Monday, September 26, 2016

Ins and Outs

I never really cared about being part of the in-crowd back in my school days. How much of that was personality and how much was religious is difficult to say.

In terms of personality, I never really cared about fitting in too much although I always wanted to have a few good friends. There was at least one year in high school that were a little lonely when two friends moved on and my one remaining friend was slotted into a different lunch hour. So, I ate alone that year, and I suppose that I went for a walk in the second part of my lunch break ... or something. Still, he and I would more often than not meet up after school and walk over to the local variety store for a coke before the buses came to take us on our separate routes. In the bus, I was by myself, but the trip was short, and I was pretty well the first one off.

Whatever my personal proclivities and values, I was surely affected by my religious culture. When you are brought up Pentecostal, you know you are different, at least here in Canada, although I susoect  that might not be as true in much of America.

I knew I was different and had suspicions about the world. I knew that I was to in the world but not of the world, and that is a tough role for a kid to naviagte, (John 17:14, James 1:27 etc) so I know that that made me more aloof than I needed to be.

Consequently, high school was not the happiest time of my life although I didn't exactly wallow in self pity either. As I said, I usually had a few friends and pretty good friends at that, so I did have some sort of social life.

As a bit of an aside, I was never too much bothered with keeping up with 'in' clothes. I think I went through one year with pretty well two shirts and one pair of pants. Maybe it was just part of the year, for I had to adapt from shirts and ties in my former school to casual clothes in the new one. So I guess, casual clothes were in somewhat short supply for the first few months anyway.

Which does bring me to another memory of two times when I did want different clothes, and that goes back to that former school with the more formal dress code.

It is this, as silly and simple as it sounds. Since we not only wore shirts and ties but jackets too, at least sometimes, I remember wanting a suit jacket that had two back vents rather than one. For some reason this seemed important to me. I think I eventually got my heart's desire. Similarly, I wanted winter boots (rather important in Canada) with a two-zipper flap up the front and not the kid-like galoshes with a top strap that pulled around. You see, you could keep those zippers undone, let the flap hang down, and be ever so kewl. Crazy, eh?

In these years, I don't wear the almost de rigeur men's tribal piece of apparel — the ball cap. I refuse to comply. I do wear hats and caps, but they are the kind that I want to wear when I want to wear them. More about this at a later date. Probably.


Silver Willow said...

I've never been much of a clothes horse myself, expect in the late 80's I did have a shoe 'thing' for a while; I had low-heel pumps in waaay too many colors. I blame Dynasty. LOL

As a child of an alcoholic (known), I wasn't too popular, but I was a baton twirler all four years of h.s., so that kept me in the loop, and I was even Senior Class Social Chairman. Dad's one or three drunk show-ups at h.s. didn't affect me that way. It was interesting to hear at the 10 year h.s. reunion that it did keep most of the boys from dating me. I had a few boyfriends, but it didn't last long for any of them. Oh well. C'est la vie.

Kerry said...

My closet is loaded with things I don't wear. I'm happiest in jeans and a t-shirt; this has been true since I was tiny. I do like ball caps! Really, hats of all kinds; I wish they were back in vogue for women.

KGMom said...

AC--you did it! You wrote on the topic at hand. And I appreciate your experience.
I must say I knew you had a childhood that included some (repressive) religious background. But I didn't know what it was.
Many of us break free. As have you.
I find it fascinating that you, Ginger, Ruth and I all share a constricted childhood based on religion. We have all gone our own ways, of course.
And that is the point--going your own way.
Well done.

Anonymous said...

You have an interesting blog, and this is an interesting post. People I know either loved or hated high school. For me it wasn't a bad experience, although it had its rocky moments here and there. As for clothes, I can't really say much since I have pretty much worn nothing but jeans for the past 20+ years, and 95% of the time I'm barefoot. If I'm wearing a dress, it's either to a wedding or a funeral. I'm with you on the baseball caps though. ~ Sharon

Hena Tayeb said...

I wore a uniform for my whole schooling experience until college, so when i did go to college and was able to wear whatever i wanted it made me want to dress up.. which of course only lasted the first week or two as I got over the initial high..

Ginger said...

Oh, your very descriptive post brought back a memory I'd shelved for some time--the JEANS story. My mom didn't believe in blue jeans on women (ahem), and after I went away to boarding school I felt SO out of place with my polyester pants! I wanted blue jeans in the worst way. At home for the summer break, I told my dad with great sadness about my deficit. "Well," he said. "I will be happy to take you to town and buy you some blue jeans!" And he did, that very afternoon. And my mom was so dedicated to being loyal to my dad that she never pitched a fit about it.

I must remember to thank him again, next time I pop by for a visit.

Mage said...

Oh, sometimes I really wanted to look like others. I wear hats with brims all the time now thanks to my ophthalmologist. Yes, I wear ball caps. Anything to keep the sun out of my eyes.

Jim Flack said...

Let me just say that I hated school! I never felt like I fit in at school. My mother taught at the same school, which was small, rural and there were 26 students in my class all the way from middle school thru HS until a consolidation with another school system left me with 110 in my Sr. Class. Because Mom always taught there, I was expected to dress nice, jeans weren't in vogue for guys, so chinos and button up shirts were the dress code. Belts were mandatory. Sometime along the way, we began wearing jeans to school, and I of course, had to have my "pegged" so much so that I had to put on socks, and point my toes to get my legs in them.
I also had a severe case of acne all the way through HS, and that limited how many dates I had and how my peers treated me. I still battle with resentment about that and shy away from class meet and greets and reunions. Oh well, life has been good otherwise, so to heck with them! :)

Mara said...

When I look back on my high school years, I always wonder I wasn't bullied or pestered. The clothes I wore were often home-made (I knitted my own awful sweaters) and I was rather quiet and reserved. My friends weren't part of the popular crowd either.

I got through my high school years okay though with one or two friends that I stayed in contact with for long after.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

This post was very timely, John, as I am soon faced with the decision on whether or not to attend my 50th high school reunion. There really isn't one good reason "why" as I didn't regard the 4 years as the best years of my adolescent life. Aside from a couple of friends, I didn't socialize very much. Most of those in my Catholic high school had also attended the Catholic grammar school in the predominately middle-class suburban town. I had also attended a Catholic grammar school, but in a different towns and rode a public transit bus to attend the high school (my parent's choice). We wore uniforms so dress wasn't a concern, freshman through juniors wore the same outfit and only seniors got some variation in the girls' skirt color. I am still in contact with 2 people from high school and that is enough for me.

Jenn Jilks said...

I know about tough high school years. I think many do, too!

Mary Gilmour said...

I had a small group of close friends in HS and that made it possible to not only survive but thrive. But we were somewhat social outcasts because we were all tall and we all got good marks and we did not do the little and cute and adoring bit around the boys in our class. There was only one class.
I think everyone, as Jenn says, has mixed memories.
In the era of Marilyn Monroe I was almost completely flat chested. That got me a lot of rude and silly comments that still sting sometimes. Although I am now really, really happy not to have to shore up sagging flesh.
Too much information, yes?

Vicki Lane said...

Sad that high school was (and probably still is) so much about wearing the right clothes. I think I know a few who look on their high school years as the best of their lives but I'm sure not one.