It’s that time of year again when my mind wanders back to those high school days when getting up early rolled around again and the smell and feel of fall was creeping into the air. Underlying all the trauma of going back to school was always the excitement of the return of football season. Of course, I didn’t actually play football seeing as how they actually tried to kill each other on the field in pursuit of honor and glory for the school colors. A concept that was quite beyond me in those days. I wasn’t exactly a bad boy, you understand, but I did have some very questionable friends that made my parents cringe. I loved motorcycles, for example, and owned two little bikes while I was in high school. Oddly enough, my mother refused to let me get my license because she didn’t want me to drive it on the highway and so, I was relegated to driving around the backwoods and swamps in my immediate neighborhood. This did not stop me from having fun, crashing into things and generally causing a great deal of mayhem for the neighbors (who all happened to be relatives). But the motorcycle thing was not all in vain. I did learn a great deal about small engine repair, clutches, brakes, wheels, etc. and the importance of all those parts as far as harmonious operation which is essential if one intends to ride the bike instead of push it up and down the road.
Back to school mean washing and waxing and shining up the leather inside my 1965 Corvair Corsair… yes, the engine is in the back or was at the time. All the gee-gaws under the hood were chrome and also had to be polished. A nice little midnight blue ride with baby blue interior. I loved that car, but it was always getting stuck on speedbumps which had just been invented in our area to slow down the maniacs driving through parking lots. The car would get stuck and I would have to wait patiently until the engine in the rear finally set the rear tires down on the pavement. If I timed it just right, I could have the wheels going fast enough when they touched down to become airborne when I blasted off again.
But school was never a problem for me. Sure, I hung out with the wrong crowd, but my grades were always good, I never studied, never did homework and still passed with flying colors. The possession of a good brain never stopped me from being stupid. The principal and vice-principal knew me by my first AND middle name. The principal’s secretary disdained me openly and the hall monitors followed me around. I was often accused of cheating on tests, but there was never any proof or evidence simply because I didn’t. I found High School entertaining fun and the fact that I absorbed the material taught in the classroom like a sponge kept me from agonizing over tests and such like and so I enjoyed High School immensely.
My friends and relatives were convinced that I was a juvenile deliquent headed for prison someday, but their hopes and dreams for me never materialized.
I played in the band, loved marching on the field, blasting my trombone and feeling the animosity of the football boys and cheerleaders as our little band consistently brought home trophies while the football team fell on its face week after week. As far as I was concerned, the football games were just the opening act for the real performers… the Marching Band. Eventually, a serious disagreement with the band leader brought my beautiful career to an end when I failed to become one of his ‘victims’. Such a man in this day and age would, indeed, end up in prison for child molestation, etc., etc. Truth be known, the man probably punked out half of the band during his tenure at my high school, but that was, is and ever shall be the lay of the land. Some will, some won’t and some just shouldn’t.
At any rate, this time of year always brings back those bittersweet memories and I would give anything to go back and change a few things though I have no regrets from those days. I certainly wouldn’t mind reliving them. From my house now, I can hear the marching band whenever there is a home game and it always makes me smile.