This week marks the end of a long journey for many of our high school youths as they don cap and gown to walk down aisles to the stirring strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" at their high school graduations.
I can't help but hum and sing the song, "We'll Have These Moments to Remember" and take a walk down memory lane back to my own high school days.
First kiss? Felt like an octopus's tentacle's suction cup. Wasn't so eager for the second one.
First F? Chemistry class. Mr. Costenbader saying, "Maybe you should take the watered-down Mickey Mouse Physics class."
Most embarrassing moment? Learning how babies are made in biology class and so appalled that I yelled aloud, "Oh my God! I'll never do that!"
Best moment? Being nominated for Homecoming Queen and winning the Arion Award.
My favorite memories are of the football games. As a member of the Color guard, I went to every game, home and away. Before and during the games, we were so hyped up and we were hoarse for days.
There isn't anything that can beat a Saturday afternoon high school football game being played outside in an amazing sunny show of autumn color.
Freshman year, last game of the season against rivals Pocono Mountain, on their home turf. It had rained and snowed and by half time, the field was a muddy, rutty mess! But the band went out there and gave the best performance it could. As the color guard, it's a very serious privilege to carry our flags but when Marlette's shoe got sucked right off her foot in the mud and stayed there, it was too much. I can't tell you who won the game that day, but I'll never forget how we all got the giggles and by the time we left the field, we were hysterical.
At Pleasant Valley, it was the tradition that the Junior class put on the Junior-Senior prom. The year I was a junior, we put on the best prom ever! We spared no expense as we decorated the high school gym and transformed it into a tropical paradise. It was beautiful! We draped the whole ceiling (no small feat) with blue crepe paper to represent a nighttime sky complete with stars. The seniors loved it so much they asked that their graduation ceremony be held in the gym that year with the nighttime sky still in tact.
We even had a pond with a bridge. Which evidently had a leak. The administration wasn't too happy about replacing part of the wood gym floor because it had warped but hey! We gave that school a very memorable Junior-Senior prom.
There's the famous Apple-Through-The-Cafeteria-Window episode when we all knew who did it but wouldn't rat on him when the principal came down to ream us out. He told us we couldn't go to class until he knew who was responsible. Duh. Like who wouldn't keep their trap shut in favor of missing classes? The next time he came in and asked the guilty party to come to his office within the next five minutes, as a show of support, the whole junior and senior classes got up and started marching down to the principal's office. We felt empowered by our stand against tyranny and injustice!
He met us half-way and simply pointed his finger back to the cafeteria. As we settled down, he delivered the ultimatum that the seniors would not be allowed to go on their class trip to Washington, D.C. if the guilty person did not come forward. Well, that one got all the senior girls crying and finally Scott Bush turned himself in.
But for a moment, we 16 and 17-year-olds struck out against the establishment. The Man. Oh yeah, we felt coooooool. Uh huh.
You know how there's always one boy in your class that is THE heart-throb? The one that treats you like a good friend and you know you'll never ever be his girl, but you still love him anyway?
Picture this: Day before graduation. We seniors are in the auditorium getting ready to "practice" for the big ceremony. The upright piano is in place. Paul sits down and begins to tickle the ivories. Linda decides to have one last go at winning his heart. She climbs up on the top of the piano, stretches out and strikes her best seductress Marlene Dietrich pose and in her most sultry Marlene Dietrich "See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have" voice, begins to sing their class song. Losing her balance, she rolls off the piano and lands on the keyboard and into his lap. Laughing his head off, the heart-throb helps her to her feet and says, "You're such a cute kid" and walks off.
You know what our class song was that I was singing? "The Impossible Dream."
Do you think?
It's been 43 years since my high school graduation. There are moments as clear as day. Others are just a blur. And should remain so.
My advice to 2011 graduates would be to embrace the future with optimism and keep your sense of humor, because you're going to need it!
And in the words of The Four Lads ...
"Though summer turns to winter,
And the present disappears,
The laughter we were glad to share,
Will echo through the years.
When other nights and other days,
May find us gone our separate ways,
We will have these moments to remember."