High School memories evoked by a song
|Nineteen seventy-five. My senior year of high school. I’d always done well in my classes and I only needed a couple more required courses to finish up my diploma. It wasn’t too difficult to convince the vice principal to let me leave school at noon so I could work at the local grocery store. My parents wrote me a note giving their permission, and I registered for only three classes that fall. The only problem with my plan was that I didn’t actually have the job.
With the brash confidence of youth, I’d expected to simply walk in and start work. But the store manager wasn’t hiring part-time help in September, and it was almost Thanksgiving before he had an opening. That left me with three hours of free time after lunch. I spent a lot of it in the school library, reading voraciously and playing chess with various friends who had a study period in the afternoon. The librarian was a patient woman, but she got a bit exasperated with my constant presence. She even complained to the vice principal that it felt like I was living there.
One afternoon, she came to the table where I was relaxing with a copy of Tolkien’s The Two Towers, and handed me a letter.
“This has your name on it,” she said, looking a bit puzzled.
“Oh, yeah,” I replied. “Since I spend so much time here, I decided to have my mail forwarded.”
I thought it was clever, but she wasn’t amused and invited me to spend my afternoons elsewhere. There weren't a lot of places to hang out around the school, but I managed to avoid her for a few days while she cooled off. I didn’t want to leave school early and go home, because I had an after-school activity named Cyndi.
Cyndi was a sophomore; an attractive girl with light brown hair. She had a nice figure, standing about 5’ 4” to my 5’ 9”. We fit together perfectly for the slow dances at the Senior Prom. We’d started dating in time for the fall Homecoming Dance and things got pretty serious by the time I actually began working after school.
I was driving a worn-out Studebaker Lark that my dad had handed down to me. It was worth so little that he hadn’t bothered to trade it in when he bought his new Plymouth Scamp. I had to add a quart of oil with every other tank of gas, but it represented freedom. And, I could share that freedom with Cyndi by giving her a ride home from school.
Cyndi’s parents both worked, so we had almost two hours of privacy before they got home at 5:30. Her dad had a nice rec room in the basement with a pool table and a stereo. We’d settle ourselves on the big, comfortable sofa and fool around with music playing in the background.
Elton John was huge back then, and Crocodile Rock became ‘our’ song. We’d smile at each other whenever it played, because we were ‘doing the crocodile rock’ after school every day. Cyndi and I eventually drifted apart, but I still love that song, and it brings back sweet memories every time I hear it.