Saturday, January 31, 2009

Facing Facebook

I know I've mentioned Facebook recently. It's been a blast connecting with old dear friends from my past. I've so enjoyed catching up with the girls and been amazed at how much we have in common. One, except for the fact she married and had kids - something I forgot to do - has led a shockingly parallel life to my own. But then, I always had great girlfriends.

No, it's the boys that have fascinated me. First of all there were so few who were truly kind in high school. It's been such a trip catching up on where life has taken us all.

There's Tommy, he of of the mesmerizing blue eyes and dimples bigger than the Grand Canyon. I've known him since we were seven. Tommy had such a quiet intelligence. He wasn't the smartest boy in class. No we had Matt, Andrew and Stephen who always rubbed their smarts in our faces. Tommy's brain power was simply cool and all of us were aware of it; never questioned it.

In tenth grade it was put to the test. We were in chemistry with the greasy haired teacher who had dandruff the size of snowflakes whose name I forget but whose catch phrase is forever burned into my brain, "It's not that I don't trust you. It's just that I don't."

Mr. Greasy Hair had filled his chalkboard with chemical equations for an upcoming semester test. He told us to start writing. We did - except for Tommy. Tommy had a photographic memory; he never took notes. He didn't need notes on paper. He simply "saw" them when he needed them. He quietly tried to explain this to Mr. Greasy Hair. It turned into a shouting match and Tommy was sent down to see the principal.

Within minutes, the principal was in our room, reading the black board with great care. He stepped outside and grabbed Tommy sending him back to his chair. As he left, he said to the teacher, "Mr. [Tommy] does NOT ever need to take notes."

Tommy was an angry young man who would just as soon flatten some punk rather than take any guff. But, when our HI-Y youth group would visit our Bridge School for mentally challenged kids every month, Tommy had such a gentle way with those kids. It's that Tommy I see when I imagine him with his own kids.

And then there's Bill. Another boy with magical eyes, Bill was the class clown. He was a year older and I only met him in Jr. High. One day, when I was in tenth grade, Bill was wandering the halls at recess with every book he had. He had no locker...or his locker mate had kicked him out. As I opened my locker, he took over the top shelf and demanded my locker combination.

As I had a secret crush on him, I gave them up without a fuss.

Bill always made me laugh. He, too, was a smart boy - I recently learned his i.q. is off the charts. But my favorite memory is of him always being the first to arrive at high school. He would get there early to make us park on our old unmarked lot in a more interesting fashion. I always obliged.

Whether Bill ever knew of my crush is questionable... probably so. I'm pretty transparent. While he never indulged me, he was always sweet; never rude like so many boys I knew in high school.

I can still hear his laughter and can imagine his home today with all his kids must be filled to the brim with it.

The other boy I've enjoyed catching up with is the young man I secretly named "The Best Boyfriend In The World!" From junior high through college, whatever little twit I befriended would always show up with her boyfriend, Scott. I didn't even realize that Scott and I were in the same university until some girl (can't remember her name) started chatting about her new boyfriend. "Scott this and Scott that and surly you must know him - he's from McComb." That Scott?? Yep, him again.

I rode on the back of his motorcycle with my friend / his girlfriend between us in Junior High. In high school, he started dating one of my church friends and I always hoped they would end up together...but she too was not the one for him. None of his girlfriends ever deserved him in my book.

But it was because of her I got to know him really well. He was truly the best boyfriend in the world. Once, she and I were in her front yard choreographing her flag corps routine with all her private school girls. Scott showed up with sno cones for all of us and then left us to our work.

He frequently would take would take his girlfriend's friends out on their dates, often with his friend Carey in tow. One such date, he and Carey decided us three girls really needed to know how to drive a stick shift. He took us out to old airport road....nice and straight with zero traffic.

His girlfriend and our other chum each took a turn in the front seat of his VW Rabbit. Each of the girls learned pretty fast. And then it was my turn. Of the three of us, I was the only one that had access to a stick shift...my mother's car. So I really did need to know how to drive one.

Scott patiently showed me all the gears only every time I shifted into second, it died. That is, when it didn't die on take off. We lurched and jumped and bucked down that old road, gears grinding for close to an hour. When I finally made it into second, Carey and the girls in the backseat stood up and gave me a standing ovation! I got so excited, I never made it to third.

