Heading into the Hallowed High School Halls

On Amaze-ing Words Wednesdays, I share my love of all things language. On Deep-Fried Fridays, I share whatever topic seems tasty to me at the moment. However, when you come to this site, neither of those tell you what genre I write.

As I’m putting the polish on a young adult novel and gearing up to edit a middle grade novel, I thought I’d shine the spotlight on those teenage years. So for the next several Fridays, I’ll be heading into the hallowed high school halls, sharing some tales from my own teenage years, interviewing others, and taking some glimpses at the teen species of today.

High School Then

Let’s start with a preview of Julie Glover’s teenage years–long before I became wise, famous, and all that. Though I was born in West Texas, I grew up in Corpus Christi–on the Southern Gulf Coast of the Lone Star State. I went to schools in two different school districts: Tuloso-Midway and Calallen, moving between the two after my 7th grade. I attended Calallen High School from 1982 through 1986–also known as the “old days” by my children.

In the year that I entered high school:

  • Ronald Reagan was president.
  • David Letterman began hosting his Late Night show.
  • Prince William was born to Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
  • Survivor released their number one hit “Eye of the Tiger,” the theme song for Rocky III.
  • NFL football players chose to strike in mid-season for a total of 57 days (over money, of course).
  • Epcot Center opened at Disney World;
  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller album was released;
use of photo covered under Fair Use
  • And I looked like this:

My Freshman schedule included History, Algebra I, Biology, Band, and Honors English. What other classes I took, I have no idea. That year in English, we read The Odyssey (which I hated) and Romeo and Juliet (which I thought had a stupid ending but a funny scene about thumb-biting).

Since there were only about 250 people in my class, it was fairly easy to know most of them. I was not popular, but I was reasonably well-known and liked. My best friend was Diana, and she spoke both English and Spanish–introducing me to sonrisa (smile), buenas suerte (good luck), and tu eres guapo (you are handsome–a phrase that a 9th grade girl might want to know). I did encounter the usual teasing at the get-go of my Freshmen year, but it was mild and didn’t include any hazing.

Overall, the start of my high school years was pretty good.

High School Now

My son is starting his freshman year in a couple of weeks. He has FISH Camp next week, which includes orientation information and a tour of the large campus. (That would have come in very handy at my school since all of us Freshmen looked totally lost on the first day.)

When I look around at the school, things have changed in numerous ways: There are computer labs filled with Macs, a natatorium for the swimming program, a Subway and a Pizza Hut in the school cafeteria, and I definitely do not remember the 14-year-old girls looking like that (but maybe that’s my mama perspective talking). But the main features of high school remain: Core courses, extra-curricular activities, stadiums and band halls, cafeteria seating, school spirit, a trophy case filled with mementos, a herd feeling when the crowds gather, and the challenge of figuring out where you fit and how you stand out.

What do you remember most about high school? What was your school like? Have you had a chance to be in a high school in recent years? What were the differences and the similarities?

I’ll be back next week to take a closer look inside the hallowed halls of high school.

Sources: EightiesClub.com; LikeTotally80s.com

Childhood Memories…I’m Still Alive

I loved Kristen Lamb’s recent post titled I Miss Summer Vacation. As she talked about what summer vacations as a child meant to her, I thought about my own. Kristen mentions that her parents locked the sliding door when they went out to play on the Slip-N-Slide, and I responded with how my childhood sounded similar.

Which reminded me of this post from last year. I thought it was perfect to pull back out for a Deep-Fried Friday as we enter summer. Enjoy!

I grew up in the 1970’s (well, 1980’s for high school). As a mother, I have noticed that some things have changed since then – you know, besides the personal computer, internet, fashion, etc. I’m thinking specifically about safety. In addition to now locking our door every time we leave the house and talking to our children about a range of subjects that never occurred to our parents, we have a whole new set of safety rules for our kids. 

