The child of hippie-parents who had grown up in the free-lovin'/all-lovin' warmth of Southern California, I was taught that people were indeed: all the same. My parents didn't believe in judging people based on anything other than their character, actions and words. (Though, The Bubbie won't shy away from a well-placed racist joke, that's for sure... but, what person who appreciate good comedy does?)
In my high school years this broad exposure to, and appreciation of, all manner of different people would help create some hard years for me socially. I was never afraid of telling people just how back-a$$ stupid they might be... and as you can imagine, this doesn't usually get you voted Homecoming Queen. lololol
Small town living on *hard* on The Bubbie, and hard on me.... I had grown up in Seattle, spent my summers living Burbank, CA - and we had lived in Huntsville, Al. - finding ourselves suddenly living among less than 6,000 people was.... challenging. While I kind of miss the security of living in a town where no one locked their doors - even at night... and my parents thought *nothing* of me walking home from the college campus at midnight - alone (and quite literally in several feet of snow without sock, in my white keds *with* my jeans folded and pegged above the ankle.... just sayin') - it was a safe place.
No where else would I ever feel so safe as I did in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. Well, physically safe... not so much emotionally. sigh.
My senior year my parents were determined to move to Cedar Rapids, home to the modeling agency that found Ashton Kutcher - owned by Mary Brown. In the summer that followed my senior year I briefly took photos for some of their newer models. Mary was a nice lady and I had already worked for an agency out of Iowa City, so she used to let me practice my photography skills on her newer models. Experience for both of us and if she liked a photo and wanted to use it - she'd pay me then. It was excellent.
Eager to leave the small town, we moved a few months into my senior year and I enrolled at John F. Kennedy High. Finally in a school with more than one floor, more than one wing... and more than 50 students in my entire grade. *That* is what high school was supposed to feel like - with frantic runs from chem lab to your locker, to struggle with your combination only to run to Journalism class with Mr. Lindsey... and be late as usual. I *loved* it. LOVED it.
There was a bonafide school newspaper and a DARK ROOM. Situated upstairs and across from Mr. Tsangs classroom was a large closet with ventilation where a darkroom was located. I would spend hours and hours and hours... more than would be advised I'm sure, breathing in allllll those chemicals while I took advantage of the schools many chemical and paper resources and printed pictures well into the night. Digital photography kids just don't know what they were missing.
I loved the hustle and bustle, the variety of students, my darkroom, for which I had a key and permission to be on school grounds after hours because *I* was the student newspapers Photo Editor. Amazing.
I also loved a certain Jr.... we'll call him my High School Edward. lololol
He was a bit tall, a bit lanky and had these deep brown eyes. I had had a crush on him for a while but I hadn't said anything... running up the this dance where the girls ask the guys, I was working up the courage to ask him to go when a kid on our swim team (for which I was a manager) - asked me to go do the dance with him.
Oh, I should explain something........
When I was in middle school in Alabama, there were these two twin boys who were the sort of classic Hollywood version of a 13 year old SuperNerd. These brothers had all the acne-awkwardness of the entire school stuffed into their zit-ridden genes all they needed were capes and tricycles to ride away on... but they were nice: so , very, nice.
One day in Mrs. Bailey's class one of the twins, the taller and slightly less socially awkward of the two of them, asked out the school's most 'beautiful' and popular cheerleader. First she laughed in his face, then she said yes and they made plans to meet at the Taco Bell in the movie theater parking lot that night.
Needless to say - that night Taco Bell was occupied by one very excited and eager... and *alone* teenage boy as said Cheerleader never showed. Then the next morning she was running the halls bragging about the joke she pulled... and both twins had to suffer the day as a laughing stock.
What a c*nt. Even then I knew that everyone's favorite Cheerleader was likely to end up being everyone's favorite ride in high school and she'd grow up to be used up and nasty... after all - she was well on her way if certain middle school footballs boys were to be believed. I decided then and there that if *anyone* had the nerve to ask me out - that I would go, no matter what. I saw how hard it was for him to work up the nerve - and really - would it have killed her to just go to a movie with the kid?
No... and she might have learned a thing or two about herself if she had.....
But fast forward to my senior year and standing in the hallway, Monday before the dance - and this nice kid who is too short and too young and doesn't even drive.... asks me to the dance where it's ladies choice. Dammit - *I'm* supposed to do that asking.... and I'm *not* asking!!!!!
But, rules are rules.... so I say yes.
I had this *adorable* dress - and I looked smashing... but this kid didn't drive (and neither did I as the result of a HUGE car accident I had been in earlier in the school year - more on that in another post) - and I was still too emotionally fragile to drive.... so - The Papa and The Bubbie drove us.
Yes... The Papa and The Bubbie picked up the too-short Boy, took us for dinner (though were nice enough to sit at another booth....) then drove us to the dance where.... to my UTTER. HORROR... students reported seeing my *parents* necking in the school's parking lot.....
File *THAT* under awesome parenting *FAILS*. lolololol
I don't think it was the date the too-short Boy had dreamed up, but he and his parents were moving out of state the following week... and it was rumored he had a crush on me... and even *then* I had an accountability to myself to do what I felt was right..... we there we were: my cute dress, him, and my parents and their embarrassing display of public affection.
The next night, however, High School Edward showed up and took me out.... and IT. WAS. DREAMY.
