Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Senior Year (Part Three) Finally!

(This is a picture of Paul, Barry and me, probably taken some Saturday evening before we went out. I'm guessing by our tans it was well into May of 79.)

I realized after re-reading parts one and two I didn't really get into the whole feel of the place. In NC I lived in a dark little apartment. I had one small window on the ground floor, facing north. The whole apartment was dark and cave-like. Even our southern exposure windows were just downhill from thick woods. (Also my Dad and I were not getting along and you know, also the part about my not eating.) My room in Texas was on the second floor and the building behind us was downhill and to my right if I were looking out (we were on the left end of our building), so my south-facing windows were always open. It was like a long bank of windows almost the length of the room, starting about chest high. Also the ceilings were high. It was a sunny bright room with pecan wood furniture and a bright red crushed velour bedspread. It also had a built-in vanity with sink against a wall mirror. Every morning I awoke to the coolest radio station and morning show. The morning crew was known as "the Morning Zoo," the station KZEW was called "The Zoo." They played "Roxanne" every morning when it came out that spring. It quickly became my favorite song and to this day it makes me happy. I got along really well with my parents. I was so independent from being a "free-range" kid for so long, so I was never needy or underfoot. My Dad was always sending me money and my Step-Dad handed me twenties nearly every time we crossed paths.

Oh! The weather! The weather was incredible! Very dry breezy air - no more fuzzy hair! Something about the wind always reminded me of being at the beach in NC, so that always had me in a great mood. Well beach air without the humidity. And everyone was just so upbeat. I thrived. I was eating my Mom's wonderful home cooking, playing tennis, jogging, bicycling, and playing Frisbee at the park by the zoo. I was probably the healthiest I had been in years. Also there was a very strong underlying psychological aspect working. In my mind, this was a one-time thing. I imagined I would go back to NC, do my 4 years at UNC-G, get a job and live out my future. So in that sense, the entire 5 months had the heady feel of a vacation.

In early April, about the time I met Paul, Joy and I joined up to make a Spanish dish together for our class. I guess she found me amusing or something because she invited me to a "party" with some of her friends. Now this party was so shocking to me, I still can't believe it. It was 2 or 3 other girls. We had the house to ourselves. Seriously, we were all 17 or 18 in an 18 state. And their plan was to make brownies and popcorn, drink soft drinks, and call some boys they had met the prior summer at 6-Flags. Talk about a stranger in a strange land. It was like being in another country or an altogether different planet. I mean I had done that stuff before - IN SEVENTH GRADE! I was so bored and miserable. It was a VERY long night. Just after I turned 18, about a week later, I had Joy stop at a convenience store. She said she had never drunk alcohol. I bought 2 four-packs of Malt Duck. That was it right there. Years after I had stopped drinking that stuff, she was still buying it by the case. I created a Malt Monster. Same thing with pot. The first time she smoked with me at Paul's house, she went to lie down and was out for 4 hours, but she smoked pot for years after I quit (my freshman year in college). Joy and I had overlapping lunch periods. They went for an hour, but mine started 1/2 hour before hers. A couple of times a week that May, I was 1/2 hour late to my tennis class. That was the only class I got a B in at that school and my Mom gave me hell for years, "How could you make a B in tennis?" I finally told her one day about the Joy lunch club. Ouch that was bad. I don't even remember what I did to kill the first half hour, but when she got out, we'd drive to this convenience store, (in a small strip shopping center) buy malt duck and potato chips (or some other munchie) and sit in the car and drink and talk and laugh until we had to go back. One time she got so buzzed and paranoid, she drank perfume before her next class and ended up puking. In class. I always joked I bet it was the best-smelling puke ever.

Back to Paul. I rode my bike over to K's a few days after the skating incident and this guy Greg that had been hanging with Paul at the skating rink was there. Apparently he had his own landscaping business although he was a junior in high school. Man his face lit up and he told me Paul wanted to call me and asked if I was K's girlfriend. I said "No!!!!" I mean about being K's girlfriend. Well Paul called and we were nearly inseparable until the day I left Texas. He went to another high school just on the other side of downtown. I think we started off trying to be boyfriend and girlfriend, but it just didn't go that way. I was wild and untameable and wanted to make the most of my "vacation," so we ended up being best friends. For our 18th birthday (a Friday night!), it was just the 2 of us. We went to Dallas. He had gotten a bag of some killer pot, so we don't remember much about that night. I remember riding around in Dallas and seeing this place we wanted to go and not being able to figure out how to get there. It was really funny at the time.

Well my high school boyfriend in NC came for a visit over Easter weekend around that time. I told him Paul was a pot buddy and actually introduced them. I took HSB to 6-Flags and a few other spots and then he was gone. For some reason we had made a mutual decision not to go to the prom. You know since we were apart. Well some time in May, my Mom gave me a hard time about that. So at the very last minute, I told Paul, I'd go with him. Yeah, HSB was not so happy about that. Oh, speaking of prom time, the guy Barry in the picture above was going to take me to a concert just before the prom. Somehow his prom date found out and said she wouldn't go to the prom if he took me to the concert. It was no biggy to me, but he was practically in tears. Here's the funny part. He was SO wasted at the prom, when I walked up to their table; he just reached right out and grabbed my hip. The look on her face was priceless!