Come to think of it, by today’s standards, it’s a wonder I’m alive! Because we did some stuff that I would never encourage my kids to do today. Here are a few I recall: 

Played outside for hours without sunscreen. I don’t even remember hearing the word “sunscreen” until high school. And even then, we were far more likely to slather baby oil or Hawaiian Tropic on our bodies and lay out in our backyards, at the pool, or on the beach so we could have that sun-kissed tan. We weren’t thinking skin cancer; we were thinking of that Bain de Soleil magazine model. Remember her? I couldn’t find a photo of that browned body, but check out this 1980 Coppertone tan commercial if you want to stroll down memory lane. 

Rode my bike without a helmet. Helmets were for football, not bike-riding through the neighborhood! By the time I became a mother, there were statistics about preventable head injuries, articles on how to choose a proper helmet for your child, and doctors encouraging helmet use. Back in the 1970’s, though, not only did I ride with the wind whipping through my hair, but we happily careened down a slope at our local park we kids fondly called “Suicide Hill.”  I skinned knees, elbows, face, and more, but no skull fractures thankfully.

Drank from a water hose. Now apparently this is a no-no. But after all that bike-riding and hours without sunscreen, growing up in South Texas where temps could reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity was above 90% . . . well, thirsty! The easiest way to quench that thirst was to head to the nearest friend’s house and grab the hose. We’d take turns sucking down the warm water, thinking that we were health-conscious by not licking the spout. After all, there were others in line behind you. 

Rode in a car without a seatbelt. We had seatbelts in our car, but they were usually buried in the seat. Moreover, these were not shoulder/lap belts, only lap. And they were like airplane seatbelts, adjustable by pulling on a metal clasp. In the winter, that wasn’t a problem. But when the July heat reached the level of Hades, I was definitely willing to take my chances that we wouldn’t be hit by another vehicle over risking second-degree burns by yanking out that lap belt and strapping it over my hips. 

Ate deep-fried food. Thanks, Mom! Like many families in the South, we had a Fry Daddy, a Fry Baby, and a frying skillet. A meal served relatively often was fried chicken, fried okra and squash, and buttered corn on the cob. Or there was fried shrimp and fish, French fries, and hush puppies. Oh, man, I’m drooling just thinking of it! But I’m also imagining that my arteries were probably already clogging like rolls of toilet paper sent down the plumbing line. Where’s the Drano?! I still eat fried foods sometimes, but not nearly as often. After all, I want to outlive my cat. 

Dined in restaurants filled with second-hand smoke. Speaking of eating, I recall most dining out experiences involving my parents asking for the non-smoking section, which consisted of a few tables at the back with no barrier. Smoke filled the restaurant and wafted all around. It was common for people to finish their meals and light up back then. There were no city ordinances, no stiff social mores against such behavior. As a non-smoker myself, I think cigarettes smell bad and I don’t want my kids around a bunch of smoke. But it was the way things were back then, and I didn’t question it much.

Bought candy cigarettes. Now speaking of the smoking thing, did any of you buy candy cigarettes growing up? My sister, a friend, and I took gymnastics classes for a little while. (By the way, my sister was good at it; I stunk.) After our class, we had a little time before we headed home, so we scurried over to the convenience store and purchased candy cigarettes. We held them like mini Bette Davises, sucking on the sugary cylinders and then devouring them. For some reason, I don’t think that ever made me want an actual cigarette. And none of the three of us smoke now. But do I buy my kids candy cigarettes? No. I don’t even think you can find them now anyway. 

What do you recall doing as a child that you couldn’t imagine letting your kids do? Or doing now yourself? Do you think we are overly protective or just about right with today’s children? What are you amazed that you did and are still alive?

How Well Do You Know the 90’s?

Back in August, I asked Are You a Child of the 80’s? and included a quiz to see how well you remembered that decade. M.E. Anders, suspense novelist, asked whether I might have a pre-2000 quiz for those a bit younger than I. So here goes nothing! I give you the 90’s Quiz:

1. Who was Lorena Bobbitt?  And why should you not send her a set of knives for her birthday?

2. Did you watch the live feed of the police chasing O.J. Simpson on the Los Angeles freeway? What kind of vehicle was he in?

3. Do you recall where you were when you heard that Princess Diana had died in a car crash?

4. President Bill Clinton’s indiscretions with which White House intern led to his impeachment by the House of Representatives in 1998?

