Junior high school revisited

18 07 2008

All this talk of the Donna (Texas) High School Class of ’78 reunion has made me wax nostalgic over the past few days. I wasn’t able to attend our 30th reunion at South Padre Island this past weekend. (Egads, my age is showing!) From the flurry of e-mails from those who attended, I’m so regretting that I missed it. I do hope we can arrange some mini-reunions and not wait until there’s a 40th! Any takers?

So I’m checking my e-mail a few days ago and I get one from a girl who was my very best friend in the 7th and 8th grade (junior high)—Sylvia Gomez. She also graduated with me from Donna High in 1978. She asked if I remembered her and a flood of memories hit me. I called her Wednesday night and we talked for an hour and a half. It’s amazing how much we remembered after all these years. I promised her I would find these photos I had kept all these years, so here they are, Sylvia!

These are photos that my (Dad? Mom?) took of us on the front porch of our vinyl-siding-clad white house with green shutters (109 North 10th Street, Donna, TX), just before we walked over to LeNoir Junior High School for our 8th grade graduation. (Was color film not invented at that time or what?). Our dresses were almost identical and made in the same fabric—lightweight cotton with raised flocked flowers in vertical stripes. I think Sylvia’s dress was light blue and mine was beige. Both had pink and yellow flowers as I recall. I’m pretty sure Sylvia’s mother’s magic sewing lady made these dresses for us. That woman was simply amazing! Mom would pick out patterns and fabric, draw on the front to indicate if she wanted shorter sleeves, longer hem, etc., and then Mom would pick up Mary (Sylvia’s Mom) and we would drive over to the magic sewing lady’s house (she didn’t speak English, and Mom could only say “Hola,” and “Gracias,” if that). Mary would translate for us. Less than a week later the magic sewing lady would have a pile of clothes ready for us for a ridiculously low price. I recall my younger sister’s frou-frou chiffon band banquet gown cost something like $10 or $12 to make. This woman could sew without a pattern, too. You could leave her your favorite blouse, a chunk of material, threads, buttons, etc., and she would duplicate it exactly. Now that is talent! And if memory doesn’t fail me, I recall her name was Trini.

Dig the hair parted in the middle. Shades of That 70s Show, huh? And we look so serious. What in the world would 8th graders have to be so serious about? (I’m thinking we resemble either the Stepford Children or maybe Children of the Corn—only without the blonde hair). You can take it to the bank that I’m thinking, “Heavy sigh. I made it through 8th grade math—it’s only going to get worse from here on out.” (And it did—thank you, Coach Gutierrez). I’m not sure what was on Sylvia’s mind. I think she was better at math. She wore glasses so she had to have been smart. The really smart kids always wore glasses. (Sylvia tells me she has graduated to big girl contacts since that time).

Billy Green must have been our shared best boy friend at the time because he appears in several photos taken that day—in a smart plaid overcoat—his Sunday best (or, at the very least, ready for a golf tournament).



One response

18 07 2008

It’s funny that you should post about reunions today. Just last night I was watching “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion” and was cracking up at the flash-back scenes to their high school days. And they were only 10 years out of high school, lol.

Here’s a little trick I use at reunions, especially those where I haven’t seen the people in a long time. Rather than concentrating on someone’s face to try to place them or recall their name I will try to concentrate on the sound of their voice or general manner of speaking. It’s sometimes amazing how little the voice changes while the physical appearance may change drastically over the years.

You better make it to that next reunion!!

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