It's a wonder the Rabbit lived.

If Scott is half as patient with his kids when they learn to drive, they'll be just fine. And yes, he did finally find a good girl for him. They've been married over twenty years.

It's terrific reading about their careers and career changes into more suitable professions. It's great to hear what they still dream of doing. Looking at their photos of them as men with wives and children and jobs, I don't see the men. No, I still see the boys with quick smiles and funny jokes and dancing eyes and dimples for days. I see the boys that filled me with wonder and made it OK to dream.

OMG!!!!! If I still see them as the boys they were in high school, does that mean they don't see me as the woman who went to Hollywood and made movies and worked on huge ad campaigns and owns her own business???

Do they still see me as that quirky, pimple faced, freckled red head with hair going in 87 directions who always wore hand-me-downs from her grown up sister because her mom would never buy her the "cool" jeans and covered up her vast insecurity with cockiness????? Do they???

Oh God, tell me there's a CANCEL MEMBERSHIP button somewhere!!!

6 comments:

Scott Harbison said...

Wow...what a sweetheart you are! You must be the only person in the world who would say I was a great boyfriend! LOL! Those are some of the nicest words ever written about me. Thinking about all that brought a smile to my face. I hadn't thought about that old red Rabbit in years! But I've never forgotten my friends.
We had alot of fun back then in McComb didn't we? I'm sure glad for all the people that touched me through the years and especially for friends like you Holly. I know all of the people you have touched must surely feel the same love for you that I do. I always remember you as the cute, smart, quick witted red head that always had a smile to share and always had the time to listen to my problems. I know we all eventually have to go our own way in life. We have to follow the path of career, family, dreams and adventure if we're lucky. But often times we leave behind such wonderful friends.
It seems funny to be so happy to have stumbled onto something as simple as a website like facebook, but what a magical feeling it is to reconnect with so many of those friends that went their seperate ways.

Thank you Holly for bestowing these kind words on me. I so hope that we will continue to stay in touch. As we travel near each other, I hope we will be able to sit down face to face over lunch or dinner or a nice cold adult beverage. I hope we'll be able to share more memories of our days in McComb and catch up on what each of us are doing now. But more than anything, I hope we will continue to rekindle this friendship that I cherish. Thank you Holly!

vonna said...

Holly,
This is why I put my maiden name as my middle name on FaceBook, how awesome for you guys to find each other -

Macomb as in Western Illinois?

CreekHiker said...

Scott - you made me cry.

Vonna, It's McComb...in SW Mississippi. I'm amazed at the number of ladies who make no reference to their maiden name on FB. I'm "friends" with some that I only "think" I know who they are!

Bill said...

Holly - so Scott, being a published writer, said it much better than I ever could, so I say, Hear Hear!!!

O.K., it was Mr. Johnson in Chemistry, and I definitely remember his "trust" statement. And about the I.Q. - when I said it didn't register, I meant it was too LOW to register... I guess that qualifies as off the charts... I forgot all about the locker - that made me really laugh! And you can bet that I didn't share a locker with just anyone - in fact, I don't remember ever sharing a locker with anyone else! You are a sweetheart.

Now, surely you come back to MS every once in while? Well, Scott and I are in the same town and hour away from McComb, and Tommy stopped by to visit last Saturday, so we're waiting on your next visit. You let us know, and we'll have a good get together!

Polly said...

Holly, you made movies, but have you ever considered writing screenplays? You have a wonderful way with words! I was reading this and of course thinking since I didn't go to McComb High School I may not know who Scott was. Then when I got to flag corp with your girls from the private school...I realized it had to be Scott Harbison! How sweet! Sounds to me like he just got better with age after reading his comment back to you!
Hey! I am using my maiden name on here..even though my last name has changed!

CreekHiker said...

Bill, Della wrote me to say Johnson or Johnston... He sure was hard on us! I would argue with you on your i.q. comment. I always thought you were brilliant. Humor like yours doesn't come along without some brain power to put it into action.

Polly, I so appreciate the ladies that do use their maiden name! I really helps locate your long lost friends.

And I think all these guys have gotten better with age.