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"I don't see how anyone would want to read it all for fun." —Robert Fripp

Monday
Jun242002

Music Notes

The news is good. Sort of. I can't claim the money is rolling in (it certainly aint), but it's alright here at Hog Heaven Central. I just restrung my acoustic guitar (rare enough, as I barely fancy myself a guitar player let alone one who plays acoustic, so my strings always go dead), and at this very moment, it's tuned in Robert Fripp's tuning style (C G D A E G), but actually a half step down (B F# C# G# D# F#). It's a wonderfully different tuning that I have visited upon occasionally for a few years. There is scarcely any similarity to any other guitar tuning. I get some ideas from it, though its a physically hard tuning to play in (added string tension, certain intervals are hard to reach.) I've also been dabbling in quartal harmony, which is neat stuff. One of my fave artists, Erik Satie used quartal harmony, and paved the way for a very cool 20th century musical device.

I also have this band thing I've been doing since January, with some changes to the lineup; it's been a trio mainly: Me on bass, Dom Piscopo on guitar, Whit Harrington on drums. Recently, a feller named Jeremy Robinson has been involved on guitar. He is a helluva nice dude, good player and knows his shit. Todd Larowe played with us before Jeremy did, and Todd was right for the job, but he gets wickedly busy in the summer at his Sea World job and had to bow out. Bummer. Todd, as you will see in these pages, has been very influential on my stuff and in general, and a good friend. I hope we play together again. Jeremy, oddly enough, has some of those same qualities so I'm looking forward to writing new stuff and getting the quartet playing out. We have a few tracks at present, and once I get worthwhile recordings, I'll post a few here.

Friday
Jun072002

Welcome to TAPKAE.com

I was thinking about telling you about the fact that I just graduated from The Art Institute of California a few weeks ago, or that I am doing a lot of housework and remodeling, or that I have a new bass, or that I just scored a new website to build, or any number of things.

But I won't. What happens to have me excited at this very moment is the recordings I made of my friends in Loaf the other night. They came in, 5 piece and a vocalist strong, and laid down a couple of tracks, live, in one shot. I caught it all on the VS 2480—which is just starting to make sense to me now! I'm digging the mixes, despite the very rushed nature of the session being heaped on me with little warning. Rebecca Vaughan is a great singer and I love to have her sing here, because she can come up with the goods! Go to the random tunes page and hear some Loaf with Rebecca singing.

I've been in the studio more lately, trying to get into relearning my way around it lately. I've been on a path toward simpler engineering, but at the same time, I built myself into a 24 track system! Instead of doing the usual track-by-track recording I have done for years, I've been trying to play with various combos (mostly on bass) and record all that to multitrack. It's made me think faster. I look forward to putting up some mp3s of some of these projects. Stay tuned for more details...

Saturday
Dec232000

The Big Letter to Shelby—Time and Space, Unraveled

With the writing of this letter, I basically brought a dozen years of emotional enthusiasm to a standstill. What started in 1988 as a massively hope-filled encounter with her at a church Christmas play and after party crashed and burned exactly 12 years and five days later after a few hours' reconnection the day after she returned from a nearly 2.5 year stint in Tanzania for the Peace Corps. We sometimes called ourselves "space" and "time" because she was the traveling one and I was the one who tended to have a memory of things and was always seeking meaning in events. She was well traveled and I was quite rooted in San Diego. I wrote long letters, but ones that were far more restrained and measured than this one which just dives in and says everything that had been stacking up for all the years of our relationship, but particularly in the Peace Corps time. I knew I was losing my ability to keep on with my fanciful notions of our friendship ever turning into something "real," i.e., overtly amorous. Until I found this, I forgot that I had basically written a similar blowout letter to her at the end of August four months before. That it did not arrive in her hands was cause for a lot of consternation for me. I really wanted to not see her face to face without this message having been conveyed. So the day after she returned, I went to her mom's house and she showed off all sorts of items from Africa. We went to lunch and had an awkward experience that nearly perfectly mirrored one from 1991. We went to Costco and got her amazing volume of photos done in one hour. While there, I made a gesture of sitting next to her and she sprung up like she sat on a tack. On the way out, I told her I had been in touch with Robin during 2000, in an effort to start mending my life. Shelby told me Robin was "a rock in [my] garden." It was a tense experience that day that brought up all the wrong stuff and finally I broke. I came home and wrote this letter, and just as soon as I ran it through a copy machine, I drove it straight out to her mom's house and stuck it in the mailbox, not wanting to mail it on account of it being a Saturday night during the few days before Christmas. This had to happen NOW. I don't remember if there were any calls, but the months following had a few sharp tongued emails that were just as bad as I could have imagined, Shelby tearing into me for "falsifying the pretenses of our relationship and demeaning it in the way that [I] did." I took the opportunity to finally say more that isn't quite so pining as this. Crash and burn. It was a period that lasted as long as my schooling. Hopefully I learned a few lessons along the way. It was sometimes an arduous thing to put myself through. 

Images and more commentary appear in the Friends and Skool Daze galleries.

Shelby—

I can't fucking believe I need to write this letter again. Damn postal service! But I can't just let it slide past 1/3/2k1 [Shelby's short stay in San Diego was ending less than two weeks after she got back from Tanzania two days before this letter was originally written]. 

I don't know how to start. Twelve years of starry optimism may just be on its way out. I've enlisted the help of a few friends: Kevin Gilbert, Jeff Buckley, Nik Kershaw, Karl Strauss, and Radiohead. All the ideas here were generated while sober but the balls to put it on paper is Karl Strauss' fault.

To be blunt, I can't help but wonder where the trajectories of our respective sides of our relationship cross. And I'm only all abuzz right now because another year of confusion is simply intolerable. I should have done this in '98, but clammed. That's all I ever do around you (particularly so in person, like in '95). Our relationship is, except for a few days or weeks every few years, intangible. It's abstract. Imaginary. It only exists on paper, in space, in my heart—and I'll dare say, in yours too, though the huge question mark is to what degree it exists in your heart. Presently, and um, in the future

At the heart of this letter is my assertion that you're a very interesting, exceptional person. I've never changed my tune since we met 12 years ago. It's something I thought then and still believe it today. But to be frank, I want to move closer to your flame. It's something I've seen from afar for a long time. I know you turned this sort of thing down in the past. It's something at the front of my mind every time I think I've got the balls to speak up, but clam up instead because of the feeling that timing wasn't right. Well, fuck timing. I've stirred in this for so long now I've had ridiculous delusions. I'd not be one bit surprised to hear you say the same ting as you did when I propositioned you in high school [images of the naive personal ads are in the Friends gallery] and right afterwards. But for me to not try anyway is stupid. We're maybe almost ten years older than then. We aren't the same people. Things have changed for us both. It's not beyond the realm of reason to bring up currently relevant issues and give it another shot. I don't know what went into your declining my advances then, but I can understand. But now that the stakes are higher and we have a lot more history to support such discussion, I simply can't settle for imaginary relationships.

In one way I see our relationship deepening, but falsely so. I'm perfectly content to say nice things about you and my compliments are genuine, both between us directly and in my comments about you to other people. Any of my letters that "dug in" to personal dymanics and relationship talk were meant to hook you some. Why kid around? I think you're a great person and would like to escalate our involvement, despite such distance we are used to. I'm not even in a hurry—not in a hurry for that, especially after the whirlwind that was the Robin period. I saw that quick [plunge into a relationship] didn't suit me. So what's left? I'd not yet had a relationship that few over time into one that could support such levels of commitment.

The fact is, you're a person I could, in a strange way, envision that scenario working out. I respect you. I know you're a very "together" person on your own. I never had a chance to develop that perspective in advance of a relationship before—before heavy drama played itself out without the infrastructure to support it. It was the story of a castle built on sand. Look at how much baggage I carried after that episode. I'm scared of meeting people for that reason alone—girls, obviously, because they could crash like they did with Robin and I'd have shown no progress or growth even after years since breaking up with Robin. I've since mellowed in my assessment of Robin, but the relationship still has things to teach me. Sure, I've tried to let it go, but I wanted to raise the bar and try not to be caught like that again. As a result, I haven't yet met anyone that suits my current picture of what a relationship should be. Sarah came as close to that as I think I'll get, but she wouldn't go for it. She let me in on some things well after the fact—things I've taken to heart and tried to fix.

