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Parked Way Out on Memory Lane

Oh, look! Here I am posing on a giant whale during Mr. Vandercook's week-long Oceanography class a few of us took during Jr. High. A few months after this was taken, my husband graduated from high school in Ridgecrest, CA. I am VERY thankful we did not know each other then. I don't think he could have handled my coolness.

A selective memory is a common trait in my family.  My dad can give you some insane details of  summers spent in Michigan long ago, but then can completely space out on the numerous conversations you had with him about how much you dislike lima beans.  (Seriously, dad.  They are just nasty little smooshy beans that should be left for cattle food.  Yuck!) But it turns out that I am just like him.  My husband and I will have conversations, weekly, that go something like this:



Me: What’s going on with {insert random situation here}?

Dave: Seriously?  We talked about this a few days ago.

Me: No, we didn’t.

Dave: No, really.  We did.  Don’t you remember?  I told you {insert facts about random situation here}.

Me: Really?  I think I’d remember that.

Dave: You do this all the time!  What is the deal with your memory?

Me: (I stomp off frustrated that I have no idea what he is talking about.)

Ah, yes…the sweet feeling of premature dementia….It’s hard for me to grasp the truth that I can forget complete conversations or tasks while other parts of my brain can store the most random memories and details, it seems like if you just plugged me into some magic projector, I could replay the whole long-ago scene for all to see.  I’ve seriously considered those memory-enhancing pills and have actively tried to improve my ‘brain’s age’ on my old Nintendo DS.  (I think my current score says my brain is in its late forties.  Ugh.)


Of course there will always be major events that trigger your brain to record every detail about what you were doing, wearing, eating, etc. during that particular day.  Just recently there was a flurry of ‘what I was doing 10 years ago’ posts on Facebook regarding the anniversary of September 11th.  My memory captures all those ‘biggie’ event details (September 11th, the big Northridge earthquake, the OJ Simpson car chase, then the OJ verdict, etc.) but it also captures some really random details too, and I have no idea why.  Yes, writing about them in these blog posts has actually helped calm things down in my head.  You have no idea how distracting it is to be driving down the road with the kids in the back then suddenly be thinking about a Kraft macaroni dinner Becky and I made for some boys in ‘97 as we discussed where we would live when we all moved to Chico for college.  (We were planning on living in a Chico farmhouse with a garden, and Becky and I would be in charge of cooking and keeping it clean.  Apparently we were super-confident in our multi-tasking skills and figured that we could appropriately juggle our own schoolwork with being den mothers to a brood of boys at the same time.  As any of my college roommates could attest to, I could barely clean a bathroom or do a sink of dishes while juggling my mediocre school assignments, shopping expeditions, sporadic trips to Washington, and the gaggle of boys that I was chasing after unsuccessfully.  I would have made a TERRIBLE den mother.  Becky would have been fantastic!  She’d had much more practice than I did at taking care of details and keeping things together while things were whirling crazily all around her.)

Today, I’ve decided just to dump some of the memories that have been clouding up in my head into this blog.  These school-days memories may seem boring or totally unconnected to you, but, I’d love to hear some of your random memories too, so feel free to comment here or on Facebook with yours, too.

Love and good memories to you all,


I remember…

* That one time in 4th grade when Mrs. Migasi came back from a meeting with the principal where she was asked to come back for another year of teaching.  She was so happy that she had been asked, and we all cheered.

* Filming our Ichabod Crane movie for some super-fun Jr. High English assignment in 7th grade from Dr. Horner.  I picture a bunch of kids running amuck with their ideas in Becky’s old house near Quartz Hill while trying to avoid talking during the part where we shot the ‘credits’ that we had written on construction paper.  I think there was a goat or a sheep in the backyard.

* That joke I finally got about the drama teacher with the weird limp’s first name being ‘Ilene’.  That one took a while for it to sink in.  (That wasn’t her real first name, by the way.  I can’t remember what that actually was.)

* I remember our Bible class opening prayer time in high school where you basically got a bird’s eye view of what was going on in everybody’s life.  (If you had an ‘unspoken’ prayer request, you got to let everyone know that you were concerned about something, but were taking the higher road of not dumping the details or gossiping about it to the class.  It made us all seem so very mysterious!)

* The constant string of sleepovers we had at Becky’s house while her mom worked the night shift.  Everyone crammed into Becky’s big full-size bed and trying to sleep with the lights on and through the double doors that clanged back and forth every time the front door was opened in the morning.

* Our class praying for Shelby when she was super sick and had to get a spinal tap.

