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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Writing Prompt 3/18/10--High School Daze

By Marilyn Friedman

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Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 things that come to mind when you think of the words, "High School." Pick one and write whatever comes to mind for 10 minutes. For instance, one thing that is on my list is the word: locker. So I'll write about lockers for 10 minutes. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when you think of the words, "High School?" Post your short write on this blog, and you could win a free class!


ed decker said...

How about a little Haiku this time?:


Drunk, stoned and laughing
in the woods behind the school
is how I learned best.

Writing Pad said...


I love it. Great image--drunk, stoned and laughing in the woods behind school!


Writing Pad said...

OK--here's what my narrator has to say (completely fictional, of course):

When I think of high school, I think of pimples and braces. I remember that I went to Medusa's dance club (a punk/goth hangout) on Prom night even though I was a nice Jewish girl and not a goth or a skinhead.

I remember getting teased because I didn't realize that I should start shaving my legs, or was that junior high? I promptly began shaving my legs the day after I was teased.

I remember Boudin's pizza bread at the mall across the street from my high school--sloppy, full of tomato sauce and chewy, fresh sourdough bread. I remember eating stuffed pizza at Giordano's at cast parties for musicals like "The Boyfriend" or "Dracula Spectacula." Chicago stuffed pizza is a thick 5 inch pie of cheese that goes on for miles and miles attached to your fork as you try to put a bite in your mouth.

I remember my first kiss at a BBYO dance--Brian Gerber. It was a Bahama Bash, and I wore a floral strapless Hawaiian dress. He was tall and cute. He smelled like Old Spice. I was paranoid that our braces would lock. Miraculously, there was no brace face car crash, just a rough peck and hard sucking of lips.

High school--I remember you so well. Sometimes I wish I could erase you from my memory banks forever.


ed decker said...

Marilyn, a former goth girl? Say it ain't so!

Writing Pad said...

The narrator was not a goth in high school, but she did go to a goth/skinhead dance club. That night, she stuck out in her conservative outfit from Express.:)

Unknown said...

I don't have fond memories of high school, but at least I learned how to tame my Lebanese fro and grew into my nose, so I didn't get teased like I did in jr. high. *shudder*

I hated high school, but I had a great time once I discovered New Orleans. By 14, I was finding my way into punk clubs. Halloween 1994I fashioned a Catwoman costume out of black tape and tin foil and go into the now defunt (sad) Mermaid Lounge. I noticed that the bassist from one of the punk bands was not only attractive, but was wearing pants decorated with Christmas lights. We hung out the entire night until I wrecked my game with the following conversation:

Cute punk bassist guy: "So are you in school?"
Me: "Yes, I'm a freshman."
CPBG: "Tulane or Loyola?"
Me: "Mandeville High"
CPBG: "God-do your parents know where you are?"

This story does have a happy ending-we stayed in touch, I saw him when he was on tour when I was in college, then again when I was living in NY and he played CBGB and a few years ago, I attended his wedding in San Diego.

Karen S. said...

I don't know why I went to so many high schools, but I changed every year. And, I wasn't the only one. Something to do with SF in the 70s. My year was the one that "integration" effected--each year the re-divided neighborhoods split up the kids, so a lot of us went in and out of private and public school—‘cuz public school was something everyone believed in. 9th grade was a private college-prep school, Lick Wilmerding HS, with an odd tradition of learning a trade as well—like metal work, woodshop and plumbing. Mostly the kids had gotten control of the system and after a week-long Squaw Valley ski trip of total chaos, drugs, partying and all-out debauchery—they put the entire student body on probation and extra work duty. Not sure why I wasn’t happy there, but I convinced my parents to send me back to public school. We faked an address and off I went to Washington HS in the Avenues where I didn’t know anyone at all except a babysitter on the cheerleading squad. Washington was a much more subdued “normal” high school that even had a decent football team, something pretty rare for hippy-dominated SF. I remember standing on the overhang during lunch hour for weeks looking down on all the kids hanging out together in the courtyard. Finally, I mustered up the courage to introduce myself and make friends with the skateboarding surfer crowd—and that year was colored in with all that went along with Kelly’s Cove and the SF surfing subculture. For 11th grade, I again figured out how to escape and went off to ALTA alternative school inside the new McAteer HS for the Performing Arts—and got myself enough credits to graduate at just 16. A lot of us from the other schools ended up here too, where we were able to be our true eccentric independent selves from the Dead Head stoners, to glitter glam queens, to rockabilly and hardcore punk rockers, to Sunset boys, surfers, gangsters and nerds—all refugees from the abandonment of absent parents absorbed with SF’s long hangover of disillusionment from the euphoric years of delicious counter-culture to the exhaustive protests against the horrors of the Vietnam War.

Writing Pad said...

Kristina and Karen--
I'm so excited that you wrote on this prompt. I'll give you likes and remembers by tomorrow!

Writing Pad said...

Kristina--I love this story! A punk romance--how fabulous! I love "tame my Lebanese fro," I love "pants decorated with Christmas lights," and I love knowing that the narrator attended his wedding!


Writing Pad said...

Karen--Great story! I love the background of history behind the narrator's high school experiences--integration, the Vietnam War, believing in public schools. I love the mention of the "Squaw Valley ski trip of drugs and debauchery." I also love the high school types mentioned: "Dead Head stoners, and glitter glam queens. Fantastic!


Julie said...

After the flat-out hideous hair, snarky girls, "I'm your best friend today but not tomorrow," awkward crushes, glasses and braces awfulness of Jr High, High School was a relief. Simply put, I found my groove. I had awesome friends and boyfriends. I broke hearts and got mine broken in return. I learned French from a crazy frenchwoman who wore white pants once a year so her "Bloomies" underwear would show through and the rumors would be proven true. I swam on the team, went to dances and painted posters for the big game. Never Miss Popular, I did what I liked and loved every minute of it. Until one morning on the downside of my senior year.

I was up before the sun, on my way to 5:30am swim practice when I found my mom, sprawled out on the kitchen table, her still-steaming mug of coffee pushed out of reach. I knew the minute I looked at her that something was wrong.

This is a woman who never started her day without a cup of black coffee, and here she was, flat out, looking green and miserable. Most importantly, her coffee was untouched. "You're pregnant," it was more of an accusation than a statement. She looked at me, raised her head and mumbled something about going to the doctor. We both knew that what I’d said was true, and from that moment on, everything changed. I was mortified. I was pissed off. I truly believed that my mother had ruined my senior year by getting knocked up.

For a month, I walked around school with the secret knowledge that my parents-and they were not even cool step parents or anything, just the same old boring parents I’d had since I was born-still (ew!) had sex. Even worse, in just a few short months, the whole school would know it too. When the news got out, my friends loved that I was going to have a new baby brother or sister. People thought it Prom, graduation, a great summer job and settling into my dorm took the focus off of my mom’s big belly. Before I knew it, I was taking the train home from college to meet my new baby sister. Who, as it turns out, isn’t so bad after all.