5. Did your family stockpile food and water or update their computers to handle Y2K?

6. What dance craze was spawned by a Spanish song recorded by Los Del Río?

7. To which family do the following members belong: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie?

8. Why on earth do we care about a sheep named Dolly?

9. Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, or NSync?

10. Did you ever log onto the internet from Netscape?

11. Complete the following song lyrics:  “I feel stupid and                                          .  Here we are now,                                      us.”

12. Who is this?

13. Who lived at 4 PrivetDrive, Little Whingling, Surrey, England?

14. Whose knees were attacked at the 1994 Figure Skating Championships? Which fellow ice skater was involved in covering up for the attackers?

15. Best sitcom:  Seinfeld, Friends, or Married with Children?

Bonus question: What movie is this scene from?


1. In 1993, Lorena Bobbitt severed her husband John’s man-part while he was intoxicated. Lorena was found not guilty of assault by reason of insanity brought on by her husband’s extensive domestic abuse and marital infidelities. It only took 9½ hours for doctors to surgically reattach John’s missing manhood.

2. O.J. Simpson was riding in a white Ford Bronco, driven by fellow teammate Al Cowlings, while police followed for 1¼ hours. The low-speed (35 mph) police chase attracted 95 million TV viewers and disrupted coverage of Game 5 of the NBA Finals.


3. Princess Diana was fatally wounded in an automobile crash in August 1997. Millions around the world watched her funeral on television. Wouldn’t she have been a proud mom at William and Kate’s wedding?


4. Monica Lewinsky was a White House intern who took her admiration for the POTUS too far. As for the president’s role of using his position to score with someone young enough to be his daughter, I think a lot of fathers out there would have punched him.

5. You stockpiled for Y2K? Didn’t you know that the Aztecs said all would be okay until 2012?

6. Raise your hand if you’ve done the Macarena, inspired by the song of the same name by Los Del Rio. I have!


7. The Simpsons debuted in December 1989 and is in its 23rd season. Father Homer, Mom Marge, and their three kids – Bart, Lisa, and Maggie – have been an extremely popular family. I have yet to watch an episode.



8. In 1996, Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell. She was called the “world’s most famous sheep” by Scientific American. Dolly got her name because the donor cell came from a mammary gland, and um, well, Dolly Parton. (Really, that’s the reason; you can look it up!)

9. Oddly enough, Backstreet Boys just came up on the MP3 player I’m listening to. In case you want a reminder, here you go:

10. Netscape Web Browser was popular in the 1990’s. In fact, courts later ruled that Microsoft used monopolistic practices in pushing Internet Explorer and causing the demise of Netscape. Too late, though.



 
11. Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit topped charts in 1991 and 1992 and helped usher alternative rock into the mainstream. The song included the following lyrics: I feel stupid and contagious. Here we are now, entertain us.

12. The Soup Nazi was the nickname of a soup diner’s owner from Seinfeld who demanded a specific regimen when ordering. But since his soup was delicious, everyone obliged. Well, maybe not everyone. The episode aired in 1995.


13. Harry Potter lived with the Dursleys – his aunt Petunia, uncle Vernon, and cousin Dudley – at 4 Privet Drive. Until one day, an owl delivered a letter . . .

14. Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed in the right knee in January 1994 by the ex-husband and bodyguard of fellow ice skater Tonya Harding. Nancy went on to recover and win a silver medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics. For her role in covering up the identity of the attackers, Tonya served probation, paid a fine, and was banned from future USFSA-run events.

Tonya & Nancy

15. I have seen Seinfeld, Friends, and Married with Children. I can think of more classic moments with Seinfeld than the other two. Here’s one:

Bonus: Those dinosaurs are from Jurassic Park (1993) based on Michael Crichton’s book of the same name.

So how did you do? What questions would you have added to this 90’s quiz? (Or taken away?) What do you most remember about the 1990’s?

Things I Did as a Child, But I’m Still Alive

I grew up in the 1970’s (well, 1980’s for high school).  As a mother, I have noticed that some things have changed since then – you know, besides the personal computer, internet, fashion, etc.  I’m thinking specifically about safety.  In addition to now locking our door every time we leave the house and talking to our children about a range of subjects that never occurred to our parents, we have a whole new set of safety rules for our kids. 

