Thursday, May 22, 2014

As We Go On, We Remember...

Yes, another song lyric lead in...does anyone remember that one?  It's "Graduation (Friends Forever)", a pop radio hit by Vitamin C, aka Colleen Fitzpatrick.  She had a few popular songs in the late 90s and early 2000s which were my prime radio listening years before Napster and file sharing came along an stole me away from crappy pop radio forever.  "Graduation" was released just for that, and was sang by many high school choirs and used as recessionals all over as weepy girls in graduation robes dabbed their eyes and hugged their friends. 

This all comes to mind because today is the last day of school in Bismarck and our neighbor kid (the only kid in the cul de sac besides our kids) is graduating this weekend.  All of a sudden, I can feel that old feeling in the atmosphere.  It is the smell of fresh air in the school because all the windows are opened (except for a 90s era addition, my school didn't have A.C.), the hollow sound of lockers as books get returned and tattered folders and notebooks are thrown in the trash one by one, the absence of the track and baseball teams in the afternoons as they went off to games and meets and the sound of the band finishing up the year by practicing "Pomp and Circumstance", their last song of the year. 

Although graduation was a nostalgic event for me, I would be lying if I said I was sad, emotional, or regretting the end of school.  What was in front of me that spring was nothing but good things and optimism.  In the short term, I faced a summer of freedom from constant basketball and volleyball summer leagues and open gyms and camps.  All I had to worry about was my jobs and my work was babysitting and lifeguarding, both of which were things I looked forward to every summer.  Also, although I was not a drinker in high school, being 18 and out of school and done with activities meant that I felt like I could relax and occasionally join in the fun that many of my classmates had been engaging in for several years, some since middle school!  In the long term was NDSU and all the promise it held.  I just knew I belonged there and I could barely wait to get there and live in a dorm room and take classes of my choosing.  I imagined Greek life and the fun and lifelong friends it meant based on the stories my parents told and the visits to the old houses at homecoming they brought us to.  I remember waking up the Monday morning after graduation, slightly hungover but invigorated, on the couch in the living room since all six bedrooms in the house were filled with relatives who wanted to go to bed before 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. or whatever time I got home was and feeling so free and like my whole life was in front of me.  I would love to feel that feeling again but I think it was a one time thing because you only graduation from high school once!

There I am, ready to blow that popcorn stand!

At our school, the seniors picked the colors for the graduation instead of wearing the school colors by default.  It is still that way.  It kind of became a nonsensical and rather embarrassing display of whatever colors were trendy at the time (I know I saw a few hunter green and maroon classes in the 90s!) or just a statement of individuality of the class as each tried to be more ridiculous than the last.  Observe the class of 2001's choice of orange and purple.  Can you hear the collective groans of our moms as they imagined having to decorate our graduation parties with orange? 
And for good measure...I've mocked this one before...a classic 2001 senior photo including Doc Martin sandals with socks!  Gym socks!

I'm sure all the people we invited to my graduation party loved receiving this gem tucked into the old style gilded Jostens invitations.  Poor photography and Shutterfly stole their market for overpriced, unoriginal but elegant graduation announcements. This photo would almost lead a person to believe that I was good at basketball and volleyball.  Hahahaha. 

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