So it’s nearing the end of another school year, and Vivi couldn’t be happier. She hasn’t had the easiest first year of school, and she’s basically counting down the days until summer vacation. And to that, I say: who is this child, and why does she not have any of my school-loving genetics?
Anyway, with the end of school comes a few standard things:
- End of year party – cue the Food City cupcakes with the mountains of neon frosting that’s made of…uh…sugar? And…maybe shortening? I don’t know.
I don’t care what you’re made of. Get in my mouth.
- End of year gathering of papers. We’re starting to get more and more of Vivi’s drawings/musings home each day. I worry for the future of our forests.
- The final day – the fond farewell to school for two whole months. TWO WHOLE MONTHS!
Back when I was a kid in elementary school, we had yearbooks for two years: grade 2 and grade 8. I have no idea why we had a grade 2 yearbook, but whatever. It’s adorable, and Mrs. Lee was a pro for making 7-year-olds contribute. Grade 8 was more self-explanatory (we were graduating and going to HIGH SCHOOL, after all), but apparently not to Karl.
I was cleaning out the room of doom in the basement (it’s just boxes and boxes of my life/Karl’s life. So much stuff.) and I found my grade 8 yearbook. I was super-excited! Karl, on the other hand, wasn’t sure what to make of it. His exact words were: “They black-and-white photocopied each entry and put them in a duo tang?”
And I said, “Dude, how many times I gotta tell you? I GREW UP IN THE ‘HOOD!” and then Karl commented on the Starbucks ball cap I was wearing (also found in the room of doom) and I said, “I got it for running in a marathon.” And he said, “A marathon? How many kilometres?” And I said, “Five.” And he said, “That’s not a marathon. And also? No chance you ran.” And I said, “Fine, I walked.” And he said, “And you hit the wall at what, one kilometre?” And I was all “I got the hat, didn’t I?” And he was all, “Everyone got one, didn’t they. Yeah, they did.” This is a picture of that interaction:
Whatever, Karl. Your jealousy is showing.
Ahem. Back to the duo tang yearbook. Be prepared, kiddos. It’s quite the…uh…trip back in time… to 1994, to be exact. (To those who read this blog who are actually IN the yearbook, I promise to only put the good stuff you had in your yearbook entries. Nothing embarrassing. If there is something embarrassing, I promise not to attribute it to anyone.)
So the first thing to note is that everyone’s entry had to follow a basic format: your dream job, your probable job (keep those Malvern kids’ hopes low and attainable!), who you liked, most embarrassing moment, your style, etc. Everyone else printed or wrote or typed their entries in a normal-size, easy-to-read font.
Except yours truly.
I had too much to say and only one final chance to say it all. Let’s go through the entry, section-by-section (more or less. There are sections that are really rambly, so Imma précis them for you).
My name: Jessica May (I hate my middle name) Boyd. AKA: Mother.
I think it’s key that I added my gang (or ‘street’) name. For interest’s sake, no one else listed their gang name IN their profile, but several people used them when signing my yearbook. They are (in no particular order, attributing them to no one):
Mugsy (OK, more of a nickname than a street name, but…you know)
Hee hee. Oh, 13-year-old kids. You’re so silly.
Next up, my ambition: “My ambition in life is to become a writer. A well-known, famous one at that. Fame and fortune (like being a zillionaire) would be good, but at this point I really just want a book published.”
Great news, Jess of 23 years ago! That’s happening now. Well, in two months from now. Sorry about the wait. It was unexpected.
“My probable fate is becoming a gossip columnist for the Weekly World News. Pretty soon, I’ll be writing stories like: “Elvis-Impersonating Kangaroo Spotted at the 7-11 in Boise, Idaho!”
I don’t know what the hell I was on. I really don’t. Again, it’s a miracle I wasn’t a complete social outcast.
Other people’s probable fates included:
Cleaning people’s houses
Producer (this dude wanted to be a rapper)
Bum (this girl wanted to be a writer or drifter or both)
Teaching kids to swim in a wading pool
To be on the streets as a rich criminal and be a PIMP on the microphone (um…yeah)
Surgeon’s personal secretary (she wanted to be a surgeon)
Argumentative secretary (she wanted to be a lawyer)
Backup plans: we had them.
“My pet peeve is snobs. People who think they are, own and run the world. How annoying!” Preach it, geeky sister. Preach it.
Other hilarious pet peeves included by my fellow classmates included:
* People who say “guy” (This is a Scarborough thing, I think. Just like “Dry” or “Dry guy” or “Dry in your eye.” It basically means “Oh, snap.” Or “That’s unfortunate and lame for you” it kind of involves some kind of social mockery as well. No one outside of Scarborough seems to have the faintest clue when I reference this. But it was a thing! For reals! Scarborough peeps, weigh in!)
*When girls think they are ALLL THAT but really they aren’t. But you always play along so one day they get dissed HARD. (Dude. Duuuude. That’s not cool.)
* When Jenny and Shang attempt to rap (You girls don’t listen to the haters. Rap away, ladies!)
* When Kenny tries to act like a gangster (We had two Kennys…Kennies? in our class. They could both have been excellent gangsters, so I’m not sure what this person’s issue was.)
