Because I graduated in 1969, my 50th high school reunion is on the horizon.
I’ve seen Facebook “Calling All Classmates” announcements. Honestly, I’m only distantly connected. I spent high school not talking to most people.
I recently happened onto a friend’s video, based on yearbook photos, for the Class of 1968 reunion. I bailed halfway through. My heart simply folded at the sight of my 15-year-old face. Not to mention the reminder that several of my high school favorites had died.
Then I remembered three mysterious events. It never occurred to me before, but they must be connected.
Ours was a large public high school with lockers lining the halls, but when you became a favorite in the theater department, you were allowed to store your things in the drama teacher’s classroom closet.
A significant rite of passage.
Each day I hung my gray Edwardian wool coat, along with a paisley silk scarf, on a hook and closed the door, securing the brass knob. Then one afternoon the scarf was gone. No one knew anything about it.
And there was this. In art class, I developed a fondness for painting city street scenes. Romantic that I was, I believed I would eventually live in Manhattan with a career in publishing. Or I’d be a Greenwich Village poet. The teacher suggested I study French painter Maurice Utrillo. He chose one of my pieces for the art show display, hanging it in a locked glass case at the cafeteria entrance. Then one afternoon it was gone. He had no idea how it happened.
And this. For the prom, no boy asked me. During this era, no one went without a date. A group of friends attending was unacceptable. The night was about starry-eyed couples–one boy and one girl. The boys I adored took other girls. But late into the loneliest night of my teenaged life, the kitchen phone rang. I answered, but no one spoke, no matter how many times I said, “Hello.” All I could hear was the noisy prom background and Ricky Nelson’s “Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain.”
For her to steal my heart away when she don’t care.
I can’t love another when my heart’s somewhere far away.
Looking for a brand new start.
But little does she know that when she left that day
Along with her she took my heart.”