Sarah was to me a microcomic version of you, scaled to about one sixth of our experience. What saddened me is that it didn't pan out. It's useful lifespan was about a year. I got a lot of brushoffs from her; discreet ones. I'm not telling you this because I think you're a last resort. Contrary! You've always been the north star for me. I have no shame in saying that. Everyone else I've seen has been measured against some picture I had in my head about something that might exist between you and I. 

I'm not dense. I can read your letters and see things that tell me "no." I guess I just have a vision. I've had it for a dozen years. I don't know how I could top anything I've said to you already. I've laid it on thick for years. And you're not going for it. I'm not surprised as much as I'm baffled. Baffled at such gestures as avoiding any physicality except a hug or a knee slap or whatever. I still don't know what makes you tick. Maybe that's the hook for me. I may never actually figure you out, but the sport of trying is interesting. I guess I don't know what makes you jump up to avoid my sitting next to you, like at Costco today. The standoffish bit is funny sometimes but as regularly as it happens worries me. Do you just not like people at close range? Has anything I've said or written done anything to bridge the gap, even after 12 years? Does it offend you to be close to someone who is seeking your trust and compassion? Would another 73 years help? Does a head on your shoulder scare you? Do you need to put your head on anyone's shoulder? Forgive me but sometimes your independence bothers me if only because it distances me (at least) from having anything more than a spoken relationship and entry/exit hugs. I just marvel at the absence of such simple contact. It made sense in school, but after ten year of growth and change, love and loss, it seems that a 12 year old friendship could support some random contact. I feel so awkward needing to analyze it all this way. I wish I could just put my head on your shoulder, or vice-versa, and have the message come across from that gesture alone.

Maybe you do that on purpose. I dunno. There's so much speculation, empty spaces and gaps to fill in on my own, things I don't know about you. I also feel the pinch when I need to police my every word and action sent your way. Even before my early '95 Robin/abortion letter [Shelby's delayed holiday card response] I had to bite my tongue or hold back, lest you disappear for a while. I guess that day at the church with Judy was the model for how easily you're set off. For all I've told you, there's a lot that got put away because in self-censorship I decided not to risk it. Distance is already great enough between us and silence is no icing on that cake. I have a bunch of letters just filed away, some barely started, some almost finished, some in envelopes and so on. I didn't think it would be right to send them. They date back to 1994. Yet, a lot of them are good.

As I said, regardless of what your response is to this chatter, I can't let the next year slip by with this issue not being addressed. In fact, I need to wash my hands of it. I have far too many other relationships to work on now with my mom and family back in the fold. Key relationships, all. My dad and I just might as well have erased four years of progress in one day. I have to see that set straight, or at least my end of the bargain. I still consider you a key relationship but in the realization you may never look my way I just need clarity. Sure, I almost expect a ready "no" unless there's some wild card up your sleeve, but my sad realization is that since our relationship exists on papers and in my head, I don't know what there is beyond that. Our in-person visits are few and far between; strained at times and amazing at others. If I were to withdraw love interest from my end of the relationship I'm not sure what would remain because it's been my main focus for three years now, and one that obviously goes back to 1988. I'm scared that could be the case. You have been a real charge for me at times, a genuine friend that keeps it all going, and part of my interest in you is that we've had some elasticity over the years. That makes me believe in it. I think you're a beautiful person inside and out, and to be honest, I can't think of someone I'd rather have a chance with—someone I respect, someone interesting in tangible and intangible ways; someone who dared to be kind to me and others; someone unique. Those are some top-of-the-list things for me. I haven't met anyone ('cept Sarah, maybe) who lined up points like those. I'm willing to understand your wanderlust because it's one of the things that makes you someone I dig. I can't guarantee it, but you ma not meet someone who has the perspective of time to get to know this about you. You may meet people more impressive than I, whatever definition you give that, but I stake my claim. I saw that in you first!

[Here's where it gets interesting, particularly with the characters involved!]

At this point, I'm going to throw all caution to the wind. My friend Kelli and I had a few beers over a game of pool in March '98. I told her all about our little parking lot meeting [8/10/97] and told her how abuzz I was that you'd be back in San Diego after some five years and more. She responded with this line after I spewed forth a bunch of pro-Shelby talk:

"Why don't you just ask her to marry you?"

Yeah. Why the fuck not?

"Shelby, will you marry me?"

THERE! I said it! Something! Anything!

Amen.

If I never hear from you again, I'll understand. But I hope I do. Sorry for the mixed tone of this letter. Twelve years is a long time to be latent. I love you.

ed

Thursday
Apr201995

Hatemail

Every day at work I joke,
I toil, I strain.
I cry.
I want to scream.
Can't tell who or what or how or why.
Don't know why I'm there.

I said it was because productivity
is better than laziness.
But at the expense of my own sanity
and peace of mind?

And then again...
laziness?
By whose definition?
The same month
when I was away from work,
I played music.
I wrote songs.
I recorded music.
I studied music.
Guitar and piano.
I made two new friends,
and met more.
I bought stuff.
I saw my girlfriend,
(The most beautiful woman in the world to me at this time. We marked eight months together.) 
I saw a movie.
I saw my brother.
I saw my ex-singer's band.

But still, I need to work at a place
that leaves me raw like a nerve ending
ready to jump at the touch?
For five and a half fucking dollars an hour?

Of course my life is worth that much.
I'd rather be a postal worker.
At least the pay is better.
I could go on in my own frustrated existence.
But independent of home.
I'd be my own person.
Hey, that'd be nice too!
One less thing.
But for now...

My life is judged on how I work.
Not who I am, but how much I make,
and how hard I bust my ass to get that little. 

In that same month, I did all those things. But for many of those experiences, I felt broken... like I hadn't before, or any time recently. For the first time, my relationship was on rocky ground. It's not her. It's me. We've had our problems between us but never one as serious as this. I don't even feel as if I deserve her. No, I do deserve someone as special as her. I do. I've got enough shit to carry. I deserve a treat, something to thank myself for sticking it out, carrying on. I deserve the best that God has to give. Surely God gives rewards for hard work too.

Wednesday
Jun121991

Life At The Top

The following is where my introspective journal writing career started. I am posting this exactly 20 years to the day after I first wrote it on a small pad of paper on the day following my graduation from high school. I had been so surprised at the stream-of-consciousness recollection of thoughts and feelings and memories that within the next week and a half, I typed it on my word processing typewriter. (It had about two lines of text viewable before committing to ink, and a bad set of punctuation keys that didn't actually register the mark properly so periods and other marks I had to put in by hand.) I gave that typed copy to a few people mentioned in the journal. What I didn't realize when I did this new transcription of this entry was that the manuscript and the typed version were rather different. I was working from the typed one and only found after all but a page or two that I really should have used the original! I immediately set about reviewing and fixing things so they more closely resemble the manuscript. However, since it was pretty sloppy and written so fast, there are a range of small fixes I decided to implement, but the spirit of the original was reinstated, even as it is sometimes rather unflattering. I was surprised at how much the typed version deviated from the manuscript: cleaner and better structured at times, but there were some notably distorted parts that I wanted to bring back. Interesting to see how much of my present concerns or insights were in place at this early date. There are a few [bracketed editorial marks] to fill in some of the incomplete references, but pretty much this is what I wrote that day. Pictures that appear here might be found in the Skool Daze gallery, with even more notes. Thumbnails here will pop up upon clicking.

scan of the original manuscript of my first epic journal entryLife at the Top original manuscript

June 12, 1991

("The Day After the End of My Life")

Dear Reader,

I've given it much thought, what it is I've felt so good about in the past few months that should so compel me to want to pass it on. I am a very reflective person, some would say, who is living in the past. But with a past such as mine, who can't help but appreciate the present and look forward to the future?

I've never experienced a turnaround quite like that of my transition into high school, and later, my senior year at Madison. I've had so many people tell me what a change they have seen in me. (99% is for the better.) I usually think a great deal. I began thinking some two years ago about an event that happened some four years ago, about a month before I began high school. I had been a less-than-desirable person to know until that point. Looking back, I can see in 20/20 that what went on one August day on the grass at a church picnic was nothing short of incredible. And who knows? Maybe an act of God? Let me tell you about it. Inevitably it will be very detailed and nebulous as I try to make a connection of two in this, my little record of my thoughts.