* People who scream when it isn’t necessary (Preach it, introverted brother!)
* People who act stupid, because when they do I just feel like punching them out. (Word.)
“My most embarrassing moment: “This will be remembered by those of you who were in Mr. Brown’s class. In the “music contest” MaryAnne and I decided to play “The Muppet Show Theme” on our instruments. Her keyboard, my trumpet. Even worse, we dressed as “Miss Piggies” and most of all, we never practiced together before, so when we started to play, she got faster and I got slower and the song was all out of whack. I got so frustrated, I dropped my trumpet, ripped off my pig nose, put my hands on my hips and said (loudly, I might add), “MaryAnne, where are you?” Everyone laughed.”
Um, yes. I remember this. I have no idea what possessed MaryAnne and I to think we could just kind of wing it. If I recall correctly, the winner of the “music contest” was the other Jessica in my grade (who moved away not long after) who sang “Bird on a Wire.” It was the first time I had really listened to the lyrics, and I was struck by how dark they were. But that aside, Jessica S. did a much better job than this Jessica.
“Favorite Expressions: Well duh!” Yes, I said this a lot. Please forgive me. It was the nineties.
“Common expressions and fads: Everyone else knows better than I!”
I knew how incredibly weird I was. I knew I had no idea what was cool. Nothing has changed in that regard. Let’s see what others considered common in the ‘Vern in the early nineties:
* Step and keep on walking! Chill out! Take a pill!
* It’s not nice to talk about other people’s moms.” (This was the age of the “Yo Mama” jokes. I remember being in a high school play and literally going around the room and hearing everyone tell “Yo Mama” jokes for, like, half an hour. Also a Scarborough thing?)
* Suck my arm
* Comb your head, naughty dread
* Naaa, really?
* I ain’t no garden tool (think about it…think about it…there, you got it, right?)
* Don’t cry now
* Ah, zut!
* Get a life!
* Break yo self
Wearing baggy pants
Listening to music
Note: I literally did none of those except the ‘listening to music’ part. And, to be fair, my musical interests ranged from “Celine Dion” to “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” to “That really loud gangsta rap the dude across the street is blaring” to “Oldies” to “Current Pop” to “Whatever Much Music is playing” to “The tapes we make the bus driver play on the way to shop class which seem to have lyrics that perhaps aren’t intended for people of our listening demographic.”
“Things that make my knees wobble: (random assortment): Large dogs, gym class, blood, the dentist
I can explain.
Large dogs – this harkens back to my childhood BFF’s dog, Choco, nipping my hand every damn time I was at her house. Which was every damn day. German Shepherds still make me nervous.
Gym class- ugh. Need I get into this? You all know how I feel about forced athletics/athletics of any kind/movement in a coordinated, non-spazzy way. Not positively!
Blood – oh, God yes. More vomit than blood, actually. I can’t deal with that. (Well, I can deal a bit now that I have my own kids…but still. It’s my least favourite thing to deal with.) I actually had lunch with two of my dearest lady friends and we got talking about vomit. I said that if anyone vomited on me (other than my kids), I’m afraid I’d be all, “OK, I’m deleting your number from my cell phone and we can never speak again, oh God I’m traumatized for life.” Yup. No vomit. Blood…not if I can help it, but I can handle it better. But barf elsewhere.
The dentist – I like my dentist now, actually! Now that I don’t get yelled at for the state of education in Ontario every time I get my teeth cleaned. This dentist just chats about the weather and her ski holidays. And she has a prize tower!
Why was “gunshots ringing out in my neighbourhood” not on the list? Meh. It was the norm.
“My favourite excuses: The gerbil ate my homework.”
My favourite people category was long. I liked most of the kids/teachers I knew at Stirling. In fact, you might say I had a soft spot for the place. Here’s my closing remarks:
“My life at Stirling has been a beautiful and joyous one. I love Stirling dearly, and after 10 years I could never imagine attending any other school. After so many years of tears, hopes, laughter and dreams (many of mine come true), I feel as though I’m leaving home. Half of me wants to stay at a place I know, and have grown to love. Half of me aches for new faces, new atmospheres, and the security of knowing I will always be welcomed back with open arms and loved at a place that is a second home and people who are a second family to me. Stirling, I love you forever.”
Whoa. I liked school. Maybe too much. Of course, that’s probably better than the kid who wrote this:
“Favourite expression: I hate school
Common expression and fad: I hate school
Things that make my knees wobble: Going to school
My life at Stirling: Terrible
Favourite excuses: I didn’t do it.
How I feel about graduation: Just another ordinary day”
Finally, what’s a yearbook without signatures at the back? Wait, don’t answer that. It’s a sad yearbook, is what it is. But mine had messages a-plenty! Here are a few favourites:
Mother, we could be in some of the same classes next year! Yay!
Hey Moms! See ya at the Hill next year! PS: Thanks for all the food.
Have fun and keep writing poems.
And my all-time favourite:
‘Sup Jessica! You’ll be the best writer in the mother-fucking world! Do good in high school.
Oh, I will, kind yearbook signer. I will.
Happy summer, y’all!