Flashback Friday ~ My Senior Year

Linda of  Mocha With Linda has started her very own meme. This is how she describes it:

This new meme’s purpose is to have us take a look back and share about a specific time or event in our lives. It will be fun to see how similar – or different – our experiences have been!.

I am enjoying this meme a lot. Grab the button and the link and come play along. Linda’s theme this week is:

Tell about your senior year in high school. Were there any special traditions such as getting a senior ring? Were there lots of activities and parties as you neared graduation? Were you in any extra-curricular activities that had traditional “rites of passage” or “passing the baton” too the next class? Were awards given out – either serious or fun? Did you send out graduation announcements? Did your school have a Baccalaureate Service in addition to the graduation ceremony? If you attended church, did your church recognize/honor Seniors in any way? Did you keep your tassel – did you hang it from the mirror of your car or do something else special with it? What sorts of things did you get for graduation gifts? Was it a tradition to display the gifts in your home?

I grew up in a small town. From first to 8th grade I went to school with the same group of kids. My family moved away for one year, then in the 10th grade returned to the area and I was once again in school with kids I had known since 1st grade.  I was happy to be back in the right school but at home things kept getting worse and worse and worse. Finally, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I will skip the ugly details and just tell you I ended up living 600 miles away with my elder sister and her family. I was expected to finish the last half of my senior year with total strangers. I didn’t handle it well.

In fact, I created much unpleasantness and misery for everyone involved — to the point of running away from home.  Since I was almost 18 the police wouldn’t intervene and I refused to return home unless I was allowed to live with my grandmother and attend the school of my choice.  About that time my step-mother passed away and my dad relented.  I returned to my high school for the last 6 weeks of my Senior year.  (This explains why, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I wasn’t allowed to walk at graduation.  I passed with honor grades, but less than exemplary behavior.)

To answer the meme questions: — yes, I had a class ring.  Gram purchased it as my graduation gift.  I participated in Senior skip day, but thanks to a faulty carburetor, had to ride the bus to school that day.  The school officials were policing the parking lot.  My friend Susan and I spent the better part of an hour crawling on our hands and knees between parked cars trying to avoid the VP.   We managed it, then went to her house for showers and clean clothes — then we went to McDonald’s.  It was grand opening day and we wanted our free burgers!

Since I didn’t walk for graduation, I didn’t send out announcements.  I did have a party.  Gram went to my cousin’s graduation in another town.  I was left home with the instructions that I could have a couple of friends spend the night.  I did.  Ann, Sue, Mary, Dave, Frank, Rex, and Tom.  We played records, danced in a bowl of potato chips (that was an accident) and laughed and giggled until the sun came up. (We all remained fully-dressed and sober and reasonably well-behaved.)

We did have two bottles of wine.  Just enough for us each to have one glass and drink a toast to our “independence.”  Then, as the sun was coming up, the boys left and the girls scrambled to clean the house.  When Gram walked in about 9 a.m. the place was spotless and we were mostly looking like angels — although as Gram was walking through the front door my friend Ann was dropping the empty wine bottles out the kitchen window and into the backyard bushes.

I don’t remember anything special happening at church.  I did get a tassel even though I didn’t have a mortar board.  I kept my tassel on the rear view mirror of the car.  It could still be hanging there for all I know.  The car is in a field of weeds on my uncle’s farm.  It’s been there since 1978, a year after I graduated.

I did attend my high school graduation.  I sat in the bleachers while all of my classmates were down on the floor. They had all been forbidden to throw their hats, but I am proud to say they did it anyway.  There was also a big stink over what color of dresses the girls could and couldn’t wear and how long they could be.  The idea was that nothing was to hang below the graduation gowns or clash with their lovely royal blueness. Everything was to be elegant and dignified.  The senior English teacher had to approve very girl’s clothing before she was allowed in the line up. (There was much controversy over this in the weeks before graduation and many girls had to exchange their dresses in order to comply.)

The boys got even.  When it came time to walk across the stage boy after boy went up with their pantlegs rolled up and shoeless, showing off the wildest, most psychedelic socks you have ever seen (remember, it was the 70s).  Each new pair of socks was greeted with whistles and cheers and clapping and laughter.  It was probably the rowdiest and least dignified graduation on record.  The topper on it all  was the last young man (I wish I could remember his name) who took his diploma from the sour-faced, disapproving, English teacher that had tried to make it her graduation rather than ours.  Said young man swept the teacher into his arms, dipped her over backward and planted a huge kiss on her.