I was never too well liked by many people. I was the type who could draw dissent. I was the opposite of charismatic, whatever that might be. I was making wrong turns at every corner. I imagine it was a leftover from elementary school experiences. I just did many things that made me disliked. Comments, actions, and so on. That day in '87 at Crown Point, I had been up to my usual mischief, being myself. I was being reckless on my bike around people, perhaps even endangering them. At the same time I had to choose between having "headgear" or having teeth pulled as part of orthodontic work. (As it was, I opted originally for pulling teeth.) I didn't want to wear headgear for the simple reason of the looks of it (certainly not at high school!) and for all the embarrassment that was sure to follow. Anyhow, everyone suggested to go the headgear route and take a little embarrassment. So I decided to take it up with Jerry in a talk. Well, to make a long story longer, I'll say that the problem with my attitude and my orthodontic decision came together that day.

scan of my report cards from 8th grade to 9th, with a wild upward shift evidentMy grades from 8th grade to 9th grade... notice the radical changeJerry took me aside to talk to me about my concerns over the headgear, as well as to tell me that he'd gotten a few complaints and/or suggestions about what directions my attitude about things was going. Needless to say, much got said that day. I can't remember what we talked about, but when we were done it was clear that something in me had changed.

Upon entering ninth grade, I had noticed a change. I had my braces, my headgear and a refreshed attitude toward some people. The thing that comes mind was a personality change that had come over me. Granted, there was some old me lingering, but I had a new chance to do things. The most noticeable change was my grades, which had been in places I had never seen. And the grades continued on the way up. I got some respect from people. I'll be back to this…

Quickly skimming through school...

shelby duncan in one of her goofy i-can't believe-i-am-with-ed-in-this-pic posesAll I needed to know about Shelby, I knew by my graduationOne of the other important people in my life is Shelby Duncan. Shelby is one of the most important people in my life, and one who I love very much. She was a major trauma [sic—people have asked me about this word but I knew what I was talking about] in my life. Life hasn't been the same since the night that I met her. December 18, 1988 was a turning point. If 8/5/87 was my entry into learning to be better liked, 12/18/88 was the night that taught me how to love. Arguably so, but I think June '89 wouldn't have happened if I didn't meet Shelby.

Shelby is the one girl that is my age that I loved the day I met her and continue to love. My love for her isn't for the way she looks. There are other places I could go to find better looking girls. Shelby is…Shelby, and I love her for it. She is a good person. I will always remember when we met, and under what circumstances. I'll remember what we did and talked about; how I felt; how inspired I was in a sea of insecurity. I could see that what went on that night was the start of a new chapter for me. The strangest thing is that she seemed to take an interest in me, which is what we all need. We talked about much. I told her things about myself that next to no one could have known. It was an amazing, free feeling. Something I had never been able to manage was actually communicating (a basic human necessity) with people my own age. Now there was not a problem with it. I miss those older days when we first met. There were some disappointments and more than a year went by before we actually talked like that, person-to-person, via AT&T. In February of '90 I expressed my concern for our friendship. We began to be able to talk seriously once again and in doing so, cleared some air.

Shelby (God, I love that name!) returns love in strange a strange manner. Shelby, to me, is one of those people whose love doesn't come back in what might be thought of as a usual way. Shelby is one of those people who makes you feel good about yourself—gives you confidence just by knowing her. It's all weird. Hard to explain. Sometimes it seems as if it's one-sided but now and then we in some way reaffirm our friendship for each other.

I know that in tenth grade, another change over me. I'm not sure if I should attribute it all to Shelby. Maybe, but we'll let historians figure it out. (Me, in five years!) [That's actually part of the original entry!] I'll return to Shelby for the section on 12th grade.

ed at drums, 1989My first drumset, dug out of the corner where it sat for five years

Eleventh grade was an improvement on tenth, but still had more shocks in store. I went into 11th grade with two significant things having taken place: I went in 100% dependent on church and its activities (church junkie). I also made the transition away from building plastic models to enjoying music and playing it (mind, I wasn't very good). I had been pounding around on the drums and got hooked on the stuff. People gave me more respect.

I took morality seriously. I also gained insight into peoples' actions because I was involved with people. I had personal problems that surfaced. I became much more human than before. I got acquainted with emotions. It was a growth-ful time. The summer of '90 was stressful, to say the least. I had been depressed since May that year. Problems with work, boredom at church and church activities, other people's bad news at Shalom group, routine… it was all getting me down and I didn't have an outlet for it. The car accident on August 1st and the resulting tension in the family wasn't helpful. Everything ganged up on me at once, including problems with my dad. It all got me down. I wondered about suicide. I wondered if I could keep all this stuff with me. I talked it over with Jerry and I came out ahead once again. I guess I felt detached from my church, see how much time I'd lost by being at work. Looking back, if I had seriously considered the other side, I'd have missed so much and I can't bring myself to consider what would not have happened if I did kill myself. All I can say is that summer '90 sucked and I came out a wiser person. business card to the command post store where I workedThe Command Post where I worked my first jobYes, I lost my job, but it really wasn't for me any longer. I never thought I'd say this, but I didn't appreciate life until I got back into school. Let me tell about 12th grade.

TWELFTH GRADE!!! I can't believe it. All of it was incredible. I wasn't a dynamic year [with the heaves and sighs of the prior year], but it showed off for the first time what I could do and be. It wasn't dynamic; it was awesome. Twelfth grade started for me when I got the senior pictures taken. It was then that I realized what I could do as a senior. It foreshadowed what '90-'91 would become for me. After canceling the session twice earlier in the summer, I finally went in late August. And I'm happy I did. The experience itself was one to make me happy. I walked out of the studio with a smile (a leftover from the session). I finally felt the urge to do the things my dad told me to do…that is, to get involved. I never denied how much better things would be if I was active in school. a respectable pic from my senior poses. sorry for the glasses. the drum was nice and new thoughOne of the posed shots that came out pretty alrightI just made excuses. In my senior year, I decided there would be no more of that. I walked into a world of things and feelings that had been unseen, and unexperienced by my senses. Let me try to describe 12th grade.

I started it with an enthusiasm that I imagine all seniors have. It was the "last year" attitude. The Senior Ego, if you will. Whatever it is, I caught draft of it. In class, I became more assertive and too more risks than before. Big risks—like talking to people and being myself. The best part of it was that I didn't feel insecure about doing it. I became much more outgoing for the better. I met new people and older acquaintances became closer. I lost a great deal of my fear of people. school newspaper with article on the new exchange studentsTALON article on the incoming exchange studentsOn the first week or so, I met Stephan Rau. He is (was) a German exchange student. I didn't get to know him well until February. In the mean time, we talked and got to know something of each other. I didn't give it much thought that he'd become one of my closest friends, and I his. I'll return to Stephan in more detail. How couldn't I?

Back in class, I became more assertive and took more risks than usual. They were risks such as talking to people, answering questions, being myself and being proud of it. Basically I became much more outgoing. I met new people and became closer to older acquaintances. I lost fear of people. a progress report from journalism class with a rather undignified C- grade and a needs improvement mark for citizenship. also mentions making some trouble in the editing roomI wasn't always the objective journalist you see before you...Accidentally I became a member of the school paper, the TALON. Also accidentally I ended up on the drum line, until the season was canceled. I joined the Future Educators of America group out of an interest in becoming a teacher, partially inspired by my third grade teacher, Mrs. Charlotte Eastland.

I remember one night in the first week of the senior year (September 2, 1990), when I laid awake thinking until 2 am. I must have thought about a million things. I know I had history and its importance on my mind, inspired by government teacher, Mr. Steinmetz. I thought about love: who I love; who loves me; how it can touch you. I thought about how insincere relationships are. I thought of so many things I wanted to say. I also thought of my past, of Eda, whom I love very much and how I've been touched by her love. [We were in clandestine, secret correspondence around this time, and reunited openly early in 1992.]

Once I got up the next day, I made it a point to confront Mrs. Eastland with the idea of passing my thoughts onto her kids. She and I talked for a few hours one day after school. She and I talked about things for hours that day. Eastland has made a bigger mark on me in a few days than the year that I was in her class! It was another one of those talks—one that gives you the strength to do anything, and anything less is criminal. It was so inspiring that I'd feel bad if I didn't do my damnedest to live up to their hopes. I had felt so good that others had sincere confidence in me. The talk never happened in the classroom but I dropped in on my days off to help out in class. I enjoyed working with the fourth graders. I've always been a person who looked up to role models and I fully understand how important it is to kids to have one. I wanted to much to become one, and to pass along what's been given to me.

