Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Identity - High School Student

Some of the biggest turning points in my life were about to unfold. High school! Wow! I was going to be a new me….no more insecurities. I was now working all summer and every Saturday and earning my own money! What I was about to learn scholastically would change my life! Of this I was certain. Sooooo very certain….I merrily sailed along on a high, oblivious to any stumbling blocks!

The first of the stumbling blocks was my selected course of studies. Grade eight teachers, high school counselors, every one talked to my parents to enroll me in the academic strain with thoughts of further education after high school. My parents could not see their way clear to endorse this avenue financially. Scholarships were very limited then and financially they saw no future for me in academic studies. . So commercial course it was; this would allow me to procure a valued position. Gone were my aspirations of becoming a lawyer or archaeologist, but that was all right too!

I knew from the get-go that artist was out and never approached but once. After all artists lived, heavens knew where in California, went barefoot and rattled tambourines on street corners while begging! Weren’t they called ‘beatnicks’? Such was the view of producing artists. Art; actually ‘painting’ was for little old ladies once they became grandmothers!

I could hardly contain myself and was so anxious to go shopping with my earned money. The day came when mom and I went shopping for my new high school wardrobe. It took some convincing but she finally agreed to allow me to wear the new straight style skirts with a ‘kick pleat’ at the back….and the new ‘bat wing’ style tops. The sleeves really did look like bat wings , the fabric cut like a kite. Looking back, they were truly ugly but oh so fashionable.And shopping for school supplies! How exciting. Buying papers, rulers, pens, inks….and a bright red, real crocodile leather binder. Zippered round with pockets inside. I was ready! Couldn’t wait!

I still had to wear my regular laced oxford shoes. The new ‘wedge shaped heels were definitely out. But that was fine; it really was a long walk to school….more like a quick run at half an hour.

My friend’s father drove us to school the first morning of our exciting journey. So many students in one school; we were overwhelmed and somewhat intimidated by so many new faces. We found our home room and sat with joy and trepidation waiting for teacher and first assembly. And, discovered much to our chagrin….school was still school with rules of conduct and decorum diligently imposed. A bit of a knock to the wind in our sails; but alright, nothing we couldn’t live with.

Teachers still stood outside home rooms at first bell and between classroom changes; conducting hallway traffic. Orderly, single file, down right hand side of hallways; no walking in centre of halls. We discovered gender segregation ….. very much to our disappointment. Commercial courses were strictly female….technical were strictly male…..and never the twain should meet. Commercial hall…..was at this end… hall……way, way, way down at the other end of the school. Academic studies were in the middle and were mixed gender. Doesn’t something sound out of whack here?

Finally we met our principal and vice-principal in first year school assembly. One definitely did not want to meet either personally. We were informed of more ‘rules’. For instance any ‘boy’ (because girls were not expected to do this) caught smoking…..across the road from the school; INSIDE the pharmacy soda bar would be expelled from school, no questions asked, for a week. Any girl caught lolling about the pharmacy would be up on reproach and parents would be called in. Lateness to any class would result in detention….and on it went.

Still we were undaunted. It was the beginning of the first day of the rest of our lives! We were still star struck!

Blog about this painting can be found:-Copper Daze

1 comment:

  1. I am laughing at this today Ruby. I remember my wife taking my daughter for new shoes. She had spent ages telling how she looked grown up in them and how they really looked good. She came home and showed me them I said wow nice sensible shoes. She never ever wore them again they went to a chrity shop.