Season Four, Episode Two: Memory Lane

My high school reunion is on Friday.  Like…this Friday.  I still can’t believe I’ve been out of high school for ten years–it’s mind boggling.  I certainly don’t feel like it’s been ten years.

Well…that’s a lie.  High school feels like a lifetime and a half ago.

I’m sure that everyone feels that way when they are in their late twenties.  My glory days weren’t in high school–I’m not really sure what their start date actually will be, but I am trying to make the steps to ensure that they do happen.  I feel sorry for the people who shone brilliantly in high school, like a comet that streaked through the sky, only to have never reached that level of brilliance ever again after senior year.

I was not that person.

(I was the girl who had a kid at 19, the girl who grew up infinitely faster than all my friends who beer ponged and keg standed the rest of their teenage years away.  I have no regrets though, and even if I did, those days have long since passed.  I’m probably much more awesome now than I was as a snarky, bitchy, witty teenager.)

I graduated in 2004.

2004.

Jude Law was named Sexiest Man Alive by People, Britney Spears wasn’t crazy yet, my jeans were low rise and were slightly flared instead of skinny.  We were all watching the last season of Friends and everyone was shakin’ it like a Polaroid picture to “Hey Ya!” by Outkast.  I attended Saint Joseph Academy, the only all-girl Catholic high school in the city.  I spent my days in green and blue plaid skirts and white polos.  It was a simpler time.  Only a few of my friends had cell phones, and they were clunky and awkward looking compared to today’s smartphones–I remember they were only allowed to use them during the day for emergencies(eww minutes!), and we could call if we wanted after 7 pm, when it was unlimited free talk.  No one texted at the level we do now.  If you wanted to listen to music you used a Sony DiscMan, not an iPod.  Those weren’t around yet!

I can’t believe I was 18 ten years ago.

I mean, I still pretty much look the same, but...man.  Ten years!

I mean, I still pretty much look the same, but…man. Ten years!

I suppose high school reunions aren’t the same for my generation like they were for my mom and dad.  Thanks to Facebook we can creep our fellow former classmates on the daily.  We see posts of the stuff they have accomplished, pictures of their kids, updates about their lives–we don’t have to wait ten years to find out the dirt on everyone.

It should still be fun though :).

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Season Two, Episode Seven: Birthday Candles For My Dad

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Today is my dad’s 69th birthday. I am probably the definition of a daddy’s girl. I’m crazy about my dad and I love him to pieces. He’s my best friend. As far back as I can remember he’s been my partner in crime.

My parents are twenty years apart, so my dad was 41 when I was born. His age never stopped him from chasing me in the grass in our backyard or lifting a very giggly and squirmy five-year-old Me up so that I could touch the ceiling with my fingertips (my dad is 6’4″). As I grew older, I loved sitting with him (me on the couch, Dad in his recliner) as he leisurely smoked a cigarette from his green pack of Kool 100 Super Longs and we watched old reruns of the black and white classics–to this day, I still love watching The Andy Griffith Show and Bewitched with him.

My dad would also sit and tell me and my little brother stories of his childhood on his grandparents’ farm in Morris Chapel, Tennessee and of his time spent in Cleveland at his uncle’s house. I loved hearing how life used to be in the ’40s and ’50s and looking through the old photo albums at my grandparents (my grandpa died when my dad was very young, my grandma died when I was a baby) and my great-grandparents and my great-great grandparents. My dad is predominantly Cherokee-American, so I loved seeing my great-great grandmother and her long white braid that stretched to the ground (my dad swears she lived to be 105) and my great-grandparents’ high cheekbones and stunning profiles. He graduated from high school in Washington, D.C. in 1962 and told me about the dark days of when JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcolm X were all assassinated. He remembers Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement and he fought in Vietnam. He’s lived through thirteen US Presidents, from FDR to Barack Obama.

He’s still as funny and as smart as when I was a little girl. It’s hard for me to think of my dad as a senior citizen, because he is anything but. He’s still the head machinist at his job. He still smokes those Kool 100s. His favorite show is The Big Bang Theory. He loves being a grandpa and a great-grandpa (I have a 28 year old niece from one of my older half-brothers. She has a little girl herself.). He still criticizes the Browns every football season (he’s a Redskins fan) and reads The Plain Dealer daily and watches Jerry Springer and Maury every day after work because their insanity makes him feel like his day couldn’t be as bad as those guests’ are. He still encourages me to live my dreams and to keep working hard. He taught me that hard work and a strong education are the two most important things that a person can have next to their family. He taught me how to play Monopoly when I was five (no hotels or houses and I always got Boardwalk and Park Place and somehow won every time) and how to dance by standing on his feet in the kitchen while “My Girl” by The Temptations played on the local oldies station. He taught me to really appreciate music and told me I got my voice from my grandma. I am incredibly lucky to have him as a dad 🙂

Happy Birthday, Daddy ❤