In the real world, I was enjoying sharing my Rush or Jethro Tull. I was somewhat proud of seeing my work in the TALON. Drums Across California (DAC) taught me a little about drumming before the instructor dropped it on account of people goofing off. All my other classes were okay. Computer class sucked but I became a minor cult figure in there, as in others. Teacher Mary Wavrik was a bitch, but hey! She's entitled to be. Math I had to work on, with a lot of Phil Calabrese's help. Government class was a great experience. I was about #3 in the class and many looked up to me, which is a great feeling for those who don't get that kind of treatment often. Mr. Steinmetz is a care-full teacher who has a great deal of love for his students and wants to see them succeed. He is well liked and I'd rank him one of the top three teachers I've had, if not #1. If I ever become a teacher, I'd like to be like him. This is the class in which I met Stephan. We both think Steinmetz is the best teacher.

steve rau at dinner the night before graduation. handsome fellow, he.Steve RauRight now I am finding it hard to go not telling what a great year I had without mentioning and indeed telling about Stephan Rau. So much happened after I became acquainted with him that it is not easy to not say anything about him.

In a sea of superficiality, there lie islands of sincerity that lie uncharted. A friend. None of us can do without one. This what I discovered, and wondered how I ever got along without one. I found out what it is to have and to be a friend.

Stephan helped bring out the best in me. He is like Shelbdweeb (sic) in that I could be completely at east and be much more relaxed. I felt good by just knowing he was there. Happily we became good friends…well, in one night. For most of the first semester, having him over at lunch and stuff like that. I told him about my experience taking German class and all that stuff. I told him that I'd be sure to go see a movie or laser show with him, etc. Except I had no transportation [he lived about seven miles away in Tierrasanta] so nothing got done. Sadly we lost some valuable time. (My name, Edward "procrastination" Loring Lucas.") That seems to be my life story but as is my senior year, I made the best of what I had. Fortunately, not too late. Finally I decided that time was being wasted and I would not let that happen. His American stay was nearly half over and all I did was make lame excuses. Over the five or six months that we really became better friends, we've do so many things it's unbelievable. We've seen movies, laser shows, races, car shows, Balboa Park, Seaport Village, Julian. Pacific Beach… so much it's hard to believe. And that's only scratching the surface. That's only the things we've done. Talking with him is as easy as talking to Shelby, if not easier.

Thinking back to one Sunday in February—the 17th—I can remember when I realized Stephan would become one of my closest friends. It was completely amazing. I am rarely at ease quite like I was that day. We talked about everything under the sun. We spoke of religion (which I rarely talk about), friendship, love, God, spontaneity, education, intimidation, music, not having a mother, family, careers, life, philosophy (our own), and the list goes on and on. As you can infer, anytime you can talk like that to someone about all that, you're bound to become close. We talked about things we've never mentioned to others before. Of course, we were stuck for something to say the next day, but there was a bond very well established.

One of the most noticeable qualities about our friendship has been that when I am with him, I can do anything. I'm not scared. We functioned like a team. Sidekicks. I was confident. We became like brothers and began to think alike. He was something of a brother to me. But more than a brother. Knowing him freed me from a binding shell that kept me to myself. I'm not sure whether I would have been able to free myself. It was something I'm not sure if I could have broken out of. But now I am much more sure of myself. I felt so much better about myself and others, and I'm sure it rubbed off on him. He was here at a crucial time in my life. Many elements in my life came together.

February 10th was one of my favorite memories from 12th grade. It was the first time I'd seen Shelby in eight months. She had been going to night classes near my house so I got a chance to see her twice a week for a precious few minutes. But from the end of her classes about this time last year until February, all I communicated with her was over the phone. So as you might imagine, February 10th was a very happy day for me, being able to have two of my closest friends together. I also met Trudi Lepique, another exchange student from Germany who later became my prom date. Shelby is always pretty to my mind but that day was even better. It was classic. We went to Balboa Park and enjoyed a few hours together. The four of us… we were only four one other time, but for me it was absolutely lovely. It was an inspiring day. Stephan and I continued to do stuff on the weekends.

the two performance wonder band subliminal gestures, formed just for the talent show and named well after the fact.Subliminal GesturesSometime in February I was asked to play in the talent show at school. Once again, I took up the invitation. Carpe Diem, as I learned from watching Dead Poets Society with my youth group just a couple years before.

TS '91 marked what I'd say was my highest point in high school, socially speaking. It was a #1 desire to get up and play live in front of an audience at school. I had the strongest desire to do it for nearly a year. I'll tell you now, it was simply a dream come true. The show kicked minor ass and boosted me to a small time celebrity status which was nice. A new thing to me was people I didn't know telling me what they thought [specifically a girl I'd never met complimenting the show later that same weekend at a carnival event held on campus but otherwise not a school function]. I didn't hear any negative comments. I wanted it so badly but it [forming a band around Tull and Rush influences] kept eluding me. Finally, when it did happen, it happened. We did it royally. But alas it was over.

the infamous have you seen me poster with giant print and one picture of katrina foster the australianKatrina Foster, aka WombatOut of the TS '91 came the infamous HAVE YOU SEEN ME? poster. That was great. I won't go into it except to say that if a little stung for April Fool's day did something like lose me some "friends," well, I'd like to offer my thoughts on how superficial friendships are here. It was fun, and I don't really care if I don't know Kate and Wombat (Katrina) because it was a joke and meant to be taken as such.

A prom. You are supposed to go to yours in 12th grade or be a loser ("Huh!" [an in-joke saying with Ross Shekleton from the Command Post, "Huh! Loser!"]). I had been warned by my dad to make all efforts to go. I didn't have a clue who to ask. I asked Shelby but got the response that I expected. However she thought it would be cute for me to ask Trudi while she was interested in Stephan. Well, that's not what I had in mind. After asking about five girls, I eventually got Trudi [thanks to Shelby setting us up]. I have no gripes about that. putting on trudi's corsage at her house. she looks pretty angelic with her pulled back hair and black dress and red corsage.Trudi LepiqueI had a fine time and think it was more special for the two of us. Over in Germany, they don't have such things. I mean, an American can go to as many proms as s/he wants but it wouldn't be the same. I got my answer a short week before prom. Time enough to get dressed up nicely and get fixed up with a cool car and dinner at Tom Ham's Lighthouse. No, I didn't get laid, but hey, that's okay. I'll live. (Well… she would not get any complaints from me.) Actually Trudi was very beautiful. Shelby was good to me and fixed me up with three rolls of pictures. It was enjoyable. I had warned Trudi in advance that I couldn't dance, and I guess I proved it! Oh well. Big deal.

Getting back to serious stuff. I'd like to talk about the last few weeks of school. Particularly Tech Math class.

a progress report for algebra class: F in academics, Excellent in citizenship.Here is why I needed the tech math (geometry) class: I can't hack algebra!I took tech math in order to pass high school, and it seems the whole class did too. Much of the time I got the highest grade in class for the semester I had the class. That took some getting used to. As you may know, I am no math genius. Usually I never get the highest grade in math! The high grades put me in demand in that class for the cheaters. The teacher, Fred Hueneberg, is not known to be anyone's favorite teacher. Generally, far from it. The whole class took the course in hopes (assumption?) that it would be incredibly easy. For me it was almost that, but most people there didn't get it and blamed the teacher for their crappy grades. It they want to screw around, fine. Most of them did, but only a few actually made an effort to pass, although it was pretty late to do any good. I was volunteered to tutor Tina Murphy and Tina Moraga when they decided that the time had come to get out. I agreed because I had known Tina Moraga since first or second grade and I felt for her. I didn't want to fail, nor did I not want to not help her. I seriously thought she couldn't she could get by, but I was in for a surprise.

The week before school got out I tutored those two Tinas in geometry. It was pretty basic stuff but they didn't have a handle on it and I did. The test that we took the next day was nothing short of shocking when we got it back. One got the same grade as me—an A—and the other got one point less, still an A-. I used all the positive encouragement that I could, for at times it got a bit hairy. Tina Moraga lacks a lot of basic understanding for math and admits defeat early and gets emotional. Needless to say, I was pretty pleased with the chapter test results, and was willing to do more. All we had to worry about was a little final. We met three more times and crammed. In the end of the math episode, I don't think either of them passed (certainly not well), but math is not what I wanted to teach them.

Ed (not Ed) Guerra joined us and we enjoyed some math. The tutoring was therapeutic for me. I got a chance to learn about my students. Tina Moraga is a fragile person. She doesn't have self confidence. She doesn't believe in herself and I think no one else but her very closest friends do. Sadly, Tina has been told that she can't do stuff. Even more sad is the fact that she believes the ones who tell her the negative things. She's playing their game. Her boyfriend isn't terribly supportive offer and I've watched how he can (possibly) unintentionally hurt her. To me it is a shame that Tina is being so mistreated. She is a good girl; I love her because I understand what she's going through. I've had people tell me what I can't do. And if that's all you hear, you begin to believe it. Tina isn't all brains but she has a youthful energy that I believe if she puts it in the right direction can take her anywhere. I am her friend and am concerned about her.

