Friday, August 20, 2010

Flashback Friday - More School Memories

Before today's flashback, I'm sure you haven't been able to sleep, anticipating my scanning and posting the picture of me as a Candystriper, so here it is:

Continuing with the back-to-school theme. . . .
What type of extra-curricular school activities did you participate in during your school days? Clubs? Spelling bees or other contests? Cheerleader or drill team? Sports? Journalism? Choir or theater? Were there any memorable events related to those? Did you receive any awards? Were football games a big deal at your school? Did you usually attend - and was it with a group or as a date? What was Homecoming like?

The main "extra" that I remember from elementary school was the huge deal in sixth grade of being a safety patrol. The boys usually did the flags to stop the cars and the girls escorted the kindergarten kids to the car line and then stood at various places around the school to be sure no one ran. We got to wear the orange safety patrol thing that went around your waist and up over one shoulder. It was the coolest thing, and quite a status symbol, because not everyone got to do it!

When I was in school in Houston ISD, ninth grade was part of junior high. So instead of being a "lowly" freshman, a ninth grader was top of the heap! I remember doing UIL math contests. We'd get to the school about 7:00 am on a Saturday, ride a bus to a school way across town, and spend the morning taking a math test! I remember my Algebra teacher, Mrs. Downs, was great. I stayed several times after school to get her help until Algebra "clicked." One "snapshot" memory I have of that is standing at the chalkboard finding the square root of a big number. (I couldn't do that now if my life depended on it! Thank goodness for calculators!) Anyway, at one of the math contests I got the highest score in our school - and it was something like #26 out of several hundred who took it. At our "graduation" that spring, Mrs. Downs announced my name for the Math Award. I remember being absolutely stunned and so excited. There were others who did better week to week in Algebra than I did, and her encouragement was so. . .encouraging!

And I needed a teacher to encourage me, for I had a couple of disheartening experiences earlier in the year, and one incident was eye-opening and heartbreaking for my 14-year-old self. I was in Journalism on the school paper. In the fall we had a contest selling ads for the paper. Whoever sold the most ads (dollar amount) would receive $15 at our party just before Thanksgiving at the teacher's house. (Can you imagine today sending your child to a teacher's house for a party?!) Selling ads was really outside of my introverted comfort zone, but I gave it everything I had.

Let me insert here that the junior high I attended was full of polar opposites. A large percentage of the kids were non-achievers. (We had a security guard at the school, and that was the early-mid 1970s!) Then there were about 30 of us who were in the accelerated (back then, it was called Major Works!) classes together. About half of us were regular middle-class kids, and the other half were the "popular rich kids," who I considered the Beautiful and Charmed people.

So back to the ad contest. Our party was on the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, and the teacher told us we had to turn in our ads before school was out that day. She stressed it and repeated it over and over; no one was to come to the party with an additional ad. So I turned mine in, and at the end of the day she told me that I had the most. I was thrilled. Fifteen dollars was a HUGE amount of money to me. My folks didn't give us allowances, so having money of my own was a rare treat.

Tuesday night came and we had the party. At the appropriate time, the teacher announced the winner. . . .and it wasn't me. (Proper grammar would be "It wasn't I" but I didn't care about grammar at that point!) One of the popular rich girls won. Because she brought an ad to the party that put her over the top. And the teacher accepted it. I was devastated. I thought that if the teacher was going to go back on her word that she could have at least split it between us. Not only was it a heartbreaking moment, it demonstrated to my impressionable mind that money trumps integrity for some people. Even today, almost 35 years later, nothing makes me more frustrated than catering to the beautiful people.

After we moved to the other side of Houston, I was on the newspaper staff at my high school my junior and senior years. That was a blast. Our youth minister's wife was our teacher and one of my best friends was the head photographer. I loved going into the darkroom with him and watching him develop the pictures. (And that was ALL we did; he was like a brother!) I was the Copy Editor, which meant I got to proof everyone's stories. I was ruthless! At the end of the year, when we did the fun "Flak Awards", I got the Lizzie Borden award for chopping the stories. I also got to do a few interviews, and one of the neatest experiences was getting to interview the ABC anchor Howard K Smith when he came to speak in Houston.