Ok... he was dreamy. Even though I was a curvy 36-26-36 (yes you read that right) - he was very thin.... I could almost wrap my arms around him twice... which I did *without* the audience of my parents because he had a car... a small two door... red? green? car.... whatever it was, it showed up outside my parents house and dropped me off before midnight. I was in heaven.
It wasn't long before High School Edward and his two best friends - Jasper and Emmett - and I became a bit of a foursome as we went *everywhere* together. I was grounded countless times for coming home well-after curfew - eyes still slightly shut and sensitive to light, hair mussed and pushed to one side, clothes slightly askew - while I stumbled in the front door to my parents house.
The Papa would be *furious* - anger flickering through his eyes and pulsing out of his veins... it would be years later that I figured out that poor Papa thought I was having sex with High School Edward.... suffice to say - every one of those nights was spent either on the floor or the couch - where all four of us had fallen asleep watching pre-taped episode of Ren & Stimpy. All four of us: fully clothed.
I was totally, completely and utterly in luuuuurve with High School Edward. He played guitar, had a band - and he was PUNK. ROCK.... well, okay, Grunge more like. It was true and honest and intense - the way love in high school is meant to be.... but it was also very innocent: everyone's respective body parts stayed securely inside their own clothes.
I was a nice girl... remember? ;)
(no seriously.... it was all very, very innocent and sweet).
He introduced me to my all-time favorite movie: Singles.
Having grown up in Seattle... it literally spoke to my soul - also, my DocMartin, summer dress wearing teenage self who was totaly smitten with Eddie Vedder.... AND it's Cameron Crowe. I'm not sure there's any better movie out there.
High School Edward also had a blue and white checkered flannel that I stole from him and wore to school like teenage girls do. The classic stealing of your boyfriends favorite shirt or letter-man's jacket just to make sure every other girl in school knew that you had a man... and they couldn't have him.
Years later I wore that beloved flannel through several countries and was a staple in London once I started working shows. Obviously it rains a lot in London, but when you've got a camera bag and whatnot - and you're going to be at the front of a stage fighting for pole position: a jacket is a no-go. I would wrap my trusty flannel around my waist, shoot my show, then wear the flannel home... not too fashionable for London circa 1997... but - I loved that flannel.
For Valentine's Day of senior year, High School Edward recorded me a song. I was blown away, not only because he didn't suck - BUT - because he had an actual mini-recording studio set up to record himself playing guitar and singing. On a green labeled cassette, High School Edward sang 'Wonderful Tonight' by Eric Clapton changing the lyrics to 'long black hair'..... it was, for all intensive purposes: my most treasured thing.
Sadly.... in 1997 (in North London), someone stole my red VW Golf - which contained that green labeled cassette. I cried for days... not because the car was gone... but because I knew someone somewhere had my treasured tape and would most likely just throw it in the dust bin.
sigh.... tear..... wipe. :(
High School Edward, Jasper, Emmett and I got into alllllll kinds of trouble - in, at and around school. Jasper, being tall and blonde and from a wealthy family - also had an amazing personality... and it wasn't long before I realized I had a crush on him..... I know - fickle, girl. Damn.
Leading up to my 18th birthday I had arranged to have a mosh at the local, indoor skate park. Obviously High School Edward's band would play (I did photos for them too..... lolol) and then the skate park had two of their friends bands play. Jasper and I met up at his house to make flyers to hand out at school to advertise our mosh which I think was.... $3 to get into? Sitting on the floor we needed a theme - with a Ren & Stimpy: of course.
We were upstairs in Jasper's room (in the largest home I'd ever been in, to be honest) and we were sitting on his floor making the flyers. Initially I was distracted because his bedroom has it's own bathroom attached ot it... but it wasn't the master bedroom - that was just *his* room and his *own* bathroom. Really - having your own bathroom is the way to any teenage girls heart.
Jasper, a talented artist, was drawing various characters from the show with funny sayings - and we were laughing.... and laughing... and then he was flipping me sh*t and I went in to hit him and suddenly we weren't laughing any more because our tongues were otherwise occupies and we ..... were kissing.
It wasn't any kind of long, meaningful kiss.... but - it was nice: too nice. We straightened up quickly and both felt a sense of wrong.... I was with 'Edward' - and he was Edwards BFF.... and I was about to Yoko that sh*t up... which I didn't want to do. I knew that Jasper liked me... but I also knew that he didn't like me enough to grenade his friendships - and.... I was old enough to know that I wasn't likely to marry either of these guys - so sticking around just to cause drama and end everyone's friendship was wrong.
Shortly after that.... High School Edward and I broke up. I was distraught at first.... jealous to see the three of them, still close as ever and having a great time without me.... but I quickly cheered up when well over 150 people showed up at my 18th Birthday Mosh - some with gifts and cards - and the middle band brought me out onto the half-pipe and had everyone sing me Happy Birthday.
It. Was. AWE.SOME.
A year later I packed up that cassette, my flannel and whatever else I could fit into one suitcase and moved to London. To this day I don't know that High School Edward knows all that he gave me: my first taste of rock photography - which I would turn into a viable and published career. My sacred flannel that I *believe* I still have in the attic somewhere... that went on tours and was even in a few documentaries - but most of all, some of the best memories I have of high school.
I will *always* love High School Edward, Jasper and Emmett... muah. :)