Her life has been—pardon my French— shitty. She has had incredibly family problems that obviously left their mark on her. It's just a shame that Tina is so taken advantage of. It now bothers me when I hear someone talk about her negatively. Just yesterday I hear someone call her a bimbo. If it wasn't ten minutes from graduating, I felt like knocking that guy around for offering the unsolicited comment. It's just that I know what she is going through and couldn't stand for it to happen me, and I hate seeing it happen to her.

During the tutoring, I didn't allow negative comments. I told them to think positively and advised them on how to take a test. I offered my complete faith in them. I drew strength from Tina, Tina, and Ed (not Ed). I hope I inspiring for them. While we had those three hour sessions, I gained an understanding of them and myself. I saw myself in many people this year, those three included. I knew what it was like to be where they were and I put myself in their shoes. If I were them, I'd not want to be let down.

The three of them passed school but I don't think they passed the test. I hope I instilled some self confidence in Tina Moraga. I am so happy for them and am glad that I had a chance to be a part of their success. I just want to be a friend. Good luck to Tina (x2) and Ed (not Ed). Thanks! [The Ed (not Ed) think is a slight reference to the band Was (not Was), but without knowing anything about them but their odd name.]

Well, twelfth grade has been a relatively uneventful year. —NOT!!! To the contrary. It combined the finest elements from my life. In it can be found renewed friendships with people from my childhood, academic success, youthfulness, seriousness, and the love that's been given to me all along that only recently I've been able to give back through new outlets.

[Here's where I am profoundly embarrassed to have transcribed this so faithfully in 2011. Just suspend your disbelief! I'll pardon your groaning. I am groaning myself. I told you I came from a conservative family, pretty well shaped by the military.]

me at my drumset with a small flag stuck into the hardware in front of me, and on the wall behind is a pretty big american flag. during the height of the Persian Gulf war.Trust me, I'm groaning too!One thing that often goes through my mind is the way we fought and won a whole war in less time than one school year. How many senior classes can claim that? The war had such a positive impact. It was incredible. The successes created a bonding between people. It was obviously more than a strategic victory; it was also a victory for everyone at every level. It created a good feeling that everyone benefited from. I suppose a little of that feeling was contagious and I guess I caught it. Oh well, if that is sickness, I want to be sick!

[Alright, if you want to go out for a smoke, or to spit, meet back in a minute. I'm gonna go wash myself.]

Another big part of my life is church, although I've been less active lately. Here is a little history of me and CCCPB. As I said in depth in my 1989 memories, I got quite involved in church that year. In January of '90 I was elected as a deacon. I did what I could as a deacon. Looking at it from now, I think I tried too hard to please others and not look out for myself like I should have. That got in the way when I got the job at Command Post and tried to form the band, which became a driving interest. I got terribly confused, which led to my depression. Anyway, I enjoyed trying to be a good deacon. I did what I could with the church sort of set it first. When I became interested in forming a band, I made that a driving interest. In the mean time, I lost some of interest in the repetition of preparing for church every week. I was becoming more selfish, but to the point where I was getting what I needed to keep myself going alive. I mean, take some time to get a rest. I lost the drive to push for others.

the page out of the church newsletter with me and jenny slaughter as the year's graduatesJenny is daughter of youth pastor Judy. Shelby came to our church on Jenny's invitation.I decided I'd surprise everyone and not show up for one week. I must have said that for seven or eight months. I set dates when I'd skip a week (after my birthday, after Christmas…) I never did skip… until February. I became increasingly dissatisfied with church. Shalom group was boring. No fun activities. Adventure class was a drain of my energy to get up and go to. One person even started probing me when I skipped class and didn't give an answer. It sort of bothered me having to support my case every way I turned. All I wanted was to see Shelby. [She lived five blocks away from the church so I went to pay her a visit but apparently she wasn't home. So we went to Balboa Park the next week—the first I saw of her after eight months.]

me and steve at the senior breakfast at humphrey's by the baySteve RauI turned some heads when I finally skipped a week in early February. I wanted to find out what it was like to exercise my freedom. I got a couple calls from some in the church, but I was unimpressed. They offered some of the support that I thought had fallen off since the zenith of activity the year before. I showed up the next week for convenience and decided to keep away for a time. Sure enough, no one missed me the next time. I was enjoying Stephan's company. I was eager to make friends with him. And a good thing it did work out. The people at church said they wanted me to rejoin them. So I tried it out and gave it another chance and got another negative response, so I decided to stay away for even longer and did so until I came to a few Shalom group meetings in May. Now I am on better terms now that Stephan is gone and I have no excuse (other reason) for skipping so much. I may not be in church on sunday but I'll try to get into other stuff.

I suppose I'm nearing the end of my paper. Conclusion time. I don't know how I'll be able to try and sum up the time I've had at high school and certainly in 12th grade. The last few years have been pretty remarkable. It is tough trying to sort out things that "aren't important" because all of it is. It's just that some of things will get lost. I learned quite a bit about others, God, friends, parents, and above all, about myself. "Those who say the sky's the limit are limiting themselves." Who said that? Someone in the class of '89. What can you say when so man open up so much? Thanks? That hardly seems appropriate. What do you say to people like Stephan and Shelby or Jerry or Judy who have somehow brought out the best in you…The stuff you didn't even know you're made of. How does one express the love for everyone who has somehow touched my life? "Uh, I love you"? So naive, but effective. Do I say it or show it? I think the best way to show your love for someone is to be yourself. Make them proud of their contribution to you. I can't say thanks enough to those who played a part in my life. I can't say, "you know who you are" because they probably don't. I've had a revolving cast of characters, with many starring roles—many are people I just look up to, silently.

trudi, shelby, steve, and me in a goofy lineup at shelby's house a couple days before graduationTrudi, Shelby, Steve, MeLeaving the Madhouse [Madision High] and high school in general won't be easy even if it is necessary. I'll be missing a few of my dearest peer-friends. Stephan and Shelby at the top of the list. Trudi to a lesser extent, but all having their part in my mind. And heart… As a group, or individually these are the people who left a mark on me. Thank you so much, people!

There is so much that I've failed to include in this little work. (Little?) Some of it will be forgotten, or other parts will remain vivid as if it happened to me yesterday. All of it is me. I've tried to make all of this so sincere as possible. It's race that I am so liberal with my thoughts. But, it's a good thing. I hope this has offered a taste of what life was like at the top with me, '87-'91. May there be many more.

steinmetz our government teacher, steve's dad, me, and steve immediately graduationHarry Steinmetz, Gerhard Rau, me, and SteveI'm glad it's over. Sigh of relief. Actor exits stage left… [Yes, a Rush reference.] but it will be a bittersweet ending (ending?). Thanks reader, for wading through this shit.

That's all, folks!

Edward Lucas
June '91

Ich liebe dich, Shelby. 1988-?

Sunday
Dec311989

Ed's 1989 Summary...ish

The following is a kinda-faithful transcription of the journal I wrote summing up what impressed me as the first year filled with coming-of-age events and transitions. I have dated it here so that it falls at the very end of 1989, but there is a part of it that was written as late as February 1990. The year 1989 was the transition between 10th and 11th grades, sure, but it was also a year when I took up music, plunged into church life, had my first heartaches, and grappled with how to hold it all together. The original is typewritten on paper, so it is just a stream of consciousness flow with no effort at editing. I was far from becoming fond of typing, and the original has dreadful use of punctuation, sentence structure, and flow. There are extensive handwritten notes and yellow highlighted sections that help explain or call attention to particulars. The last couple pages are written equally badly in manuscript. In other words, it is a mess. Of course I never intended for it to be seen online! This is not a verbatim transcription though. I straightened out some of the gnarly sentences but tried to retain the message. I decided to leave the flow intact, even though there are points where I thought I was ending it, only to find I had forgotten bits that sent me off on other tangents. It is very much the diary of a 16 year old who has his head and heart exploding with possibility, even while in a rather conservative setting. A number of things are a bit embarrassing, but in the interest of presenting a minimally varnished picture of how I progressed, here it is. Transcribed July 2011. [Additional contemporary comments are in brackets.] Earlier handwritten ones were worked into the text if possible, and sometimes appear in parentheses. You also might want to read a more recent attempt at telling the 1989 story.

