my dad.
- Mary Ann Teague. My first crush. I KNEW she knew I was alive. Cute. Blonde. Flouncy dresses. Of course immediately taken away to Rome AFB by cruel fate and AF logistics reorg.
All through HS I was STILL looking for her to come back. Sorry girls, if you had some thoughts about me, you should'a said something! { Many years later I sorta found her, or her spiritual sister. At the 'Frog. She was six years behind and four beers ahead of me when we were introduced. }
- First recall of recess sports: mainly football {Tackle!} and baseball.
- Pants peeing now DEFINITELY a thing of the past. We're in the same building as the BIG KIDS now. Some however graduated to upchucking. Which somehow, according to my olfactory memories, became a regular event in the south wing lower floors.
But NOT EVER from me.

Linnie Hagen
- Also knew my dad. CERTAINLY well enough to tell him I was an underachiever. But she was nice to me. And I probably learned me some stuff.
- more playground game/nirvana. Well, I'm pretty sure I sucked but otherwise... fun! Also a fight or two. Got ass kicked for first time, other than by my cousins. Some dark complected kid from Skyway with a long last name and B.O. He had a heavy coat on, I was in light jacket. I insisted he take his coat off 'cause it would cushion my hits. Big mistake, but not a whole lot of blood lost.

Mrs Bryant, I think. Not overly abusive, as I recall.
- I think I learned something about geography. Prolly where Greenland is.
- noticed summa you girls getting boobs. Sue me, I was a kid! And that made me wonder what Mary Ann might look like. Offended now? sheesh!

... which brings us to....
Mrs Gore.
- Stay out of Mrs Gore's 'hug range' just in case. First awareness of bra jokes outside 'Dagmar' from Milton Berle's tv show.
- The mysterious faceless {to me} 'God sent an Angel to Earth - Belinda'. I know this is probably offensive, esp if Belinda would read it. I'm talking my impressions here.
- Duck and Cover drills. Useful if the Russkies forgot to nuke - or missed- the Wright Pat flight line.

View Larger Map

**Make sure to pull those blinds down to stop flying glass!**
Reality, of course, would be our lips welded solidly to our butts.

- What grade were we in when we got that Mig-15 {coal-burner} low-pass flyover? I read somewhere the pilot was treating his kid who was at Central. I know we were in class on the base side of the building. Thought it was Mrs Gore's. It sure was cool, though.

- Homeroom: Cute young teacher with glasses. Miss Mahoney; reminded of her by that chick with glasses on Scooby-Doo Movie or:

- AND when I got my own glasses. Wow. "Look, ma.. those trees got LEAVES!" I didnt give a damn about the skinny, four eyes teasing...I wasnt takin' 'em off. Well, until I caught up on everything I'd been missing seeing, THEN I got a little annoyed. And my ass kicked some more.
- Remember 'Guidance' Class? or "Health and Guidance". What WAS her name?
*** Gorkis!** {I drew a blank because I kept coming up with Gorski and it wasnt a relative of Jim}
REST of you ....Imagine teen 'guidance' taught by a thirty-something tight skirt and sweater wearing, eyebrow penciled bleach blonde. Who couldn't seem to stay 'inside the lines' when she did her lipstick. 'Course they didnt have collagen injection, then.

Mrs G as she probably saw herself

More like....

She was supposed to spend most of her time on 'Health' of course, but most kids took away that she was really teaching 'boy-girl socialization'.
In Mrs G's class, we also learned the term "Stereotyping" as applied to socialization and our image of others. For the longest time I also associated that term with cartoon or caricature.
For years after, seems like half the girls I tried to get to know found a reason to throw in the catch phrase: "I am my own person."

Stereotypically, 'John', her husband, looked like someone out of a casting call for 'B movie leading man' stand-ins. Hey, I saw a few of you girls sorta swoon. I said a few, I couldnt watch all of you at the same time.

Whenever she brought him in for 'boy's counseling' {probably not on the curriculum}, he didnt say a whole lot and acted like he didnt want to be there. Even at the time I didnt blame him.

- Carpenter and the Cracker. Dont have to say anymore about that. Never felt a thing. Literally. Armstrongs sometimes questioned authority. But not so much as Torches did.

But 7th and 8th were the good parts. Never knew what to expect any given school day. Slam Books.. never got that much attention in em. Whew. Or maybe the kind souls kept the bad ones away from me. Either way... fine.
Outside activities:
- The 'pass out game'. outlawed then same as now. BUT..Strange.. we knew when someone passed out, then let 'em go. Gotta prosecute it now.

-Sexy repartee:
Bev Patterson {I think} "Why does Black Lane get shorter every weekend?" ** wait*** "Cuz everyone gets a piece!"
I was shocked and mortified, I tell ya. When kids said 'Black Lane', they really meant Armstrong Road. There really wasnt a good place to park on Black Lane.

- Jr Hi B-Ball my last gasp at jock glory. Memory is I was the last cut in 7th and 8th grade basketball. Could be wrong.
What I DO remember is that the coach who cut us was kind enough to stay outside practices at least a couple nights and help Bob Baum, Danny{??} and me improve our skills. It didnt take. But that coach, Dick Shrider, went on to become a success at Miami U, the Cradle of Coaches, and that means something.
Although I sort of got the idea that our other resident coach, Tom Freshour didnt care too much for him.
After that, through HS, I accepted my uncoordination and was content to shoot hoops in our barnyard. Usually with Joey and George Buzas

This has turned out a lot longer than I thought it would. Mainly because I tend to blather once the Stream of Consciousness starts flowing *** Notice my 'handle'?***

So I'll continue this, at least through through HS years, later. If you have any corrections, leave them as comments and I'll ignore them as soon as I get a chance.

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