Everybody was out of their seats cheering and laughing.  The senior students were stomping their feet and wolf whistling, and even the principal cracked up.  When the young man stood the teacher back on her feet he just sauntered away as if nothing had happened.  It took the principal awhile to calm everyone down enough to formally present the graduating class of 1977 and end the ceremonies.

22 thoughts on “Flashback Friday ~ My Senior Year

  1. Oh the memories. It amazes me how much detail that everyone that participates in this meme can remember. I’m lucky to remember yesterday let alone my
    graduation from high school.

  2. Oh my. I knew you would have quite a flashback! Sounds like your class went out with a bang.

    I had forgotten the deal about the length of the dresses with the gowns.

    I’m so glad you had your grandmother to love on you.

  3. Flashback Friday ~ My Senior Year

    I graduated High School in 1977 by the skin of my teeth. I had regularly skipped Gym class and didn’t have enough P.E. credits to receive my tassel or diploma. I had to take back-to-back gym classes for two or three weeks. I wore my gym suit all day long. In fact, there were a bunch of us gals roaming the halls wearing our gym suits like a badge of honor.

    • Karen — our classes were too strictly monitored for something like that to happen to us or it probably would have happened to me!

  4. We also threw our hats despite being forbidden. For us we could only have 2 people come to our commencement ceremony because the class was so big that more people wouldn’t fit in the church.

    • Teresa — our ceremony was held in the college auditorium. There was plenty of room for our little graduating class (100), friends and family.

  5. I confess that what little I remember of my graduation exercises I have worked to forget. Apart from family pride in the bachelor’s degree (a near-first), those experiences that weren’t boring or embarrassing were painful. I don’t even know what’s become of the pieces of paper, and could care less. What matters is what one does with the credentials they are alleged to represent.

    • The parts of high school I appreciated had little to do with education. Happily, that isn’t true of college. The parts I appreciated most — while valuing my friends — was the educational experiences.

  6. .
    Sounds good, Quilly. “If they could see you now!” 🙂

    I don’t remember much. I had a crush on my Sophomore English teacher–took soph English when I was a senior–and I think she liked me. This was her first year to teach and she was about three of years older than I was.
    Also I remember the prom that year, I got Dad’s car. Three of us guys went stag, I drank my first taste of whiskey, and we had unhooked the speedometer on the car. That was twenty-six years before yours. By 1977 three of my kids had graduated, the fourth was a senior.

    This is afun meme, I’m sorry again to have hogged your comment page. I was out-of-pocket today and once more missed the boat for one of my own.
    ..

    • Jim — I think having a crush on a teacher is a teen requirement and has been since the first teacher picked up a piece of chalk.

    • Second thought: that wouldn’t be a good idea…then we might end up with the same memories! and that’s wrong 8)

  7. At least some nice memories of this time. I couldn’t tell anything about it, in Germany it was not the use to celebrate this event officially it was more private in the family. You got your diploma and that was it. Maybe now it has changed, but my son here in Belgium didn’t celebrate either, he was happy that school was finished, lol ! (and I too)

    • Gattina — I reaolly think too much of a deal is made over everything in America these days. There is too much partying and giving and not enough 3working and earning.

  8. Gattina, that’st the case in most of Europe — my sister in law is from Scotland. She said they just did their exams and left. When her daughter graduated from HS here 2 years ago, the mother just couldn’t understand all the fuss.

    I think the big party atmosphere comes from the days from when MANY people finished their education with high school. Now so many people go to college, it seems a little silly — especially when high school graduating classes are over 400 people. It isn’t as if it’s a last chance to say goodbye with your 399 best friends!

    • Kelley — I think the big party atmosphere simply comes from the American “big party” culture. Spend. Buy. Get. It is all about money. The stores push it with their advertising and Americans are all about doing things better than the Jones.

  9. no big deal about graduating here either. and what memories i may have had of my education i haveuly erased them from my memory. i simply didn’t fit in. period.

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