Jigsaw

The end is drawing near.

The seniors will graduate soon, and they’re starting to get all weepy. We sent the final issue of the newspaper to the printer today. Yesterday I watched the editor proofread the seniors’ Last Wills. She boohooed from A to Z. All I could do was hand her a box of tissues.

Feeling rather nostalgic, I went home and dug up my senior yearbook. I have to admit I teared up too. It’s hard to believe how quickly time passes, how people change, how fickle life is.

When’s the last time you looked at your old yearbook? I’ll bet you’ll see some of these quotes:

“Please always be my friend.”

“Stay the same, and you’ll go far.”

“I’ll never forget you.”

“R.M.A.”

Lies. All of them.

Oh, at the time the writers really meant it. But those kids in the yearbook don’t exist anymore.

Why is it I feel like I’m the only one who hasn’t changed? I’m not talking physically. I’m talking mentally, emotionally. I guess I just haven’t grown up yet.

I never really left my old high school. I still remember where I sat in homeroom, and I still remember where I used to hang out in the mornings. I still remember driving our beloved band director nuts and counting the steps between the yard lines on the football field for our flag routine with the band. (How in the world did I do that? All those people? Crazy.)

I believe if I could push a button and rewind time I wouldn’t have a problem stepping back into yesterday. I could still find my old seat in Mr. Burton’s room. And I meant every word I wrote in those yearbooks. I’m sure of it.

If by some freak of nature one of you is reading this blog, I challenge you to go back to your yearbook. What’s the funniest thing someone wrote? Has anything written stood the test of time? Did I write in your book? If so, what?

Kids at my school have their yearbook day next week. I’ve learned something over the years. I’ll always be Mrs. L. to them, but they won’t always be the charming little cherubs in the second row. Someday they’ll be doctors, business owners, moms, and dads. Now when I teach, I remind myself I’m not just teaching a child, I’m teaching my future colleague, dentist, mechanic, or nursing home attendant. (I always, always try to be nice—if you know what I mean. Unfortunately, I know several who are already plotting their revenge.)

The cool thing about being a writer and an English teacher is that I love novels. I love talking about novels (and writing them). A novel is ALWAYS present tense even if it’s written in past tense. Why? Because each time a reader opens the cover, it’s happening—now. Again and again and again.

There’s comfort in knowing some things will never change, like the details in a book. But that’s not the case with the yearbook. Sure we can open it and relive our glory days, but only for a moment.

As I looked back on mine tonight, I was able to see random pieces of the puzzle that make up the writer I am today.

I guess in some ways it’s the story of what made me, me.

 

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10 thoughts on “Jigsaw

  1. I remember writing in one of my best friend’s yearbook that she struck fear into my heart when I actually meant she was the one person who doesn’t strike fear into my heart. She read it and laughed. And to this day, it stills says that in her yearbook. 😛 I guess to give her a little edge.

    • That’s funny. 🙂 I get a kick reading what my students write to me, especially if they are so sweet to say that I was a good English teacher. They usually misspell everything. It cracks me up. Those are the fun memories in life.

  2. How very sweet this post is. 1/3 of all my friends from facebook are high school friends. That attachment never goes away. For me it’s 40 years!! If I have one regret about those folks from HS it’s that I didn’t get to know some of them better. Because I’ve been so far away, I haven’t been able to attend the reunions. It’s wonderful to read how much you enjoy your students. I can tell from reading many of these comments that many know how blessed they are to have you as a teacher.

  3. You’re right. The attachment never goes away. Just recently I’ve reconnected with some friends via FB, and it’s just been sweet hearing from them again. The saddest thing for me was reconnecting with one of my very best friends just recently to hear that he passed away (just weeks prior to my mother’s passing). The last couple of months have been very hard. Life is so short. My goal is to just be happy and to make others happy now.

    Kuby, I feel as though we’ve been friends forever. I hope that we’ll stay connected because you are one of God’s gems sent to inspire and encourage me.

  4. Oh Tee, please accept my virtual hug. I know Sunday is going to be a hard day for you. I also know though you will reflect on the wonderful things that made your Mom your Mom. I also know we both believe you will be seeing her again. You, Tee have been a Mom to so many and I can almost see God smiling on you.

  5. The only thing I remember about my high school graduation is that the speaker said “look around, you will never see a lot of these people again.” Sadly it was true.

  6. I remember the speaker saying something similar too. Lately it seems as everything is spinning by so fast. Why is it a day seem to go on forever back then? Nothing is constant except change.

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