* Working so hard for senior mock-trial, which I only signed up for since Becky wanted to do it, and I had seen Brad raise his hand to do it too.  I STILL use skills Rex taught us for that group in my life to this day!  “OWN THE ROOM!”

* Seeing Judge Jackson, triumphant, at the front of the gym in his strange ‘halo’ contraption after that near-death car crash that had happened just down the street from my house.

* Getting black flowers delivered to chapel the Friday before our Homecoming football game to our mortal enemies/rivals, A.V. Christian.

* Jaime and I talking Mr. Rodgers into giving a free-dress-day for the whole Jr. High and High School.

* Planting days during elementary school where each kid was asked to bring in a 6-pack of either marigolds or pansies.  I always wanted to bring in the pansies, but my mom always got me heartier marigolds.  I still hate the way marigolds smell.  I remember some kid once broke the rules and brought in a carnation plant.  Although I was not a fan of carnations either, I knew they were probably cooler than marigolds.

* Those delicious $1 chicken sandwiches the snack bar sold during break time.  I ate mine plain, unless they sometimes put out ranch.  Mayonnaise was popular topping that kept me from asking other kids for a bite of theirs.

* Balloon-grams at Valentine’s Day.  Will that boy you like get you one?  Who knows, but your best bud will always remember to get you one.

* Holding my breath whenever I saw Heather N. or Emily S. belt out a song on stage.

*Everyone getting together during the summer after Johnny’s parents’ car crash on the way to Las Vegas and trying to feel grown up, since we had already graduated, but not really knowing what to say or do to help our friend.

* That cool effect in the girl’s gym-bathroom mirror where you could look into it and see an endless stream of reflecting ‘other mirrors’.

* Only knowing of one person, one time, to ever actually take a shower in the girl’s locker room, and of course, walking in on her after cheerleading practice.  Ooops!

* My oversized, pink, borrowed, disaster of a dress for 8th grade graduation seeming so cool when I left the house, but then turning into an embarrassing, ill-fitting ‘I’m trying too hard’ sign, once I realized the boy of my dreams (for the past 18 months) was sitting in the audience, potentially looking at me.

* Going to school while getting to where my cheerleading uniform, only to realize that I had forgotten to wear my bloomers under my skirt that morning.  Thank goodness I could jump in my car and drive home!

* Practicing our 12th grade skills of persuasion while we talked Mr. Zietlow and Mr. Lihme into having our morning classes off campus at CoCo’s, then realizing that none of us had enough money to really eat a full meal, only a side of shared bacon or a bagel.

* Off-campus lunch at Carl’s Jr. and ingesting way too many buy-one-get-one-free Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburgers with our softball fundraising coupon-cards.

* There was a curved stage in our fifth grade classroom that had a little cove to hide in if you climbed up inside the little inset shelf, then shimmied down on the sides.  It was a great hiding spot, although I don’t remember ever knowing why we were allowed to play in there on our own.

* My aching arms during the pillow-people routine for Homecoming week.  We got ready ahead of time, but by the time we were signaled to actually come out and perform, I was in tears from holding my arms up over my head for 15 minutes.  It was worth it, though.

* The girls’ basketball team winning the C.I.F. championships.

* The ‘dumb’ class / ‘smart’ class “Unity” discussions we had in high school, and being in a few classes in both.

* Always striving to get to wear a football jersey of the boy you liked (or were ok flirting with) after an away game.  Picking a jersey from a boy who didn’t play a lot was good since it wasn’t sweaty and gross, but when you liked an active player on the team, the decision to borrow his jersey for the ride home backfired…

* Joining ‘that Jesus club’ at the end of my senior year and traveling all over So-Cal to put on random chapels at other schools and learning that they grew oranges in Chino at the house of one of the host families Becky and I stayed with.

* Whining about never, ever, receiving the ‘Student of the Month’ award in elementary school, only to hear that they later changed it so every student received it so they wouldn’t get their feelings hurt.  I would always sneak a peak to the back of the gym to see what parent was sitting there, waiting to see their kid get the award.  I always hoped to see my mom back there, but it was usually Michelle’s mom, Becky’s mom, Emily or Emilie’s mom or Nived/Sumit/Alice Chang’s mom instead.

* Jog-a-thon-ing our brains out to raise money for an updated playground, then finally seeing the new blue and yellow equipment set up and being cooler than any of our 3rd grade imaginations had made it!

Etc, etc, etc…

About Jenny Z

I love to overuse italics, misplaced hyphens and internal dialogue when I write about my usual favorite topic, myself.

One response »

  1. Another fun read. We have so much in common as to the dreaded Lima Beans. I’ve never been able to choke one down even under threat of severe punishment from my parents. Peas too.


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