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This is the journal I typed extremely crudely on my grandmother's typewriter at the end of tenth grade. I don't consider it nearly as substantial as the journal Life At The Top, from two years later, but it does have a few surprises, particular in how Aaron Summerville was perhaps my first run in with a free mind, and I went along, not even really knowing what it all meant. I just thought he was oddly compelling a figure to hang out with.  [Additional bracketed comments] are left for clarity and explanation. What surprises me is what was left out from this entry that I guess didn't fit a strict assessment of my school experience: how I got into listening to classic rock, and the Shelby experience to that point, while there was still a lot of hope left in it all. Some major history was made starting in the month or so after this journal was written. More context on 1989 can be found in a post recollecting that year. You can see high school era pix and scans in my Skool Daze gallery. Digitized and posted in June 2011.

June 22, 1989

Well, another school year has passed so I thought I would try something new. I thought a summary of the year was in order since this 10th grade was a bit different than others.

I took on a more subtle approach to doing well in school. This means that whenever possible I would give the shortest answer I could that is still right. Not only did I keep the sneers short, but I also seemed to avoid  some of last year's acquaintances. My time with Eric Hart (Phart?) seemed to really decline as we only had one class together (German for me, and, well, Eric had no class). But I found myself being more assertive. I think this was possible because I didn't look forward to having an Eric or a Nico (Monteblanco) fix, whatever that is. So, by breaking away from these characters, that I usually would look up to, I didn't feel bound. I'm glad in some ways that Eric is leaving, but I'll miss getting him in trouble, and all the raucous we could get into. [He tended to not care about that, and was an "F" student anyway, but a smart and wily one at that.] For more on this, search the 9th grade memories.

I'll give a brief summary of my classes.

Period 1, German—

This class was fairly easy since I taught myself some vocabulary last summer. The class started as two groups in one classroom and of course neither group could get the attention they need in an arrangement like that. About halfway through the year, it was decided that if the two were combined the work load for the teacher could be lessened and the students wouldn't need to shut out the other class. I call the second year group the "East Germans." That's where they sat—on the east side of the classroom. One the two were actually combines, I had a name for this too: the "Unification of Germany." I always scored good on tests, and once on a chapter test, my score was 203.5 out of a possible 205—a 99.3% score. I usually met or exceeded on the daily quizzes. Mr. Milne tried to make the class easy on his students but I think some people MIST [German: manure, shit, compost] the chance…

Period 2, Physical Education with RoboBishop—

Nothing special here except for the funny antics of David Sommers. David would first ask me why I didn't answer his stupid questions, then when I gave no reply he'd tell me to shut up. Corey Carroll and I would harass David about this. When I did say something, David didn't tell me to shut up. Let's face it. David was stupid!!!

Period 3, Algebra—

my algebra progress report that features an F grade with E citizenshipMy algebra progress report from Jim Thompson's classI started the year in Algebra with Jim Thompson. However, I didn't do very well. But don't get me wrong. The class was always fun to go to. JT always had some puns. My grade in the class turned out to be…well, colorful to say the least. It was a D-/E. If JT taught history or another enjoyable class I might have tried to do better. After the semester change pre-algebra was my math class. The catch was that Mr. Spicer was the teacher—the same as last year. In fact, for a while, the SEAT itself was the same. About the only thing that wasn't the same was the students and my attitude toward the same old, same old. So, for a better part of the semester my silent and stoic behavior was (in this class like many others) thrown out the door. I just stared out the window or moped around the room. I got a lot of German homework done, though.

Period 4, Biology—

This class was an adventure. We had three teachers and a strange time. At first the teacher was Dr. Stearn, who was with the class for about six weeks. Stearn was a weird one. He'd say, "we used to think there was mucusamongus but now we know there's fungusamongus!" When he had to leave, his friend Sal came to impart some knowledge on us. Sal was there for twelve weeks. He's a nice guy but he could ramble on and on. When it came time for Sal to leave in February, we found ourselves with yet another teacher: Ms. Sulzback. She added some things that seemed to be missing: dissections. My friend Aaron and I had a try at it except did ours a bit different than assigned. On the fish, frog, and the ever-popular worm dissection, we left out the specimen and answered the objective and essay questions with EDucated guesses. We did pretty good and the teacher was surprised at how well we scored. Ms. S said that whenever she was grading papers she would look for Ed's to see the funny short answers or comments there.

Back to Aaron. Aaron is a different story. He enjoys not conforming or taking part in the school-wide "popularity contest." He told me not to conform to the status quo. So I try not to whenever possible. It leads to "unindividualism," as we call it.


