Tag Archives: 1983

‘Don’t talk to me like that — I’m sensitive!’

Nov. 4, 1983

Dear Diary, After the play tonight, everybody told me I did good, that I was funny. I was glad. It made me happy. The play went OK. We made a few mistakes — but of course. We had a wonderful audience.

Nov. 5, 1983

Dear Diary, Our audience tonight was dead. I wasn’t so “up” afterwards. I was hyper instead …

Nov. 6, 1983

Dear Diary, We striked the set this afternoon. “The Curious Savage” is over. I can’t wait until the One Act.

Looking back 27 years, I feel a little like Marlon Brando’s character in “On the Waterfront”: “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.”

Well, I might not be a bum — I sleep in a bed I own, not a gutter in the street — but I think nostalgically of my theatrical career in high school.

In “The Curious Savage,” I played Fairy May, a crazy young woman who wants to be everyone’s friend and needs to hear she is loved. The play’s synopsis: Mrs. Ethel Savage is a slightly eccentric, extremely wealthy widow trying to spend her money charitably; her greedy stepchildren commit her to a sanitorium in the hopes of shocking her to her senses. There, she meets a variety of social misfits (including Fairy May), all needing exactly the kind of help Mrs. Savage can provide and who eventually appear more sane that those outside the walls of the institution. Mrs. Savage ultimately confounds her stepchildren with the help of her newfound friends. It’s described as a lovely story about what it means to be a family.

I honestly don’t remember anything about the story (except in one scene, the stepson character chastised my best friend’s character’s insensitivity by saying, “You’re hard” which amused us teen-agers to no end), but I do remember I got to literally let my hair down in the last scene, and I remember feeling pretty during the final applause.

I had lines like, “I was stolen by gypsies when I was a child and rescued just as they were about to dye my skin with walnut juice” and “My dentist said I had perfect occlusion. Do you think he was telling me he loved me?” and the line in the title of this post.

Sometimes lately I feel a little like Fairy May — like I’m surrounded by crazy people. And then I wonder, maybe I’m the crazy one?

It’s not homecoming without a little corny sentimentality

It was the kind of ceremony any small high school in the country would have hosted proudly.

Picture, if you will, 1983. Ocean Pacific wasn’t a place but a line of apparel designed for the “surf” crowd; “Op” clothing was all the rage for Midwestern teen-agers who had never seen the ocean, let alone surfed in it. Pink tennies were almost as cool as suede Nikes with leather swooshes. Eyeshadow matched your clothes, not your eyes, and French braids were really neat.

The trees had shed their leaves, and a chill was in the air. “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” (the last of the 10 “Halloween” sequels to sport Roman numerals and the only one without Mike Myers) was available on VHS or Beta video and would soon be viewed by teen-agers across the country looking to celebrate Halloween. Described in girls’ diaries as “pure garbage — but fun,” Tom Cruise was sliding across the big screen in “Risky Business” at the local Cozy Theatre.

The theme for the Homecoming Queen Coronation Ceremony was “Some Enchanted Evening” from “South Pacific.” Four teachers were thanked in the program for “sharing their plants with us” to lend a tropical air to the proceedings. The high school symphonic band played the title music and, later, a pop oldie from 1972: Looking Glass’ “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl).”

The varsity football tri-captains played symbolic hosts, and Krista Boline and Leslie Lundquist filled the role of mistresses of ceremonies; 11th graders filled the emcee role every year in service to the senior queen candidates and their senior escorts, who reigned at the top of the high school pecking order.

Falling leaves and football season evoke homecoming memories this time of year. Some memories are filled with rueful angst, some with nostalgia. Some with a little of both.

According to the diary review: “Well, I’m disappointed Diane is our Homecoming Queen. How terrible.”

I was apparently thinking less about the pomp and circumstance of homecoming ceremonies than I was about what I was hoping to do after the ceremony. The knock on the queen was written right after, “I went into the library today and looked up kissing. There’s lots of magazine articles on the subject.”

Yearbooks: A rite of spring

April 13, 1980

Dear Diary,

I didn’t see Chris walk by today. Boo-hoo. I was looking through my old annual and he’s a tennis player! He is cute. Speaking of annuals. Since I’m on the annual staff, I was one of the first to see the new annuals! They are great but I’m not! I am not photogenic. How sick! I look terrible in pictures. But the page I did turned out real nice. I am not supposed to tell anyone about the new annuals and it is driving Amy crazy! She wants to know so bad but I can’t tell her.

April 29, 1980

Dear Diary,

For annual staff we voted on editors and I voted for me and Krista. But I have a horrible feeling that I might get it. And Todd will, too. That is horrible. I would die. We get our annuals on May fifth. That’s when we get to know who is editors. Mmm.

May 5, 1980

Dear Diary,

They are selling annuals tomorrow. And they are announcing the editors for next year! I hope I get to be one! But I may not get it.

May 6, 1980

Dear Diary,

I’m an editor! I’m an editor! I’m so glad! And Amy is on annual staff! This has been a great day. It would have been evenbetter if I found out for sure if [name deleted to protect the innocent] liked me. That would be great! I’m an editor with Krista Boline. That’s super, too. She’ll be good to work with. I think Todd and Rick are jealous. HA HA TODD!

I don’t know if fleeting text messages and electronic MySpace/Facebook have replaced eternal school yearbooks today, but I still have my yearbooks, a.k.a. annuals, from seventh grade through my senior year. Annuals were an exciting thing about the end of the school year and I looked forward to having friends write ridiculous and sublime things in all them. Here are a few excerpts:

Seventh grade: “It’s been fun! Even through the ‘hard times.’ Being in your fights aren’t too fun. Listening to your ‘boy fantasies’ get boring sometimes especially when we were already late for school.” Signed “F/F/A [Friends forever always], Amy”

Eighth grade: “To the nicest person I’ve ever hated.” Signed by a seventh grade nerd.

Ninth grade:“Problems, problems. The world is full of problems. Good thing you’ve got some good solutions.” Signed “F/F Confucius” [a.k.a. the girl who became my college roommate and remains my best friend]

10th grade: “It’s been real nice having you as a neighbor even though we didn’t talk that much. I hope I see you next year, I also hope you have a locker by me next year. See ya next year or possibly this summer. Stay away from the rowdies and wild parties.” Signed by the boy who I did date seriously the following year.

11th grade’s yearbook has been misplaced, probably in my ex-husband’s bookcase two states away.

12th grade: “It’s been great even though we didn’t learn anything in Physics. Good luck always and have fun in college.” Signed by a boy I don’t even remember being in physics, but I’m sure he’s right about not having learned anything. This is especially funny because my stepdaughter is now a wiz at physics.