Come to think of it, by today’s standards, it’s a wonder I’m alive!  Because we did some stuff that I would never encourage my kids to do today.  Here are a few I recall: 

Played outside for hours without sunscreen.  I don’t even remember hearing the word “sunscreen” until high school.  And even then, we were far more likely to slather baby oil or Hawaiian Tropic on our bodies and lay out in our backyards, at the pool, or on the beach so we could have that sun-kissed tan.  We weren’t thinking skin cancer; we were thinking of that Bain de Soleil magazine model.  Remember her?  I couldn’t find a photo of that browned body, but check out this 1980 Coppertone tan commercial if you want to stroll down memory lane. 

Rode my bike without a helmet.  Helmets were for football, not bike-riding through the neighborhood!  By the time I became a mother, there were statistics about preventable head injuries, articles on how to choose a proper helmet for your child, and doctors encouraging helmet use.  Back in the 1970’s, though, not only did I ride with the wind whipping through my hair, but we happily careened down a slope at our local park we kids fondly called “Suicide Hill.”   I skinned knees, elbows, face, and more, but no skull fractures thankfully.

Drank from a water hose.  Now apparently this is a no-no.  But after all that bike-riding and hours without sunscreen, growing up in South Texas where temps could reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity was above 90% . . . well, thirsty!  The easiest way to quench that thirst was to head to the nearest friend’s house and grab the hose.  We’d take turns sucking down the warm water, thinking that we were health-conscious by not licking the spout.  After all, there were others in line behind you. 

Rode in a car without a seatbelt.  We had seatbelts in our car, but they were usually buried in the seat.  Moreover, these were not shoulder/lap belts, only lap.  And they were like airplane seatbelts, adjustable by pulling on a metal clasp.  In the winter, that wasn’t a problem.  But when the July heat reached the level of Hades, I was definitely willing to take my chances that we wouldn’t be hit by another vehicle over risking second-degree burns by yanking out that lap belt and strapping it over my hips. 

Ate deep-fried food.  Thanks, Mom!  Like many families in the South, we had a Fry Daddy, a Fry Baby, and a frying skillet.  A meal served relatively often was fried chicken, fried okra and squash, and buttered corn on the cob.  Or there was fried shrimp and fish, French fries, and hush puppies.  Oh, man, I’m drooling just thinking of it!  But I’m also imagining that my arteries were probably already clogging like rolls of toilet paper sent down the plumbing line.  Where’s the Drano?!  I still eat fried foods sometimes, but not nearly as often.  After all, I want to outlive my cat. 

Dined in restaurants filled with second-hand smoke.  Speaking of eating, I recall most dining out experiences involving my parents asking for the non-smoking section, which consisted of a few tables at the back with no barrier.  Smoke filled the restaurant and wafted all around.  It was common for people to finish their meals and light up back then.  There were no city ordinances, no stiff social mores against such behavior.  As a non-smoker myself, I think cigarettes smell bad and I don’t want my kids around a bunch of smoke.  But it was the way things were back then, and I didn’t question it much.

Bought candy cigarettes.  Now speaking of the smoking thing, did any of you buy candy cigarettes growing up?  My sister, a friend, and I took gymnastics classes for a little while.  (By the way, my sister was good at it; I stunk.)  After our class, we had a little time before we headed home, so we scurried over to the convenience store and purchased candy cigarettes.  We held them like mini Bette Davises, sucking on the sugary cylinders and then devouring them.  For some reason, I don’t think that ever made me want an actual cigarette.  And none of the three of us smoke now.  But do I buy my kids candy cigarettes?  No.  I don’t even think you can find them now anyway. 

What do you recall doing as a child that you couldn’t imagine letting your kids do?  Or doing now yourself?  Do you think we are overly protective or just about right with today’s children?  What are you amazed that you did and are still alive?  (I refrained from telling about any super-crazy stunts from my past.  Hi, Mom!  Hi, Dad!  But you are welcome to share here.)  Chime in!