This, like all other aspects of 10th grade was very different. Instead of having a 40 minute lunch, there was a 29 minute lunch, driving some of us to alter our activities. Avoiding Eric included doing other things at lunch. I usually stayed moving. After 4th period, I'd grab my book and take it to the English class and leave it in the "doghouse" as BIG Bill [Travis] and I knew it. Then we'd go to Herr Milne's class to eat and talk. Sometimes we never stopped moving. The one thing that I almost never got Bill to do was to go into the "world," the area outside, to the west of the bungalows. Since lunch was so short, if you blinked you'd miss most of it. Lunch was also enjoyed with Corey Carroll, Traci Flint, and our mutual friends at Traci's "sacred tree" that she started last year. I've seen as many as 12 people there. [This bunch was a kind of evangelical Christian group of friends from "the other side of Balboa."] Well, I think I hear the bell…

Period 5, Drama with Mrs. Shirley—

When I signed up for drama I looked forward to being in Mr. Hollenbeck's class. However, I found out otherwise. Mrs. Shirley is a nice teacher but like anyone else she has some faults. One is that she is too naive to what the students are up to (on stage or off). The other is that she just CAN'T SEEM TO KEEP THE CLASS TOGETHER!!! It's like trying to have a tug of war with a big truck—IT DOESN'T HAPPEN.

In drama we would do a variety of plays and other oddball dramatic pursuits. Improvs were one of those, of which Paul Kobiashi (the less we say about him here, the better) like to take part in with a certain female three years his junior! Again, back to Mrs. Shirley's naiveté…if she had any idea of the meaning of Paul's discourse (on stage, mind you) he would be in more trouble than the "U" grade he has in the class. In a room full of rowdy 9th graders, many found it hard to believe Ed (sic) could stay calm and reserved while some didn't appreciate the "E" grade I had while they were getting "U"s, which was still too good compared to what they actually deserved. Gee. I must be doing something wrong.

Period 6, Inglitch—Or, "I'm an engliSh teechur n its grate!"—

With Mrs. Barnard it was very lax. One could often move the due date back a few days or even weeks. Back to Big Bill (one of the many aliases he got from me). Bill sat backwards in the class, facing the back wall. He had his own name for himself: Shadow Demon. Now, I'm not sure if that's worse than Mr. Ed, or better. But mine gets used more often than his. Mrs. B. did a good—no, a great—job of choosing the most boring stories in the available books. If it wasn't so easy to turn in a paper a week late and not be penalized for it, my grade wouldn't have been an "A." The end of the day is not the time to have an academic class!!! Bill and I had an offbeat comic strip where some fighter jets would do some weird things. He would draw and put his own subtitles and then give it to me to put my two cents in. It was a departure from the ordinary.

SO, What I am trying to say is…

Tenth grade, the most ******* school year I've ever $%@#*&^% been in. This year was dead. However some things added life to it—the anticipation of the International Plastic Modelers Society contest in April and getting an early case of senioritis [I guess this means I was feverishly working on models to the exclusion of all else.] I think winning every junior category award in one contest (sweeping two categories with three awards each, plus Best Junior on the perpetual plaque) was a unique trick. [It had more to do with me being the only junior there that night, and having enough entries to win all three awards in two categories.] Poor Ross Shekelton [sort of a big brother to me at the Command Post shop in my heyday there] never heard the end of my war story for months to come. This year I kept to myself but still got nosey. No popularity contest for Ed.

the command post hobby store business cardThis is actually the location where I worked, which was different than the one where I spent all my time as a "pseudo employee" a year beforeI managed to go to the Command Post every weekend for ten months straight. Weekend is defined here as Ross' shift (Sat-Mon). My starting point for this was the last week of July '88. It ended in the last week of May this year. It was, like school, routine, but where else do they have such a personal atmosphere and give discounts for "pseudo-employee deeds of valor"? The other thing is that hanging out there as long as I did (and still do) boosted my model building skill way up. The new Command Post crew also got me to break my golden rule that I set when Fritz was there: never to build an armor model kit [tanks, artillery, etc.]. Well, I took the plunge and did one. The next week I was back like usual. Jeff [my most frequent contest opponent, who did built armor models] was there too. I showed him the kit I was about to buy and said, "Jeff, this is #2 and at April's contest I am going to beat you at your own game—and good!" And we all know that story about the seven award sweep when everyone learned my name. By the time I am writing this, I've finished ten armor kits and five planes. That's why I was so %$$#^$%^ at school during the second semester. ES MUSS SEHR LANGWEILIG SEIN! SO VIEL DASS ICH HABE INS KLASSE GESCHLAFFEN! ES GIBT KEINEM MODELLE! [German: "It must be really boring. So much that I have slept in class! There are no models!"]

It was just too boring to follow the first semester's stoicness, especially when Aaron is there with his "high on life" attitude. Well, I think that's all, folks.

Hertzlichen ihr,

Mr. Ed

I love Shelby Duncan
[Before the rough times…]

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