I did go to most of the football games when I was in high school. This is Texas, after all! My favorite Homecoming was my senior year, when my BFF and I were dating brothers - I've mentioned before that with all the teenage angst of breaking up and getting back together, we were usually on opposite "on/off" status! But my senior year the four of us had a double date for Homecoming. The guys bought us mums - back then you ordered a real mum from a florist; you didn't make them yourself like folks do now. We didn't go to the dance - just dinner and the football game, and we had a great time!

Those are more than enough of my extracurricular memories! Link up here so we can enjoy yours!

(Update Friday morning - Mr. Linky is working. It may say "you're first" but if you click on it you'll see the links of folks who have participated. Don't know why the button itself isn't updating.)


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Jim said...

First of all, Linda, I like your Candy Striper picture. I am sure you were very assuring to the hospitalized and to the staff. :)

That was a bummer about the $15 and the award. Things like this is where kids lose their trust in adults. Too bad.

I enjoyed your prom stuff. I only went to one and that was with two buddies. We ate but I can't remember if I danced or not. I think I was a 'wall flower' at any rate.

I didn't blog about that, it would have made three things to talk about. So, insteand, and since I had missed it earlier, I did FOOD. I do hope FOOD will be okay. I answered your questions.
There were zero at Mr. Linky when I started your comment. I hate to be first again but I have to go to bed. So I will just sign in.

Cathy said...

Great pictures and great memories Linda.

Diana Ferguson said...

Love the pics!!!

sara said...

you brought back a memory for me with the safety was a HUGE deal for us too! only we got a white SP belt that went around our waist and over the had to be folded in a special way when you were done wearing it and you actually had a class on how to fold it!!!

Barbara H. said...

I wasn't on safety patrol, but I do remember it being a big deal in elementary school.

That is so sad about the ad award. It's bad enough for that to happen among peers, but when a teacher stoops so low -- I can imagine that took a long time to recover from.

The journalism sounds like a lot of fun! Great pictures both of that and the candy striper!

Lea said...

So enjoyed reading your memories today and so enjoyed participating my first "Flashback Friday." It was fun for me to think back on my school days and all of the memories (that I could remember) :o). I'm with you, can't stand how the world caters to "the beautiful people." I always think of my Mom saying, "pretty is as pretty does." Don't think that is said or practiced much today. Blessings to you!

bekahcubed said...

It sounds like your newspaper experience was a great one. I love it when friends can use their different passions to work together toward a common goal--which it sounds like you and your photographer friend were able to do as part of the newspaper staff.

Kathy said...

So many good memories that you have--except for the mean old teacher who went against her word!

Love the pictures, too.

And to think that you were one of those "patrol people" about that! (in case you don't remember, I got hauled to the office by one--for stepping on the grass, in last week's story) LOL

Kim said...

Cool beans, Linda! I have a lot of good memories of my drama experiences in high school.I don't think I'll share today, but it's fun to look back.

But I'm a weird cat I guess, because I wouldn't do that all over again for ANYTHING! Being a teenager is HARD!

bp said...

I tried to leave a comment and it messed up. Trying again....

bp said...

I was a candy striper too. We had that outfit for one or two years, then we went to a navy polo with khakit shorts or pants.

Homecoming is a big business here, huh! I am always amazed to go into the craft stores at this time of year and see all the supplies to make mums.

have a good weekend!

Kim said...

I have some not-so-great memories like the one you shared, too. Probably one of the factors in us deciding to homeschool our kids :)
I didn't get to be on safety patrol and I coveted the orange sash! LOL
So fun reading your memories!

Skoots1moM said...

my safety patrol belt was that nasty orange...and i had to go to class like Sarah to learn how to fold it...i remember being on duty when "aunt flow' came to visit me the "VERy First time" and i had to get permission to leave post while the 1st graders were letting embarassing!
I always wanted to be a candystriper...

quilly said...

I don't suppose you ever told that teacher you found her lacking in integrity? Pity. She deserved it.

I guess it is just as well I missed this Flashback anyway. I wasn't permitted much organized extra-curricular activity. I baby-sat before and after school and that meant putting kids on the bus in the morning and being at the bus stop to pick them up in the afternoon. By the time I was free of that job, the other kids had pretty much given up on me and didn't invite me to join their groups anymore, so I found another job instead of socializing.