All posts tagged: High School

How I Came to Love Shipping (and the Hot UPS Guy)

I was fifteen years old, answering phones in the main office of my high school. “Good afternoon, Park Ridge High School, how may I direct your call?” I’d look up the extension on the printed sheet and punch the square plastic buttons for HOLD and TRANSFER. My best friend had a work-study job in the guidance office, and I put in a few hours a week at my floating desk in the front office. One day, I was answering phones and a tall, handsome woman in a pantsuit pushed open the glass door. She introduced herself as a small business owner from down the street, and said she wanted to post a help wanted notice. “I need someone to work in my business, doing office work after school hours.” I took the index card from her and read the typed requirements. Typing, filing, something about shipping. “I’d like to apply,” I said. I put the card in my pocket, as if to say, I’m not posting this on any bulletin board. “All right,” she said. …

I’m The Embarrassing Parent I Never Wanted To Be

Valerie’s dad in his finest. (Photo courtesy Valerie Medina) You know the look. The I-can’t-believe-you-just-did-that look. The one that makes you feel like no matter how tiny your infraction, your teenager will forever remember this embarrassing moment. The problem is, it’s challenging for me to refrain from breaking into song-and-car-dance when Uptown Funk (or even Funky Cold Medina) comes on the radio. It doesn’t matter if a friend of my 15-year-old daughter’s is in the car, a random cute boy is biking by, or we are at a stoplight with a car full of her peers right next to us — this type of music gets into my soul and beckons me. Yes, I have officially become the embarrassing mom. Anytime my daughter catches a glimpse of this boy on our way to or from school, she reaches over, holds my arm down so I won’t attempt a wave, and says, “Don’t even think about offering him a ride, Mom!” It’s a legacy. Growing up with my dad was like being in a room with …

She Must Be My Lucky Star

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight.com) For the first 12 or so years of my life, I was the good girl. My first act of rebellion came in seventh grade when I threw a bunch of baby carrots in the bathroom at church. (I have no idea know why I did this.) Before I could even be accused of the carrot caper, I confessed. Bowing down to authority seemed to be inked into my DNA. While other middle schoolers were experimenting with smoking, I could be found in the school band. I didn’t even play a cool instrument like the drums or the saxophone. No, I played the oboe, and the oboe is just about the nerdiest of the nerdy instruments a junior high schooler could play. Then in 8th grade, MTV came bursting into my room. That year, I spent every afternoon glued to the TV. I was enthralled by Duran Duran’s Hungry Like The Wolf. I escaped through a-ha’s comic book-styled world in Take On Me. I spent hours learning the moves to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. But …

What the Bullied Girl Taught Me

(Collage by Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight) Reunions are like reflections. At least, that’s the thought I had after a recent high-school class reunion, though I could apply the same sentiment to family reunions, or really any encounter with people I haven’t seen in years. For at least a moment, you flash back to how you remember them — and yourself — at that time. Then there’s the inevitable question, “what have you been doing since I last saw you?” A friend once told me our reactions arc over time, much like our responses. At early reunions, like the five- or ten-year, familiarity still tends to run strong. You’ve stayed in touch with many old friends. They know what you’ve been doing. The range of individual achievements and failures remains fairly consistent. Many graduated college and got their first job; some got married. I was moving to New York. I was on my way up. By the 15th year, though, you start reflecting on the things you had planned for when you grew up. Because now you are grown up. You are what you are going to be. Is …

Margit’s Note: Don’t You (Forget About Me)

Images from Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (Collage: Nancy Gonzalez/TueNight.com) We relate to people through certain time chunks in our lives — the high school chunk, the college chunk, that first job, the second, the time we moved to Chicago, the time we moved back. We have all these various “eras” that include different friends, favorite haunts, routes we drove, routines we’ve long since replaced, various versions of ourselves. Facebook has kept some of us in touch, blending our eras into one big slush pile of pals, but in-person reunions truly take us back. “Remember when Louis did that lawn job in Elliot’s front yard?” “Holy shit, yes. He had some crazy car.” “He had a Camaro!” I hadn’t seen or talked to Luke or Emily or Mana or Mark in 30 years but here we were conjuring up 30-year-old memories at our high school reunion. How short we (girls) hemmed our school kilts, terror-inspiring teachers, the nice ones, too (Mrs. Allen!), walking to school across the golf course, smoking clove cigarettes in the parking lot. “Wait, …