Nine-teen-hundred-eighty-nine.

I'm not too sure WHY I'm doing this—perhaps a "follow up" to the school year one. DISCLAIMER: this is purely improvised, however, true. [That means it is really bleepin' scatterbrained.]

This year has been surprisingly good. It never stood still. Always moving. Quite a few changes have taken place—most of which for the better. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

In December 1988, a week before Christmas, I met Shelby Duncan at one of my play rehearsals for the church. Just another guest of someone, I supposed. That's probably what I had in mind and until the next week, that was true. Funny thing was, the evening of the play itself, she came to me for conversation. (That usually wouldn't happen, and I still don't know why, but I won't argue.) After the play, everyone went to the Snyder's for their party where Shelby and I continued our conversation. What we talked about I forget, but I wish I could remember. We exchanged phone calls and saw each other at church. About then I suggested we go see my model in the Aerospace Museum. [A winner in the junior model contest there. I won two consecutive years with different entries. It was a rather notable thing for the 14-15 year old I was then.] I'd treat. It didn't materialize. Neither did the next attempt. Certain events occurred and her attitude (toward me at least—many others of our age didn't like her) seemed to worsen. In addition to that, the problem of what to wear to church toward the end of January didn't get better—the Salt [father, I called him the "Old Salt" around this time] had to have his way here. So, between not having "proper dress clothes" and feeling slightly rejected, I decided not to go to church. As it turned out, both Shelby and church would not see hide nor hair of me for seven and five months, respectively.

About that time a series of events took place in February: I lost almost all interest in things academic (but my grades didn't show this), and I switched to KGB-101 FM for rock and roll instead of the Top 40. I was also told by the orthodontist to wear six rubber bands in some most awkward places. After trying them on once, I refused to wear them for six weeks (which was exactly the prescribed period). I can only say that I said "NO!" What I did have to say is too wretched for words, even if "NO!" is a gross understatement. [This kind of language dots journals for years to come, almost as if I was writing for my grandmother and withholding the real punchy stuff I wanted to say. You can imagine the veiled tellings of my early girl experiences in 1992!]

My algebra class, my wonderful algebra class, was no more. I was set back. It seemed that I never really worked in a math class that year, allowing more time for high school's finer pleasures: goofing off. Aaron Summerville played a part in this mess called 1989.

When I started listening to KGB-FM I thought it might last a few weeks, maybe less. When I was still on B-100 or whatever [Y-95, probably], the DJ said about the Grammy awards the night before, "Guess who won best heavy metal? JETHRO TULL!" I didn't have a clue what was so special, and if was heavy metal, I really didn't care. I found out when I heard Bungle in the Jungle on KGB. I ironically thought, oh this sure is heavy metal! As it turned out, I liked Tull (which again is an understatement). I only have all of their albums! (Actually, at the time of writing, I have 70% of their albums and don't plan on stopping yet.) I like them genuinely. I like them for the simple fact that for the most part no one my age likes the group. The trouble with that is I can't get anyone my age to try Tull, except Aaron and some others. Do you think they might something against a 20 year old rock band that uses flutes and mandolins? Funny thing is, I didn't buy any albums for a long time, and when I did, it was a 65 song compilation set for $5 instead of $45ish. (Someone made a copy for me.) I could write all day on the creative aspects of why I like Tull. Once I had the compilation set in hand I wanted to get a regular album so I got their newest album [Rock Island]. It wasn't in stores a week before I had mine. After that, my collection took off, getting about one tape a week or so. [For a few months till Christmas when I got a CD player then had to decide which of the Tull albums to get on CD, even if I already had them on tape.]

I forgot to say that some months before I started to collect Tull I had already collected some Def Leppard. In fact, I got all four of their albums. That went fast—the only two that I wanted to have I had in two weeks. The other two are terrible [On Through the Night, Hi 'n' Dry]. Def Leppard is another BAND that caught my ear with a characteristic sound that can't be duplicated. While the sound was nice, I had other reasons for liking Def Leppard.

I had been hearing some stories about one armed drummers in some rock band. At the Command Post, spending nine hours a weekend there, Ross Shekleton would joke about and do cheap impersonations of Rick Allen (hand behind his back, drumming like Rick would appear). I wanted to find out more. So I finished off the collection and later ordered their book.

Drum Revival. It was about time.

Early in the summer, Adam Calabrese approached me asking to buy my drum kit. I said I'd sell, gave him a price, etc. He couldn't pay that much so down it went. Still too much for him to pay, even at $300. The folks told me to make my best effort to sell my drums (which I didn't), and now they probably wish I had. [I did end up selling the kit about the time the original journal was completed in February 1990. Then I bought a kit more to my liking.]

I lived at the G-parents' during the summer and sometimes I just wanted to be alone at my house to kill time. One day, not too long after Adam asked to buy the drums, I picked up the sticks and tried to play out of the book. (Earlier on, I used the kit for comic effect after a joke like on TV or radio.) When I had this down, I played to music. Sometimes I brought the stereo to the drums, and other times, the drums to the stereo—either parts of the kit or the whole thing. I did all this while the Salt was away. When I got a new bike I did this more often since I could transport myself. First, I began playing Def Leppard but as my collection of Tull got bigger, with more selections, that's what I played. Soon I quit using any book as my confidence and endurance increased so that I could play longer, faster, and smoother and not care who was listening. After I started to use earplugs I'd go through two hours if homework would allow. (All too often in the first quarter of 11th grade I paid for drumming with my grades.) The reason I got back into drumming, I think, is because of what Rick Allen did for himself; going back to playing after his accident that left him without a left arm. While his situation and mine have no similarities, I still thought it brave to do what he did. It set me thinking, what's my excuse?

Models

I had been planning to win "Best Jr." award since the day I laid eyes on it. By the time all those things were happening in February I had a project going nicely that I was planning to take to the local IPMS (International Plastic Modelers Society) contest in April. That was all fine. My boredom with school and a contest that I was set on winning fit together beautifully. Part of the contest's success was due to the fact that I started to do armor kits after a semi-serious pact with myself and others to never do armor kits. So, as you might predict, school was put on the back burner for a few weeks. As it turned out I never had a return of interest in school like I thought I might. When I figured out that I had lotsa time left I started work on other projects. Soon I had three, four, five models completed in about equal numbers of armor and aircraft. Just then did I realize the rules of the contest—three constitutes a category. Hey, I could win this. Fill a category of armor, a category of aircraft… So that's what I did. Three of each so the category would be split in my favor.

I invited my friend Traci Flint to join me at the contest that night since I felt I could win. So I did! I didn't want to let anybody down! And brother did I win! I only swept two categories and too the darn plaque I wanted for such a long time. After that night, the local club added a new rule to their list: no sweeps. I wonder why.

That wasn't the only contest. I still had a national contest [hosted in San Diego] to think about. While the hype for the national was not as much as for April's, I did keep it in mind even though I thought I couldn't stand a chance. The events there were boring and killed the feet but I suppose it was worth it. The results were okay. I got four plaques for Best Junior/Out of the Box; Best Junior/Sci Fi; Best Junior/Armor; Best Junior/Miscellaneous. My armor entry, an M-1 Abrams tank, wasn't even finished! The paint still smelled from being painted the day before. Traci wasn't there that time but she brought good luck at the next quarterly local contest. And that was the last I saw of the contests. I might go back after some time but I think I killed the hobby with all the model madness in the spring and all the winning in April. In February I warned my leading competitor Jeff (who built armor kits mainly), that I was going to beat him at his own game someday. It's nice to keep your promises sometimes.

Church

This is another that took me by storm. The storm came early in the summer. The first thing that kicked it off was a high school youth group trip to see the movie Dead Poets Society. I learned a new term with that movie: carpe diem. Seize the day. It pretty much sums up this year. The movie was great but I wonder what the others thought of my super slurred speech. [I was just minutes from receiving my orthodontic retainer, and had not been seen at church for five months.]

I found out the vacation bible school was to be a lot earlier in the summer than I thought. It was then that I began to think again about returning after so many months off the scene there. I'm glad I went. I really had fun there. Made some new friends or reinforced some older ones. That experience was more important than the movie, and if it wasn't so good, things would be different now. Along with bay picnics I got into other things like bible study. Sometimes Jerry [pastor] or Judy [associate pastor/youth group leader] and I went to lunch to know each other better. On a couple of occasions we planned for our retreat in the Cuyamaca mountains where we started a new group for the high school age kids. At the first full group meeting in the mountains we talked about possible names and rules and topics that could be discussed. The official name is "Shalom Community" and it has a pretty binding covenant. Not contract. Covenant. The retreat was so, so fun for all of us that we found it hard to go start school the very day after we got home. I personally related it to coming off a high of sorts.

