Sunday, February 5, 2012

Things We Don't Consider in High School

This weekend I went back to my high school for a basketball tournament. It looked the same...but different. You know what I mean? The furniture had been changed. A huge television replaced the two tiny TV's from when we hung out in the commons. The booth where we ate lunch everyday had disappeared and a Coke machine took its place.

As I watched my kids play basketball and cheer on the same gym floor where I performed countless dance routines, memories bombarded me, most of them good.

It wasn't until I headed to the bathrooms that everything just kind of came together in one of those weird moments. The bathrooms were exactly the same.

How many times had I hung out with my girlfriends in there? How many times had we giggled and gossiped and wasted time in that room? We applied lipstick, checked our hair, talked about boys, talked about lunch, other girls, homework, you name it! And here I was, with roots that needed touching up and a purse full of "mom" stuff.

I never--not once--considered I would someday bring my own children back to the school where I spent my teenage years! My future was always kind of fabulous and murky in my head, like a glossy magazine photo shoot. Not quite grounded in reality.

But I washed my hands and looked in the mirror where years ago I'd shown up in a perm, huge bangs, and questionable make-up choices, and I smiled. If I would have been able to see in the future to  now, I know I would have been blown away. My life turned out just the way it was supposed to.

Do memories pounce on you when you revisit old landmarks? Are you ever surprised at where life has taken you?

Have a great Monday!


  1. OMG, I'll bet that was so wild! And I can totally relate to the perm, huge bangs, and questionable make-up.

    I haven't been back to my high school or middle school in decades. But I have a feeling it would all feel weird yet familiar.

  2. Not only when I visit old places, but when I gather with those old friends. I'm having a girls only weekend soon with my best friends from high school. I can not wait, kinda makes me feel 16 again, only better:)

  3. This past fall, a friend and I walked around the town that we grew up in. It was such a walk down memory lane!

    We walked "uptown" to where the sports shop, music store, jewelers, pharmacy, dime store - yes, I said dime store, and stationary store used to be. I spent many Saturday mornings uptown - then stopping for onion rings at the local hometown restaurant before heading home.

    My friend and I walked by the houses we grew up in. Going around my old block where I used to know every crack in the sidewalk got me emotional. It had changed. We also stopped in the church that we went to every Sunday. The inside of the church had been updated, but the pews were the very same ones we sat on so long ago. It smelled the same.

    I understand how you felt looking in that mirror, Jill.

    My life turned out just how it was supposed to...and I've come a long way since I lived in that white house by the big blue water tower bearing the name of our town...which was now also gone.

    Loved your post.

  4. I haven't been back to my high school since I graduated. I plan to return after my debut novel is released and donate a copy to the school library. I'm sure I'll be flooded with memories when I do.

  5. Whenever we go back to visit my parents, as we drive through the town I start telling my littles: "This is where Mamma went to work every day with Grandpa. This is where Mamma and Oma both ended up going for college. This is the library where Mamma spent all her lunch hours. This is the bridge Mamma shivered across to get to work every time her car refused to start at college because it was so cold out!"

    It is so very weird to go back to where you were a kid. But fun, too!

  6. YES! Every time I step inside my high school gym or drive by my childhood home. Memories of all kinds! Thankfully, mostly good ones.

  7. What a fun walk down memory lane. Until a few years ago my kids went to the same high school I'd gone to, only the district had built a new HS and the old building was the new JHS. It was still fun to have the memories come flooding back, both good and bad, whenever we went to an event. Part of it is very old, with the cool, really tall windows and dark woodwork.

  8. Loved this post, Jill!

    Our son attended my college alma mater and will soon be walking the same aisle that I once did when he receives his diploma. Life goes full circle sometimes, doesn't it?

    Oh, and I loved the part about looking in the mirror and remembering your huge bangs and perm. Ahhh...our hair was such a source of teen angst back then. :)

  9. I know exactly what you mean. Every time I drive by my old HS, it seems like the 4 years I spent there still echo inside those walls. Its almost another world. And then I see the students and cant believe how young they are. I'm certain someone bused over a bunch of junior highers and then it hits me that I'm just getting older ;) Time flies!

