Trembling up on stage, I reluctantly go out and have trusty Bob Kehew by my side… Well…it’s only 6th grade and Spring Chorus time, but it set my early years in high school (remember when high school started in 7th grade? You passed SENIORS in the hallway…but I digress). Yes, Bob and I sang the duet “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” from the musical Annie Get Your Gun. In the same concert Kitty Storch sang the solo “Where is Love?” from Oliver. She was terrific and had always been my best friend. We have many memories, including summer Girl Scout camp (Kitty - remember Rainmaker? Was it her that killed the rattlesnake? And Danny the kitchen guy who always gave us extra bags of those doughy white rolls that we slathered with butter, instead of eating good food?)
While nervous at the start, I never really saw anyone behind the lights, so I just had fun. I think Bob thought (and probably still does) that I was a lunatic. Shortly after the concert, I got a call from Meg Brennan. I had never met her – she went to Lincoln (very far away). She called to let me know that Tim Gallagher saw me in the concert and liked me. I had no idea who he was, but found out he was on the same baseball team as Corey Gallaher (the purple team – name?), so I went to see them. Later that summer, I saw him at the swimming pool and took some pictures – one of which I blew up into a poster. He was extremely shy and blushed at everything. Was never quite sure how really interested in me, but it put me in touch with a really terrific and very fun group of girls in junior high that had come from Lincoln. We ran as a pack and had a ton of fun… Meg Brennan, Patty Armstrong, Cathy Croft (remember the time we played hookie and hung at Cathy’s house and played pool? Her house had an elevator!!), Maura Cowan (Maura taught me a ton and was one of the smartest people I knew!), Vicki Revene, etc. The dances at the Presbyterian church…”Smoke on the Water” – the clear favourite - and “suicides” – the top ½ inch of every hard liquor bottle in your parents cupboard (and we actually drank the stuff…). I couldn’t ever bring any because my parent’s bottles had dust on them…
I had amazing teachers…but I had always had amazing teachers (ok…Miss Pheasant, whiskers and all, and Mrs Polk with the dreaded wig – were questionable…”Boo!! Radley – does anyone remember that?). On the whole, my teachers throughout 1-12 were incredible. If I could find a school with teachers like that, I would move there and put my kids in immediately. (Their current school outside of London comes close – 10-14 kids/class, they reinforce values as well as teach the subjects incredibly well, etc, etc ) Miss Torres, Miss Witmer, Miss McHale, Mr. Frankfurt, Mr. Walton, Mr. Boyer and Mr. Schmelzle – who was the reason I went into engineering. They taught because they really wanted to teach us something… Ok…then there was Mr. Kimmel who always put the baby chicks in the boa constrictor’s cage at the beginning of the class, to gross all the girls out, as the peep, peep, peep’s died out to silence, as the class wore on… The Wonder Years – I loved that show, it felt so real.
My later friendship with folks in the “F” and “G” sections started my friendships with Joe Gabuzda and “Winks” Sechrist – many times giving advice on how to win Sue Sajer over best… I don’t think she ever realised just how many guys were “pining” over her. Joe also thought I was a lunatic (as I thought he was, especially after he showed me a picture of himself at 6 years old – smiling, while crossing the leads of a voltmeter!). He was a lifelong friend and I miss him very much and think of him often. He was amazing.
The fun antics that we got into with Sue Cook, Tami Ryder, Sue Sajer, Meg Brennan, Anne Deeter, etc, etc – harmless, fun pranks like our ride to Northern’s football field – I don’t even remember what we did (TP’d it or something), but I remember our hearts racing, but then the laughter, camaraderie and just plain fun.
And who wouldn’t remember Elmo – leader of the pack, an individual to the end…who else would wear a quilt and play the bagpipes in the halls? Who else would wear a Santa hat around to all his classes during the Christmas season? Who else would show us that you could be a leader and cause driven, while still holding onto the child in all of us and able to see thing’s through a child’s wondrous eyes at Christmas?
And Frans Barends…I got to know Frans in high school, but much better later. He has endured my mid-night calls (or later). The ups and downs in my life… And he has visited me and later, me and my family, at every place in the world I have ever lived (ok Frans…you did miss Japan!). Ok…I have to promise my Boursin omelettes with asparagus, butter rum cake with toasted pecans and a few other cooking favorites… You’re the best Frans!