Four Full Seasons

And life goes on….high school and college

I do not know why, but most of high school is a blur to me. Jan Brenner Alpert and I hung around the most, and I certainly socialized, but it is time of my life that has not stuck. I only went to the first reunion, and never went again. Every time there is one, I promise Fran Tompkins and Diane Kaloustian Sproul I will attend the next one. Karen Sidley and I were very tight in high school also. I envied her because she had a tv in her bedroom and would often miss school because she was up too late watching old movies. She passed before I moved to the NYC area in 1980.

Our high school was not completed for our tenth grade year, so we had to share a school with another in the city, Bentley High. The Bentley High kids went to school from  7-12 and the Stevenson High kids went from 1-6.  Correct me if I have the times wrong, but that is what I remember. The great thing about it was you could never be told to go to bed because you had school in the morning. It was the greatest schedule. I don’t remember extra-curricular  activities though, but I bet I was well rested. It was an odd year because when moved to our own school, it really was still under construction and we had physical education in classrooms. Mattson and Schwedy (spelling, but she had a cork screw pony tail)….remember those teachers? She would not teach sex ed, but Mattson did.

The school had a pool by eleventh grade,  and most was complete.  I remember being kicked out of an English class and told to go and sit in a corner by myself in the library. Um, our library was round, and it was the center of a satellite style school. I walked back into class about ten minutes later, to the teacher’s horror, and announced there were no corners in a round room. Damn I was ballsy. Dodenhof was the name of the teacher, but not sure I spelled it correctly.

Senior year was supposed to be so exciting, but it was so socially troubling. Many of the boys were looking at Viet Nam in their futures. We have one or two on the Viet Nam Memorial for missing or being POWs. Martin Luther King Jr was killed in April of our senior year to be followed two months later with assignation of Bobby Kennedy.

This would have been a photo of our graduation except for the fact we had tonado warnings, and they had to hold it in the gym.

High school was not the favorite time of my life so far. I taught high school for over thirty years and loved the age level, but I would not put myself there as a teen again. Sure, there were a lot of malls and cruising Telegraph, State Fairs and Riverside Park, Plum Street and Bob Lo, but it was a pressure keg too. At least for me.   

I do want to say I appreciate how supportive so many of you have been. It has been nice to get to know some of you I only knew by name back then.

Facebook is a great place to catch and keep up with people, and so many of my friends here are from Stevenson High School. I remember you, but we really did not have much interaction, or we did and that is part of the blur….lol…had not discovered that magic weed yet, so it cannot be that. Never had a drink before I went to college either. What a good girl I WAS.

In no order:  

I remember tidbits about a few: Gary Sarut  should have put you in the junior high section. Sorry. I will tell the story now though. Gary walked into my classroom in, I think, ninth grade, and we all thought he was the teacher.

Marsha Gardhouse Zielinski and I were Home Ec buddies. Do you remember that they let us make a pie with Crème de menthe in it? The teacher actually brought crème de menthe to class!  We had a Shirley Temple kitchen also. Wonder if her picture is still taped inside that corner cabinet?

Leslie Bottle Garten and I probably go back to junior high also. In high school we used to go to Chinese restaurants a lot. I also remember we went to see Hair at a theater in Detroit. You were also on Coop so were able to leave school mid-day. I used to sneak out with you and we would go to that taco place on Telegraph. One time your dad passed us on the road.

Jo Anna Kolodziej, we actually met in elementary school. I have a picture of an early birthday party where you have a cast on your arm.  JoAnna’s son wrote a wonderful book Sweet Girl, and I read and loved it before I knew that the author, Travis Mulhauser, was her son. Keep waiting for another.

There was my cheerleading group. I was an alternate, which seemed to be my place in the cheerleading life. I always thought that being a cheerleader meant your life was perfect, and that was a bunch of Schmidt. I did not even try out my senior year.

I headed off to Eastern Michigan University to become a teacher. What fun those years were in college. I learned to drink …..didn’t we all….and ironically I hardly drink at now. Did enough then. I lived in the dorm for the first two years, Jones Hall, and I loved every minute of it.  I loved having all those people constantly coming and going, and I might have stayed there four years if it had been cool to do so. It was not. One downside for sure was that my father died during my freshmen year. Was glad for the support of my dorm buddies, for sure.

Jones Hall, Eastern Michigan University

Mary Parker Key, whom we called Ava, and still do to this day, and Pat Ryan Johnson were  two roommates freshman year. We are still great friends, and we get together a couple of times a year.  Pat raised  her family in England, and now lives back in Michigan. Ava is in Ohio, after being all over the country. So we are now relatively close. Last winter we scheduled a vacation in Florida. Pat and I went for a glorious week, Ava had a run in with Covid. We are planning a week or so in New Mexico this winter, and we know the weather might not be great but we will have such a good time no matter what.  Last winter Pat came to visit and we got snowed in for three days. We never ran out of things to talk about or wine to drink.

Donna Stanchina Parish was a friend of  mine in high school, and then she lived across the hall from me in the dorm at Eastern. We became good friends, and then went on our young adult lives in different directions. We always kept a loose connect, but as grown-up adults, we have built a very strong friendship. She is one of my greatest supporters, and I do miss seeing her since she moved to Portland, Oregon. She will be joining us in New Mexico though, and we will all have such a good time.

There are others who have passed or just have removed themselves, and some I have lost total track of.  Joan Birnie and Paula Alexander are two I have lost connection with, but would love to reconnect with.

Shout out to Cindy Gdowski Matuszak, a friend from the dorm. She doesn’t know it but she was a great inspiration to me. She also had the only winter wedding I have ever been to. Fur (faux) around the veil and bottom of the skirt. I remember that so well. Her husband Jerry, whom we all loved, passed recently, and he will always be remembered by me as such a nice guy, and someone who put up with so many of Cindy’s friends around all the time.

Have no idea how I was lucky enough to meet Ginny Patterson O’Brien my junior year. She was living in married housing at the time. I was in an apartment. I know we had some common friends, but do not remember how we got connected. To this day she calls me Chatty Kathie, or Chatty for short.  Had some great times, kept up a bit and now have connected again. Good to have her around.

Well, that is high school and college. Next on to teaching.  This one was not entertaining, I know, but I could not skip that part of my life.

Oh, lots of riots and SDS meetings. I thought being a member of SDS would come back and haunt me, but so far I have been safe. Lol  I participated in the sit ins. Hell, that is my specialty. I will never participate in the weeding of the garden or the picking up trash in the swamp, but sitting in I can do.

Got pepper sprayed once during an altercation with Ypsilanti’s finest, and it was the highlight of my year. Seriously. Hahahahah  

This is the Ypsilanti Water Tower, next to the EMU campus. It was said that if a virgin ever graduated from Eastern, it would fall. I believe it is still up. Looks like a penis doesn’t it. Do you think the designer realized that and said, “Let’s make the water tower look like a penis for all time. Think anyone will notice?” Duh.

1 Comment

  1. Linda

    As usual I love reading your blogs even if I don’t know your friends.
    I’d forgotten all about Plum Street! !

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