High School Memories

I saw that my old high school was listed on one of those sites that has pictures of the faculty and the students and promises you can get in touch with the students who attended there.

Well, It’s been close to 50 years since I graduated high school and I was surprised by some of my reactions when I visited that site.

First of all, the site was about 90 percent incomplete. Only about ten percent of the students submitted current pictures and wrote a sentence or two about what they are doing. After checking who did that, I came to the conclusion that most of the best looking and popular kids did that. I guess the reason is because they were always used to everyone admiring them and they wanted to relive those feelings. But by far, the vast majority of those who posted a current picture or wrote a sentence or two about what happened to them after high school were the kids that no one liked and no one would talk to. They were the outcasts and I suppose that experience scarred them so bad that they are still desperately trying to make friends.

The important thing I noticed was that none of the successful people posted anything. It’s like they moved on and just never looked back. They don’t care at all about reunions or their 50 year-old high school memories.

But the reason I posted this thread is because of one girl who was a year ahead of me. I’ll call her Jennifer. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen in the high school or anywhere else. She was 16 and I was 15. She had beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes. Her eyes were so beautiful that I stole a picture of her from the time she won the Princess of the junior prom and the Queen of the senior prom. In the past 50 years I had thought about her several times and wondered who she married and what she did. After all, she was the most beautiful girl in the world and I imagined she surely would have done great things.

Well, she did leave a note about herself and apparently, she lived a very ordinary life. But the biggest shock was the picture she left. I won’t post it here because that would be an invasion of her privacy, even though I’m sure no one here knows her and no one would ever associate the beautiful 16 year old girl with the picture of the 65 year old lady.

Do you know who Judy Dench is? Well, the picture she posted was very similar to Judy Dench. No one would ever look at that lady and think anything about her being attractive.

I guess it was a real letdown for me. I don’t know why I would have expected anything different. Any lady would have to look very different at age 65 than she looked as a girl of 15.

But it was as if my memory of her was completely shattered and never again will I be able to think back about that beautiful girl and have any kind of fond memories about her.

They say, “You can never go back home again”. I guess I found out a little bit what that means today. It was very sad. I feel like crying.

Looking into the past will definitely mess you up if you’re not ready for it. Thanks to Facebook I sometimes run across images of people I knew in high school. Fit, young, beautiful people with their futures ahead of them–now shrunken, bald, and world-weary shadows of themselves. I need to avoid the mirror for an hour or so while the memories slide off my aging brain like butter off a freshly boiled egg. I can’t imagine looking back in another 20 years when I’m OP’s age. Mercifully I’m unlikely to have to have the chance.

I don’t see any reason to assume negative things about the character of those people who do look back. All you need is the observation that more successful people have less of a reason to look back in the past.

You’ve been smacked in the face with the tragedy (and beauty) of the human condition. Everything in the past is dead, and we can never have things like they used to be. The things we treasure in our memory are only the shadows of something we experienced, warped and molded by time and distance.

Sometimes I look at myself, and remember things/experiences from my childhood and youth, and wish that I could bring to life those experiences, and the “me” that was then.

My un-scientific idea is that the more people are trapped by this kind of tragic nostalgia, the unhappier they are. It’s ok to look back a little, but the allure of the past can be dangerous (for those who know the movie, think the scene in Labyrinth where Sara, in the middle of a vast junk-heap, almost succumbs to the comfort of all of the things that remind her of her childhood).

This is a very maudlin post for a Tuesday morning. Ah well, back to work . . .

Judi Dench.

She looks all right to me.

The picture you posted of Judi Dench above is about 50 years old. There is a current picture of her on this page.

She is a great actress and she has made some great movies. One of her most recent movies is “Notes on a Scandal”. She did a wonderful job on that film and it turned out to be a very “gripping” movie. From everything I had heard about it, I assumed I wouldn’t like it because it had the reputation of being a women’s film. But it was excellent. A very powerful film. I liked it a lot. Preconceptions are often foolish.

I really should thank you because by looking at both pictures, it makes the point of this thread.

