High School: Blocked

Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/@pixabay

Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/@pixabay

In Baltimore last week, I met up with a childhood friend: Someone who tracked with me from elementary school through high school. Although we hadn't talked since I left high school decades ago, we fell into complete comfort in seconds and, in the few hours we shared, I laughed more and harder than I've laughed in months.

Clearly, she and I are well-suited as playmates. And maybe, in addition, it's because she's so familiar to me still. I recall elementary-school faces, names, and moments as though they happened yesterday. I remember

  • who peed her pants on the playground,

  • how one "best friend" broke up with me for another in the bathroom before recess,

  • who told me about French kissing,

  • which girl had the best birthday parties and what happened at each,

  • detailed conversations and debates at sleepovers (the nuances of which are still too private to share), and

  • who explained "virgin" to me at the skating rink when the Madonna song came on.

Despite the horrors of junior high—my friend and I commiserated on this count over tea at the Baltimore Museum of Art—I remember a great deal of what I experienced there, too. I remember

  • the school-issued pea-green bathing suits that didn’t stretch in any fashion for boys' and girls' changing bodies,

  • a friend's extensive diagrams for solar-powering the Goodyear blimp, and

  • an assistant principal who "checked skirt length" by calling girls into his office and telling them to turn around and bend over.

High school is where it falls apart.

Somehow, I've blocked out most of high school.

Regularly, the one or two people I still know from high school mention other people from high school. Occasionally, I get a Facebook friend request from a stranger who, upon investigation, turns out to have attended high school with me. Sometimes, these friend requesters even mention specific memories of us. I have no idea who they are or what they're referencing--even when others corroborate the tales.

Lest you make assumptions, let me be clear: I didn't touch even the most basic of drugs and I didn't drink an alcoholic drop. Not in high school and not since. (Yes, I was and always will be a goody-goody.)

Junior high was far more traumatic than high school, so the reasoning can't be a Freudian suppressing of bad memories.

Maybe I've forgotten high school because it bored me so terribly? High school wasn't fun or traumatic or even interesting. I simply waited for the next chapter.

High school was a holding tank.

Do you have vivid memories of certain life stages—and complete blanks on others? Which times? Why do you hypothesize that's happened?