We are proud to be running "Tower of Memories", a continuing series of short stories about Fairview High School written through the creative eyes of our classmate Tom Kender. His stories are entertaining and they will surely put a smile on your face. Thank-you Tom for allowing us to use the stories on the class site. You may log onto Tom's blog "I read the news today, oh boy" at: http://ireadthenews.blogspot.com or email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org for full posting privileges or to comment.
This is our story. Yours and mine.
A look back in time at Fairview High School in the 60's when our biggest worry in life was finding a date for the weekend. We survived the death of a popular President and the Vietnam War loomed in front of us but we had The Beatles, The Stones and 66' Mustangs. Add your stories along with mine and over the next months, as I compile our history, we will laugh and cry together.
1st in the series of stories
1st Day, 1st Week . . . 1st Detention
by Tom Kender, March 6, 2009
It didn't take me long to get off on the wrong foot after I entered the sacred halls of Fairview High pursuing a higher education. I wasn't a bad kid, I just made bad decisions.
I didn't have the pedigree of going to one of the several public schools that funneled into Fairview....I was one of those 'catholic" boys, whose parents knew they weren't about to throw good money after bad to further my education at the catholic high school....so off I went to seek a new reputation at Fairview.
Although I had an older brother, Rick, who was a senior there, I was Persona non Grata as far as he was concerned. I mean I couldn't even get a ride in the morning or in the afternoon with him....so I had to find my own way.
The kids I had hung out with prior to FHS for the most part were a year or two older than me. No doubt they had trouble written all over them.
So, here we are....my freshman year and only one week into the semester and I am "challenged" to skip school that day....well, maybe not challenged but you know, kinda following the crowd.
I don't think I was quite versed on the technical aspects of skipping school. I think the procedure that had been allegedly used successfully by my peers had something to do with calling into the school's Attendance Office and saying you were home sick and your parents would call later.
It sounded good at the time, heck, what did I know.
After making the call secretly from our one telephone in the kitchen, I headed out for school but then detoured for our rendezvous at Bobby's house. We really didn't have any plans made for the rest of the day all we knew was....yeah, we're skippin' school!
It wasn't long though maybe about an hour...we had been sittin' in his garage, smoking our Lucky Strikes and me thinking...."hey, I can really dig high school".
About that time we hear a car pull up and we stomp out our cigs, eat a couple of sen-sens and who walks into the garage....MY MOM. Oh man, am I in trouble.
After an endless lecture to all of us I'm dragged, well maybe pushed a little into her car and driven to what would be one of my first of many visits to see Mr. Barger.
Three days detention! Not bad I think....but the worst was yet to come......I had become a marked man....the scarlet A would hang around my neck as a troublemaker and only until a couple of years later would I become Don Barger's fair-haired boy....
Next up.......Hangin' across the street at the Mascot
2nd in the series of stories
Hangin' at the Mascot
by Tom Kender, March 8, 2009
As in many parts of the world, we had our own caste system at the Mascot, a revered institution for snacking, eating lunch, smoking and the most important of all, socializing. Occasionally it would be the arena for settling arguments as in "I'll whip your butt at the Mascot, right after school to settle this".
Naturally, seniors ruled the entire area, the juniors waiting in line to rise to their seat in power remained subservient yet an occasional stag would challenge for superiority. The sophomores, fresh from their rise from the lowest of lows would wander aimlessly in search of their rank. And the poor freshmen, who through no fault of their own other than being the designated brunt of all jokes would look with forlorn eyes hoping to be recognized even if it meant ridicule. Nothing was ever brutal....but everyone had their place.
The highest honor of all belonged to whomever had secured a table within the walls of the tiny clapboard building. French fries always seemed to be the meal of the day...everyday. Lord help you if you took your eyes off of your plate for even a second as everyone would devour your meal like starving buzzards on a deer carcass.
The Mascot was either packed to capacity and then some, or it was closed. I doubt the fire codes were being adhered to and I know the health codes ......well, I'll allow you to imagine if it was even inspected.
But it was our place to escape, even if for only a short time at lunch to catch up on the news of the day, have a smoke or gulp down a coke and fries.
After school was over for the day, crowds would mingle for awhile, sometimes waiting to catch a ride with the lucky individual who had their own car. A little shoving and pushing and "guy" things would happen when the testosterone levels were at their highest. Dates would be made for the weekend.
And then we would begin to peel away like layers of an onion as we either went to work at after-school jobs, or made our way to the practice fields, or contemplated the long walk home or simply stood outside until the last person left, afraid that something might be missed that would be the topic of the following day's discussion.
A few of us began a routine of going to Dave Todd's house which was just around the block and slugging down a few more cokes and discussing even further the events that had happened and who was dating who and did someone say if they liked me or not......Oh yes girls, we guys did the same thing too! I guess this has now been replaced by texting and twittering. Each individual in their own singular world chatting back and forth without the pleasure of someone knocking the books out of your arms or giving you a wedgee while your hands balanced your coke and fries........Man, those were the days....not the wedgees....the Mascot!
Up next: How in the world did I get placed in advanced Biology?
3rd in the series of stories
As I had said previously in 1st Detention, I had learned my ABC's at a catholic grade school. It's well known that parochial schools do turn out better than average students, well, at least it's well known to the parochials??? Anyway..
4th in the series of stories
I'm thinking I should have titled this "Most Memorable Teachers" but we'll leave it like this.
5th in the series of stories
If you ever had the chance to take Dorothy Herbst's English class, or maybe it was called Humanities or something like that...the above sentence still stands in your mind.
I had a sole purpose or maybe a soul purpose in enrolling in Ms. Herbst class. ..To go to New York City...but I'll leave that story for a later date because I really need to pay her a much-deserved due.
I had already wasted 3 years of idiocracy in my antics at Fairview....and yes, if I had to do it all over again, I would have certainly studied harder, became more involved in other activities like theater, or art......but then I guess I wouldn't be what I am today....and to some, who believe in me, that's not so bad. But, I had a chance to maybe find my creativity with Dorothy and I blew it. She so much loved what she did. She lived in the moment and could look into one's eyes and see that beautiful sculpture that lay enclosed in a block of marble and I just let her down.