There’s a classic scene in a classic movie that says it all.
In Citizen Kane, an elderly man is talking to the young, ambitious Kane :

My first massive crush was this girl in Jr. High School. She was so pretty and smart - but also a bit of a “bad girl”. Smoked, cut classes, showed up one day with a little mohawk. Not big-deal bad-girl, but enough in my straight-laced life in my boring suburb that she stood out to me. And yes, that part was a large reason for my crush, and probably why to this day I’m attracted to the “Suicide Girl” type look of tattoos and piercings on women.

She dropped out of high school and we fell out of touch (we were friendly in school, although I never had the nerve to let her know about my crush). Cut to 25 years later. Through the magic of Facebook, we reconnect. And in my mind, of course, she’s still that bad girl. The one with the mohawk, which is maybe purple these days. Probably has some tattoos. We friend each other on Facebook, and I take a look at her page. Her hobbies? Gardening. Playing with her kids. Things like that.

I mean, good for her - she grew up, became an adult, as she should. But yeah. You can’t go home again.

Which was kinda my point. The girl becomes the woman. None of us are immune to the march of time; I’m sure there’s a bit more flab and a bit more gray on your body than there was when you were fifteen. Does that destroy your find memories of yourself?

I certainly hope not – nor should this discovery taint your memories of “Jennifer.”

Debbie Pinson was hot.

This part sounds self-contradictory:

Am I mis-reading what you wrote? Seems like you’re saying that 10% of the students submitted info (pix and what they’re doing nowadays), and this 10% consists of

a) the most popular and best looking kids

but then you go on to say that the 10% consists of

b) the kids that no one likes and no one would talk to


Bite your tongue, fool! I would so do Judi Dench!

Sorry for any confusion.

I was just estimating that the ten percent consisted of both groups together.

I recently went to my high school’s 50th reunion. I found it interesting that some of the unpopular “outcasts” had become highly successful, and looked reasonably good for folks in their late 60s. One guy who had been the top jock, football player, lead in all the school plays, etc., was barely recognizable. Fat, balding, and downright ugly. Very quiet, too.

The only girl who ever broke my heart was a junior when I was a senior in high school when she dumped me for a low-life cowboy who flunked out of high school. I always pictured her as ending up in a house trailer with 8 kids and an alcoholic husband who beat her. Through the miracle of the Internet, I found that she has a Masters in Library Science and is a pillar of her small community.

I was surprisingly pleased that finding this out only made me happy for her. It’s nice to know that you sometimes do get over heartbreak.

[QUOTE=The Great Sun Jester;17053423 Fit, young, beautiful people with their futures ahead of them–now shrunken, bald, and world-weary shadows of themselves.[/QUOTE]

Hey man do you mind if I tweak that quote a bit and use it in my bio? Sounds bout right.

But can you say it three times fast?

From I’m staying young:

No it doesn’t. If you can’t see that Judi Dench is still a beautiful woman, full of life and intelligence, then I am sad for you. She is especially beautiful, in my eyes, because she has accepted and made the best of what age has done to (for?) her appearance. Look at the sparkle in those eyes! So she’s not 20 anymore, so what? If you’re 65 and pining for the 16-year-olds of your memory, then I suggest that a certain amount of growing up is in order.

See user name.

Best advice I can give: NEVER google the name of someone you loved “back when…”.

I prefer the images in my mind -ones I have carefully crafted and polished through the decades.

I especially don’t care to find obits (I’m 2 out of 2 on that, not going for #3).

I disagree, I like to know. My experience:

K was the prettiest girl in high school French class. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She wound up marrying young and divorcing, married a second time for good. She hasn’t aged particularly well, and now is a Teabagger. She is, surprisingly, a pretty good writer and though I disagreed vehemently with her political prose, I find her writing to be quite eloquent and well-spoken. I’m so glad now that she didn’t return my crush.

S was a coworker in my college dorm. We were on the surface buddies, but I was madly in love with her. She wound up being a pastor. Didn’t see that coming. Seeing how she aged, it worked out for the best.

M was a girl I dated after graduation. She lost her job and moved, wound up with a butt-ugly husband too late to have kids. That made me kind of sad, I always thought she’d make a good parent. Glad that we split now, her preferred lifestyle of travel and no kids isn’t what I would want.

B was another coworker in my college dorm. Only later did I figure out that she had a thing for me. Of all of them, her lifestyle was closest to my ideal and she is as pretty now as she was then.

So after all that, my internet sleuthing tells me I always went for the wrong girl. But it’s nice to know.