Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Y is for Yearbooks

I used to have yearbooks from my three years in high school (I'll explain that later) and one of my two years in Venezuela. I had them clear on up until I decided it was time to move back to New Jersey because of my mother's illness. So, I packed everything I could fit into my 4-passenger Subaru hatchback as well as two kids, two cats and a roof rack full of items. My yearbooks were on the roof.

We left Arizona on February 5 after selling as many things as I possibly could and waiting for the mail to arrive so I would have money and food stamps allowing us to eat and put gas in the car. I had mapped out our journey, including mileage and cost of gas, so I had a reasonably good idea of how much money I'd need to drive from Sierra Vista, AZ, to Barnsboro, NJ. I had just missed a major snowstorm back home, so I was pretty sure that snow wouldn't be a problem when I got out of the sunbelt.

I hit I-10 in Benson, AZ, and drove East into New Mexico. After passing El Paso, I began following I-20 which took me past Pecos, Abilene and Dallas/Fort Worth, TX. Somewhere along the highway southwest of Pecos, we heard a loud tearing noise and I saw and heard things hitting the back of the car. I had no idea what had happened, but I pulled over on this long lonely stretch of road to assess the situation. That's when I discovered that a large section of the tarp that I had purchased in Arizona had disintegrated and the rope that I had tied it down with was in pieces. In fact, the entire tarp looked more like ribbons of plastic flapping and blowing in the wind. My daughter's bike was still there as was her desk, but there was one section on the right rear that was mysteriously empty of belongings.

While I was trying to determine just what we had lost, a truck with Texas plates pulled over behind us and a weathered Texas gentleman stepped out to greet us. He said, "Howdy ma'am. Did youall (one word, yet not y'all) lose a set of speakers?" I just stared at him repeating, "Speakers? Speakers. Speakers. GASP!! My stereo!!!" He then told me how far back down the road I needed to go to retrieve them. I knew there was more than just that stereo, but hoped I'd see the other things when I got there. I didn't. There on the side of the road was my relatively intact quasi-boombox with detachable speakers, detached by now, but with control buttons missing. They, along with everything else that should have been in that corner, were nowhere to be seen. I still had too far to go to be doing a scavenger hunt in the desert, so I left my stereo, like a decaying carcass, along side the road and continued on to go into Pecos to purchase another tarp and sturdier rope. Fortunately, the next exit offered us both a Walmart and a McDonald's. I bought the tarp, rope, and collars and leashes for the cats. We then took a one time break to avail ourselves of the hot food offered by McDonald's since we'd been eating out of cans with pop-tops and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I figured we needed a little "comfort food" while I repaired the damages.

At any rate, to shorten this long story of our little band of gypsies (that's what a friend called us) traversing the continent with limited funds while on our adventure, we managed to pull into my parents' driveway at 12:05AM on February 11 after staying with friends in Louisville, KY, for a leisurely three days. It wasn't until we were off-loading everything that I realized that I had lost every one of my yearbooks in the Texas desert. All those memories, the signatures and good wishes of friends, it was all gone. 

It was all brought to mind this week when my lifelong friend lost her baby sister to cancer. We talked on the phone quite a bit and she mentioned having all of her yearbooks right near her. That's when I asked her if she could scan my Senior picture. I've shared it here. The other picture is of my Sophomore homeroom and I'm in the front row, second from the left. That one I found on a fellow schoolmate's Facebook page.

I can't help but wonder if someone in Texas ever found my yearbooks and if they enjoyed looking through them. It'd be great if they were found and someone actually sent them to my high school for

safekeeping. But, that's not likely. My name was in them and I have classmates who work for the school board and school. I would have heard by now. Oh well.

Still, I've enjoyed going over my little adventure here with you. I might not want to do it again, but I actually did enjoy traveling on a wing and a prayer like that. I actually had enough money that when we reached Memphis, we were able to stay in a motel. We lived it up - we bought TV dinners and used the microwave to have hot meals that night. LOL It actually was fun. We saw a lot of country on that trip.

I just realized that I didn't explain about three years of high school. When I started 7th grade, we were on split sessions. The high school went in the morning until noon and the junior high came in at noon and stayed until 5 - later if you had extra-curriculars. We had outgrown the school they'd built just seven years earlier. A junior high was built and we moved into it January 1969. The ninth grade was one of the grades in the junior high, so we didn't have a yearbook for my first year of high school.

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