  10. Julie: I look at many of today's high-schoolers and I only WISH I could have been that put together back in the day! They know something I didn't... :)

    Kara: You are going to have sooo much fun! There's nothing like giggling with girlfriends!

    Loree: Oh, I know all about the dime store! I felt like I was right there walking with you. I grew up in the country, and every time I drive by my old house, the nooks and crannys of the woods and the house flood back. Love it!

    Keli: It's pretty amazing how just being in the school brought back so much. I think buildings are memory keepers! And I think it's really cool of you to be going back to donate your book. :)

    Louise: That is soooo sweet! Now your kids will have all of these great stories to pass down. :)

    Katie: Yes! I'm blessed with good memories too. It's sweet to remember back when!

    Ayda: At least they didn't tear the old school down, right? I love those old buildings. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  11. Cynthia: Oh how wonderful!! Congratulations to your son! And I'm sure we could swap scary pictures over who had worse hair! Ha!

    Joanne: I know! I think the walls absorb our past and spit it back at us when we stop by. And those kids are getting younger and younger. Seriously, they must be!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  12. Oh, high school...I haven't been back to mine in more years than I care to count! But you're right - those memories come back at the strangest times. Glad you got to take a walk down memory lane!!

  13. Timely post. I returned to my high school on Friday for career day. I know the girls (I went to an all-girl high school) looked at me like I was an old lady. Yet, it only seemed like yesterday that I wore that uniform and sat in those seats. Updates had been made, but the halls and lockers looked the same ~ and the building even smelled the same. :) Nothing like a trip back through time.

  14. In my family, the elder generation is almost gone or like my parents in a nursing home. Recently, it occurred to me that I'm now the elder generation. When the heck did that happen!

  15. Yes, every time I go home to Ohio, it's like I pick up where I left off. I drive by my old high school and college, thinking about the friends I had then, what music I was into, what I was wearing. It's highly nostalgic. Sometimes, a bit painful, because you get that "Where are they now" feeling.

    It's good to hear that your life turned out better than anything you could have planned in high school, Jill :-)

  16. What a cute story. Yes it would be the bathroom where everything becomes "real." I know I used to fly in and out at my school because we only had a few minutes between classes. So flying is my memory.

    I'm glad things turned out the way you wanted. Me too, sort of.

  17. I haven't stepped foot in my high school since graduating. It's also states away.

    Once I took my BFF by to show her. She didn't believe the little school in a farming community only had one hall! I proved her wrong but we didn't get to go in.

    I have a funny story about that, I'll have to tell you sometime. LOL

  18. I haven't been back in my high school since graduation, either, but there are so many things I wish I'd appreciated that I hadn't, and so many things I wish I hadn't fixated on. It's amazing how much age and maturity change your outlook.

  19. Kristi: Oh, was it ever a walk! In fact, it's motivated me to get back on the treadmill. :)

    Alison: Yes, I know that "old lady" stare well. Yet, I feel so young inside! If those girls only knew... ;)

    CJ: We ARE the older generation--aaah!!! Scary!!

    Brandi: Don't you love how music plops you right back? Good times!

    Nancy: Ha! We were lucky in that we spent half our lunch hour in there--or at least it felt that way. ;)

    Jessica P: Why do I have a feeling it involves breaking and entering? :) Ha!

    Stacy: I know. I wish I would have been a little less spazzy, a little more encouraging and patient, and a LOT more stylish!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  20. Great post, Jill. It's fun to see how others view their past, when it turns up again.

    You started things rolling in my head and I felt the same mix of emotions that appear anytime I dip back into those years. I often say, "I'm every age I ever was" and feel everything from back there is still with me today, the same but different. (And I know that's a cop-out of an explanation. It's just too difficult to explain.LOL)

  21. What an awesome experience. It's hard to go home, but it's scary to go back to your school and remember what life was like way back then.

    I'm so glad life turned out for you. I've been very fortunate as well. It's not exactly as I envisioned, but better in many ways.

    Great post!

  22. So cool to relive to places like trigger memories. I bet it was one of those "so nice to be back, so nice to be out of here" kind of moments. LOL


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