Monday, April 19, 2010

Time Travel

My 40th high-school class reunion is next year and so recently I've found myself searching through Google and Facebook for those kids with whom I shared the happiest memories of my childhood. From the third grade until my senior year, I lived in Dallas, Texas but moved to California in 1978 after the birth of my son. I'd really not been back since.

The first person I found was Judy Bridges. Judy now goes by "Judith" or "Kate" and teaches English and drama at the Hollywood High School of the Performing Arts. She's still beautiful, but I don't know that I would have recognized her had we passed on the street. My recollection is of a willowy 18-year-old with long blond hair and John Lennon glasses. I found her on Facebook: Kate's hair is still blond, but cropped and my guess is that she wears contacts.

Since then, other classmates have contacted me with funny stories, remberances prompting me to dig out my old scrapbook. A genalogical dig into my forgotten past.

The inside cover reads:
November 8, 1969. To Donna on her 14th brithday from Gary, Donnie and Mama.
Beneath is taped the bus schedule for #54 Beverly Hills, #48 Westmoreland which confuses me as the I took the Hampton/Superior bus to school. The schedule was important enough for me to keep, but the memories were not.

There's a photograph of Patty O'Grady and Susan...Susan... I don't remember Susan's last name. Her father was a doctor and they had rabbits. Countless greeting cards for birthdays and Christmas. A card from my grandmother, grandfather and cousin Philip (who must have been living with them at the time) from August 1967 just after having my tonsils removed read:
Thursday night: Get you some ice cream that good for you. Hope you are feeling better by now. This will get 1/2 gal of cream enough for everone. Tillman felling better to night. Friday morning: It nice and cool this morning.
There was a one-dollar bill in the envelope.

The program from L.V. Stockard's 1967 Sweetheart Coronation lists Patty O'Grady as an usher along with Debra Starks. Debbie Starks died that summer from liver cancer. Her mother was our Girl Scout leader and we all called her "Starkist," a play on her last name.

There are spirit ribbons from football games and pages cut and pasted from Tiger Beat magazine about Mark Lindsay and Davie Jones, pressed flowers from mom's backyard, a lock of my hair, valentines, a red-rimmed potholder with a half-embroidered rooster, and a dance card from the Sunset High School Military Ball, February 14, 1970. The dance card is blank. My sophmore class schedule reads:

Homeroom: McCorkle
Spanish: Venable
Study Hall
PE: Ford
English: Trantham
Geometry: Watkins
Biology: Greathouse
World History: Couch

My phone number was FE78804.

There's a straw flower from David Dykeman, a carnation from Kathy Baker and the corsage from Andy Powers and the Military Ball. The Sunset Bison student directory for my senior year and more cards. Another program, this from our senior class play: Our Hearts were Young and Gay. Judy played the part of Cornelia; I was the prop manager for Act III. More cards. School newspapers. Some paper dolls from Dee Dee still in the gift wrap. And bookcovers documenting the transition of my handwriting from bubbles to script to bold print:
Donna loves #######
...sometime in 1969 the object of my affection was marks-a-lotted into oblivion for all time.

This week I've "friended" and been friended by old classmates from high school and college. Each has a fragment of a story I'd forgotten. Walt made a point about the importance of these childhood connections in that they validate our life experiences.

Debbie Starks was in my homemaking class at Stockard Junior High. Her hair was shoulder-length and dark brown and her face full of freckles. Starkissed.

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