May was a killer month. About once a week, I'd get ready for school and stuff a pair of shorts (shorts weren't allowed at the school) and a bathing suit into my purse and drive across town to Paul's. We'd usually go buy beer and hang out at his pool. Sometimes we'd go to Trinity Park or go by the zoo and play frisbee. On the days, I went to school; I'd get home, put on my bathing suit, and go to my pool. There were always these 20-something guys there that would share their joints with me and give me beer. They taught me how to play backgammon. Those were fun times. Also Paul had an old friend that was about 2 years out of high school that lived in the apartments across from me. He had a cool room and could do anything - apparently he and his mom had an understanding. So we'd hang out over there sometimes on school nights. This same guy introduced us to Van Halen. We were skeptical after seeing the album cover of this gay looking guy doing a jumping split in red and white pants, but we came to appreciate it.

Prom night was also not the usual. We had decided to keep it classy and simple. I wore a simple black dress of my Mom's. He wore a tux and we wore matching rose with baby's breath corsages. (If you're just reading this for the first time, scroll down to part one for the picture.) We got there and both felt out of our element. Nearly all the girls were wearing garish pastel and floral dresses – some even had Gone With the Wind type attire, and most of the guys were also in pastels - it was 1979, but still. We were a little irritated because we got there late and all of our friends were at a full round table. So we went to a long table, sat down, ate, and left. We went to a really cool club by the TCU campus. Sometime after midnight, we met some crazy guy and when he asked why we were dressed up, we told him we had been to a midnight formal funeral for our rich, eccentric uncle. We told him that when we turned 21 we would get a million dollars each. I don't know why, but it was fun. Well this guy thought we were great and he said he had pot in the car. So we went out and smoked with him and got totally buzzed. I remember it took us a while to get rid of him. The next day, we couldn't remember how we came up with that idiotic story or even why he didn't realize we were prom people.

Also that May, I had discovered the midnight "Rocky Horror Picture Show." A bunch of us went several times on Saturday nights. We'd all meet up at the theater, get our tickets and drive down the street to Trinity Park with a couple of bottles of wine. We'd stand on top of a picnic table; pass around joints and bottles of wine until it was time to go back. I still don't remember why we stood on top of picnic tables. But we really got into the show. I mean we sang and did the lighters and yelled stuff but we didn't carry toast or newspapers. Some of the regulars had EVERYTHING. We learned quickly who we did not want to sit near. I didn't see RHPS again until Halloween at a theatre just off the UNC-G campus. I was dressed as Magenta and went by myself, but sat next to a Riff-Raff so we could dance together.

Well, the school year ended, and graduation was to be on a Monday night, June 4th. Paul's graduation was a few days later, but I was flying back to NC the very next day. I felt bad that I was going to miss his graduation. And I bet it was some party. Well, the tradition at my NC high school was to wear something outrageous under your robe. At my TXschooll, they said to dress up. I wasn't going to wear a bathing suit or anything, but I sure as hell was not going to dress up. It's UNDER a robe for crying out loud. I wore nice powder blue shorts and a pink spaghetti strap top and Candies (high-heeled clog type shoes if you don't know what those are.) Joy, of course, showed up at my house in serious church clothes. We both had changes for the graduation lake party. Well we started making Margaritas in the blender. I don't remember how many batches we made, but left the house with giant plastic cups full. On the drive to the coliseum I made up a song to go with the graduation theme. It went like this: We're going to graduation, we're going today. Drink lot's of Margaritas, and everything will be okay. It was quite catchy and we both sang the whole ride.
I didn't think ahead, and spent the entire ceremony having to pee like a madman. The guy on my left was very preachy and kept saying, "That's what you get. How could you drink before an important ceremony like this?" If I ever see him, I'll push him down. It was cool when they called my name because Paul was in thebalconyy and did one of those REALLY LOUD whistles.

Our robes were rentals and we had to literally disrobe as we walked out of the coliseum. Schoolofficialss were collecting the robes as we filed out. I handed mine to the same counselor that made me take tennis instead of Chemistry II. Her eyes widened in shock at my "outfit." Seriously she couldn't have looked more shocked if I were wearing a bathing suit. We had arranged to meet Paul at a little store near his apartment. He was going to ride with us to the lake party. We changed in the bathroom, bought lots of beer and malt duck and that's the last thing I remember until I woke up on Paul's couch the next day - about 4 hours before my plane was to leave.

Here's what I found out: I passed out before we got to the lake. Joy's back seat door did not lock. Paul spent the entire night protecting me from that guy I used to ride to school with. He was dead set on getting in that car with me according to Paul. I actually went out with that guy a couple of years later but never even kissed him because of that. So my last memory of that school year was of Mom, Joy and Paul standing over me as I sat on my floor packing like a crazy person, so I could catch my plane. Myarrivall back in NC is a really funny story, but that's for another day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And that's the way it was way back in 1979. I should know because I was there.