Friday, June 12, 2015

Memories of Friends and Kisses

Like many people, my experiences in junior high were anything but pleasant. As if the awkward pre- and early-teen years aren't bad enough, I entered the hallowed halls of Midvale Junior High School in 1977, so I looked like this:
To give you an idea of the horror, on the 2nd or 3rd day of gym, I learned that one of the coaches had grown up with my dad. He informed me that growing up, "they" had called Dad, "Ribs" and my Uncle Chris, "Ribs, Jr."  Wouldn't it be a gas if he got the kids to call me, "Ribs, III?" Thankfully, my protests to the contrary worked.

Recently, I learned that the school is being demolished to make way for a new, modern school.
Lately, when I'm at my parents, I've taken my dog, Skeelo, to the school so he can run around. As I walked around the grounds, I tried to conjure up any positive memories of my two years there. I could only come up with meeting my buddies Danny and Greg, with whom I'm still friends nearly 40 years later.
Danny and I, grayer but still friends.
Then, after further reflection, I remembered two very significant experiences that took place at the school: I had my first kisses there.

The first was with a girl. She and I were both in the school's production of Carousel. During one rehearsal, we were in the hallway chatting, when she leaned in and kissed me. Then, seen by her friends, pushed me away and admonished me to never do that again.

The second was with a boy. By then I had left the hallowed halls and was already in high school. The young man and I frequently ran around the track circling the school's sports field. One summer evening, as we did our cool down lap, we stopped for a moment, and he took my head in his hands, leaned in and kissed me. It was magical.

No, I won't miss the old school. However, I'm glad I was finally able to salvage some fond memories - lifelong friends and first kisses.