Monday, May 3, 2010


Indeed, High School was an assembly of many young teenagers on the road to discovery. Discovery of their own image and value, of new friendships, of an identity.

We started out pranksters, giggling and rebellious! We seven weren’t the only pranksters, half the class of 42 students were the same. And I was not immune to finding many strange things in my desk and having a ‘whoopee’ cushion slipped on my seat as I hurried in late one morning. That one even brought a smile to our ‘stone faced’ teache’s face. We were so immature; my grandson toyed with such a cushion for a few weeks when he was five and then no longer found it funny; but our generation did not have the diversions of today’s youngsters. After several detentions to many students our vice-principal addressed the class on its immature behaviour andl we got down to brass tacks and work.

And it was work. A student had to pass all subjects; just one failure meant you repeated the entire year. The only work problem I had was the maintenance of workbooks. I had a photographic memory and could read a textbook the night before an examination and ace it the next day. But neat, tidy notebooks, forget it! Solved this problem with the co-operation of my Scottish friend. She could study forever and never pass an examination… she would update my notebooks and I slipped her the answers during examinations; we always positioned ourselves opposite each other in examination rooms…and we both passed!

Leaving pranks behind us we found new ways to expend our energy and expand our horizons. There were intramural sports events, school football games and dancing. Socially we were like fuzzy caterpillars emerging from a cocoon…..all awkward and bumbling. Preparations for the first Grades 9/10 autumn dance was in full swing. And…..I had saved enough to buy a pair of those wedge heel shoes I so admired. A friend and I both purchased a pair. We walked the long distance to the school auditorium for the dance; by the time we arrived we both had blisters on our feet.  The boys looked so grand in their dress trousers and the newest for young men 'pink' shirts and blazers!  Charcoal and pink was the ultimate dress code for young men.....didn't last very long.  The girls looking their prettiest; so well groomed and bright.  Exactly what we were....bright, clean faced youngsters tip toeing on new ground!

Here we were, so excited, the room was dimmed, a school band on stage provided the music! Such a magical night. However….the boys were all lined up on one side of the room, the girls lined on the opposite side. Very few grade 9’rs danced that evening. A fellow may make a tentative approach and with his buddies snickering behind him would turn and retreat. “Girl’s Choice” saw a few more dancers on the floor….but very few! The dance was over before 10 p.m. and my friend and I walked home shoeless, limping all the way with pulsating feet! And with a new found discovery ….. we were not yet socially accepted butterflies.

During Grade 10 I was allowed to attend Friday evening dances at the Dante Club. A dance organized for the teenagers in town. Strictly monitored, no alcoholic beverages allowed (official drinking age at that time was 21) and if found the person was evicted and not allowed access ever again. Dutifully a group of us girls would pay our 25 cents admission week after week; and stand nicely like the wall flowers we were from 7:30 until 10:00 ….when we would leave convincing each other we had a good time…..even though no one had asked us to dance! But the music provided by the student orchestra was good!

By Grade 11 many boys and girls were dating and were seen arm in arm about town. I left school in Grade 11 and that is a story for another day.

Description of the painting used here can be read in my other blog:-
Surmounted - a Painting Pothole

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