The thought of returning to school was rough enough, but there was also a stupid skirmish at home that threatened my next trip [to the annual church camp in the mountains] with the group a month later. I wasn't too sure if I could go, right up to the last week. The Old Salt kept changing his mind up until then. It was important to me to be able to go. Many had asked me to do so, and I said I would. Over all, the trip was fun but I know some things about people I partially wish I didn't. [It was really heartbreaking to find that church kids are no better with sneaking alcohol than any I might have dodged in my school environment. I had to retreat after seeing them nabbing their beer from the adults and going to the cabin bathroom to drink it. I went to my bunk and listened to Tull's album Crest of a Knave on my Walkman, one of the early experiences of an emotional connection to music as a disillusioned teen.]

In the mean time, the fall season was filled with as much church activity as I could take on. You can imagine the pride I felt when we got a group of seven together to see my model in the Aerospace Museum, and they all liked it too.

In September we finally put on a project that had been in the works for a month. Judy had arranged for the youth to do the entire church service on the 17th of that month. Some of those lunch dates were to assist in the progress of certain parts of the service. I had prayers; Jenny, Christine, and Shelby had the sermon. Believe me—this task is not like writing an average term report. It's not stating facts but reacher leading people in worship. Anyhow, that same day, some of us (Shelby and me among them) were presented bibles and officially recognized into the Adventure Group, etc.

The bible study group that I go to (where the younger members are in their 40s) decided to read a book by Martin Buber, a Jewish philosophical anthropologist. I wasn't denied the chance to come along. Buber is one of those guys that someone my age usually would not touch with a ten foot pole (and maybe longer), but since I took a different course with a lot of things this year, seizing the day, this seemed to fit right in with the rest of the stuff I'd been doing. About that time our Christmas play was being rehearsed. The play this year was a bit more serious but that's not to say it wasn't funny. It was done better with people who had tougher roles. It went well considering we performed a week before usual and I hadn't been onstage for six months. One day at rehearsal I took a break between my parts to go see Jerry dig a hole for a tree at a work party right outside. As I watched and talked to him (that much was fine), I suddenly saw something rush toward me from the ground. Then I sensed I was all wet. But the water wasn't all that hit me. The pipe that Jerry hit was under about six inches or so of dirt. So in the middle of rehearsal I stood there wet and muddy, wondering and laughing about it all. Even funnier was when I went to Judy's up the hill to see if I could get cleaned up and have my shirt dried. I heard voiced inside as I waited patiently outside for someone to open the door (while I had my soaked shirt on). OPEN UP if you're here! No reply. So I left. It took a little bit of explaining. Once Judy came to the rehearsal that day I calmly explained that I'd been waiting outside her door for five minutes, all wet. She told me she'd been in the yard and Jenny was asleep. So we laughed it off. I still wonder what the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting thought when they got some rain on their outdoor meeting!

School

A pointless narrative…

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth… And school. The Ed came along and saw that it was bad (school, that is). Ed said, "let there be music." So he called it hard rock and saw that it was good. Def Leppard was good but he needed a degree of refinement so he said, "let there be creative rock! and lots of it!" So he called it Jethro Tull and Ed saw that it was good and went out and bought as much as he could.

There's no doubt that in my book Tull is good enough to get in the way. That was part of the reason for my drop in grades in early 11th grade. A few other reasons include the sudden complexity of having six academic classes laid on me at once, and two of which are advanced credit classes that are linked as a single item (American history and literature). In those classes we started out reading The Scarlet Letter which I got hopelessly lost in by the first chapter. About then I gave up. Like I said, I'd put the drums in the living room, but a lesser known fact is that for a couple of weeks I even did my homework on the drum itself with a pair of sticks close by. And what about the wonderful summer followed up by this bunch of factors? And the church event schedule that got slightly out of hand? I'm gaining control over things now but I'm still finding what it's like to have to work to earn my keep. The grades are improving and I have all my tapes and disks to use and the use of my drums is not threatened like my models were in '85-'86. [My old man had a draconian disciplinary style those years. Upon getting a first progress report those years, he took all my toys and models away for much of the school year. He locked them into the trailer on our driveway. I used to sneak the keys so I could at least connect with stuff once in a while. But otherwise, I was rid of some of my childhood joys with this gesture.]

In the chemistry class I got lost in the mass of math—the same math I should have now (geometry) but don't have because of last year's mess. It only took the teacher until midway through the second quarter to discover that math was a minor problem for me! It wasn't just me. The teacher (that's the title of her job but that's not exactly what she does) couldn't teach. Her presentations were awful (awful confusing, anyway) but I did get a chance to catch some Zzz. Finally it was suggested that I get a new class to benefit my grades. I ended up in marine biology (not the study of the few and the proud, though). I'm attentive and the first test yielded an A—better than the Fs I was getting in chemistry.

About seven weeks into the first quarter, I decided to do something to fix the algebra situation. I was in it for the second time and thought it better to avoid it the next year too because I'd be losing possible credits if I had to stay in it, which I wouldn't allow. The grades were okay except for homework. I did little things to help get back some credit to get a C. Once I proved to my teacher (who taught the same class last year) that I could get a grade higher than a D. Then he went and dumped the whole class for his first love, basketball coaching. The teacher we got after Jim Thompson was a tutor. Before we switched I asked if our new teacher is as BS-able as he was. No comment from JT. The class is pretty good but I enjoy something different. Maybe a week before the Tull concert came to town I wanted to stir up some conversation with something that would draw fire—hopefully. So I came up with this to put on the desk: "JETHRO TULL RULES HEAVY METAL: Go see the concert at Sports Arena December 8 at 8." To make a long story short, I got a hold of a persistent person who responds each time if my message hasn't been erased. I've only met this luck in math class. In some other classes, I get really negative responses of none at all. I'm really careful about which class I do this in, except for math.

First Attempt to End This Thing

I really don't have a lot more to say so let's wrap it up. [Careful. It's not true.] I owe many thanks to good friends like Jerry, Judy, and Dee & Ells Snyder. In fact, I presented thank you plaques to Jerry and Judy on behalf of the youth of the church. These are some of the people who did some of the things that made 1989 one of my most successful years. But I found out that their concern for me went back into 1989 when they met me, though my attitude was not so acceptable then, I guess. They told themselves that I'd be welcomed into the congregation if they had anything to do with it. Well, give yourselves a pat on the back. I think you've done it. Also, Jerry has been set on making me feel good about myself and needed by someone. The time he needed someone to look over Matthew and Adam he called me first. I had to say no at first but I thought of all he's given me so I called back and said I had some favors to pay back so I'd do it for him. I made $15 but that's not what I was after.

And to the whole bunch of other people out there—at church; IPMS; Command Post; school; Shalom; CIA; FBI; BMW; CD; SD; CA; USA; USSR; UK; and those that are semi-unsung: Rick Allen; Corey Carrol; Larry "Sarge/The Mad Marine" Bishop; Traci Flint; Aaron Summerville; Ms. Sulzbach; Spence Milne; Kathy Buss; Ross "Loser!" Shekleton; Ian Anderson; Darrel "Big Salame" Killingsworth; Bill "Billman" Travis; Salt; Doane Perry; Tim Latham; Shelby Duncan; Malia Beatty; Larry Halett; G-parents; Joe Elliott; Robin Williams [the actor of course, not my girlfriend from the mid 90s].

Now for the post scripts and perhaps some explanations or theories about how this year was so good. Also, the things that slipped my memory in the script itself. [I told you it wasn't the end.]

Somehow I forgot all about my birthday. It was probably the best so far. I invited Jerry and Judy and their families to have pizza and to come over for a party. Simple? Yes, but just having them all there made it good (which is more than can be said about recent years). I also convinced Shelby to come with us. That was a small victory for me because she was making a move (pretty successfully) to avoid church related groups or individuals. However, she's shown an interest in keeping in touch with me. She hasn't set foot in the church since that day in September when we held the youth service. She is always welcome by me to come and I always try to get her to if she wants.

Part of the reason I got back into church associated doings is as follows. In 10th grade, I sat at lunch with brothers Corey & Christian Carroll, Traci, and several others by the big tree in the lunch court. A bunch of them were church going people [pretty conservative-evangelical Assembly of God types] and so the conversation often involved talk about church and all the things they had going in their church world. [Of course I was far from being able to make any theological arguments then but I knew that my church was different. None of us went around wearing the Christian themed T-shirts that some of the others at the tree wore. All that seemed rather smarmy to me, and still does.] It set me thinking about the group that I already had but had not thrown myself into. I thought, I have a group. I could do that. My life could use a little fun in it. Why not? And the rest is history.

[The following paragraph required some surgery. It was a complete mess in the original. The essentials are communicated as intended.]

I also noticed in the summer that two years before when I was confronted with the problem of having braces and ugly headgear, or I could have two teeth extracted. I originally chose to lose a couple teeth but a talk with Jerry, long in the making, helped settle that. My own worries were obviously about braces and what they would mean for the couple years that were ahead. But at that talk with him on the park green, he was asked to talk to me about reckless bike riding around the picnic area and some of the kids. The conversation became about much more than either bike riding or even headgear. He told me about his own spell of having braces for six years. He put some of my concerns to rest, saying headgear might only need to be worn at night. We covered a host of other things from the weather to other matters of home and family dynamics.

Now that I have some perspective on that August day, I decided to thank him for it. After all, that talk only changed the history of the world since 1987! Looking back, I see how that day's talk actually changed things a lot and laid the groundwork for this year's successes—more carpe diem. It goes something like this: the reassurance that was given me that day changed my attitude. Changed toward what, I am not exactly sure. I do know that my grades after that have never been anywhere near where they were, and for once it was safe to say that 9th grade was very good. In 1987, I met Traci and joined IPMS—two things that got me through 1989. When I showed my own confidence in myself people left me alone and I could make friends easier. People like Aaron, Traci, Shelby, and many of the people listed that I know personally don't know the old me. In fact, Shelby doesn't know me without the church group except what I tell her. Aaron augmented me being me and that shows up in the type of music I listen to, the type of humor I use, etc. (Some still have their problems with that.) Like anyone else, I have inside jokes and expressions that no one would understand. But what people dislike the most is my purely improvised one liners if I get fed a good line (maybe too intellectual for them?). Or maybe it is abstract analogies. Tough luck.

[This next paragraph was partially typed and partially hand written in two parts at the top and bottom of the page. Not sure what I really wanted to say, or how it followed anything.]

People are just starting to recognize me. I wonder, do you think it has something to do with me being in the second highest grade in the school? Some saw what grades I am getting now and if they knew what I was getting before high school they might have seen a big change and maybe got to know me better. Others got to know me more recently, and to them I appear to be alright. They don't have the old references to cloud their thoughts of me. For example, Traci saw that after she left from Public Speaking class my grade went up so she saw that I wasn't an F student and she wasn't wasting her time talking to me.

As I probably mentioned earlier, the major events and changes happened quickly. All that stuff in February was spontaneous, and was part of the carpe diem lesson. The church involvement was started rather abruptly in July. The drumming really started on the very day the new bike was ready to ride. Of course I had to practice a lot to get better. As for the bit about the models, usually I take a long break after summer to allow my school grades to get to an acceptable point, then I could resume work. But this time there were too many distractions from models, and later on, schoolwork caused the demise of my model building interest this year. Church, drums, and Tull were of course more exciting than sitting behind a messy table and straining my eyes. Not only that, I didn't have time. Funny, in March I didn't have time for school and now, no time for models. Something was wrong. So I quit and took up other pursuits. That was great, but as I said above, I had too much fun. Then, mixing school into it all didn't work well. We all know about that. Not terribly long after I got back on my feet school wise I found a good time for everything. And then something I thought would never happen, did. I put all the models away, but what's more I put all the building materials away too. Now an onlooker doesn't know that I built models (except for maybe a few clues). A change of priorities. I moved my drums into my room, etc.

For Christmas I added to my music resources by getting a few CDs. Of course I have a new CD player. This is a new way to spend money (which is an additional reason for shifting to music and drums). The tapes and CDs aren't so hard on my eyes. I still go to Command Post now and then at their new store to keep in touch and to talk music. (They created this monster called Ed.) They probably haven't taken a dime from me since September. CDs are expensive at $14, $15. I used to get music within my $13 allowance. Expensive, but I don't need to worry about satisfying some [IPMS contest] judge.

Back to desk writing. I obviously irritate people, which is nice. I make them think. However I ran into some jerk who has missed the entire point. Sometimes I write down lyrics or an entire song that I'd been practicing and he'd erase part of it and insert his opinion. On the positive side, I was progressing with my math class pen pal and have been really successful with writing to her. No negative remarks but I'll bet the teacher wishes we'd quit, which is what I'll do when I meet Erika someday.

Com-Post at the new store

The reason I quit going there all the time is because of their move. I helped them move, thinking there might be something in it for me later. I hung around too long with all the managers and Ross notified me that under one roof all the bosses might converge and see Ed there wasting time. At the old location (with three distinct stores), maybe only one boss at a time would see me hanging around. The early part of the "divorce" was messy but I got used to being there maybe one hour on occasional Saturdays rather than nine hours over two weekend days. And after dropping model building, I really didn't miss it once drumming and church took up all my time. It was fun while it lasted but that chapter is closing to start a new one. I might return. Who knows. Same thing with IMPS activity.

This has gone on too long already and I am writing this part in February 1990, and I also am seeing that my time (6-7 hours, hardcore) has paid off and it shows when the church voted unanimously for me to serve on the Board of Deacons. I'm very thankful for that and I couldn't have done it without them and God and everyone listed above. Thanks a lot, guys! I love you!

Carpe diem.
I love Shelby.

Wednesday
Sep201989

Youth Sunday Followup

The following is in response to my participation in a youth service at church, an event that rippled outward for some time. Wanna see the prayer I used? You can also see the scan of the original letter here. See the gallery with captions. Posted July 2011.

Dear Ed,

On behalf of myself, the Board of Christian Education, the Board of Deacons, and all your church family, I want to thank you for helping to make Sunday's Youth Service one of the most special worship experiences we've had at our church. Your prayer was very meaningful and showed a great deal of care and effort on your part. As I watched you add notes from the prayer concerns that were given to you by the ushers, I was impressed by the concern you showed in making sure you would include everyone and do a complete job. Probably very few of us know you very well, or well enough to realize that you've always had lots of talent and ability and were just working out how to channel it, but we do feel we know you well enough to have been first concerned, and then very pleased to see how you've matured. I don't know if you can forgive those of us who perhaps never did enough to help you. I'm thankful that perhaps by keeping our church together and hiring Jerry and Judy—and encouraging your grandmother, that we did help in some small way. Ultimately you've done it, Ed—you've made great strides against great odds and we're proud and thankful. Keep up the great work. Call upon me, us, for help. We're glad you're part of our church family.

Sincerely,
Dee Snyder

Thursday
Jun221989

Sophomore Memories

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.

Lunch—

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
12/18/88
[Before the rough times…]

Wednesday
Jun151988

One Down, Three To Go!

The following is a 2011 transcript of the letter I wrote (supposedly to my teachers) at the end of 9th grade. I doubt that I sent it. The date is arbitrary. I don't recall when I originally wrote it.

the dreadful letter i wrote to my teachers at the end of the first year in high school. horrible typing, handwritten notes added, and witty but kinda dumb in jokes...Click to enlargeIt seemed fitting and proper to give thanks to my teachers of my first year in high school. I also feel as though I've learned more, my GPA is up, way up, and this is the first year I received no D's. However, I did get an F twice.

A friend wondered out loud if I was struck by lightning or something of the sort. I don't know if I could call any class a favorite but I will admit Public Speaking wasn't at the top of my list at the beginning of the year. History has been fun though, Mr. Bannon makes it better with his humor, unless you are a person who gets an F. In Sir Hollenbeck's, I had fun calling him Geoffry, and harassing Geoff about his dirty car (the Nissan with grease on). In metalshop, I made a few useful projects. This about the only time I could get away with calling Senor Labastida ERNIE without getting a referral. As for P.E. and math, they were OK if running and A2+B2=C2 tickles your fancy.

Even though I got my as* kicked almost every day by someone, it still didn't stop me from doing my best. Even my best didn't get in the way of my hobby. In years past, my old man would take my models and related goodies until my school career got better. That trick never worked, and this year is living testimony to that.

I want to wish you all a good summer vacation and see ya next year!

Yours Truly
Mr. ED
Edward Lucas
Madhouse Warthogs Go! [Warhawks is the real mascot]

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