Saturday, January 17, 2009
My Old School
"Well I did not think the girl
Could be so cruel
And I'm never going back
To My Old School"
-My Old School, Steely Dan
I mentioned the other day that I had to drive out to LaGrange, Illinois to get my high school transcripts in order to complete my nursing school application.
It was all a little strange. First, I had trouble remembering the geography of the area. I hadn't driven around there much in the last thirty years.
I remembered that there were "No Parking" zones around the school to keep students from clogging up the neighborhood around the school with their cars. I parked a couple of blocks away in a two-hour parking zone.
I chuckled as I walked to the school; my senior year, 1978-1979, we'd had two record snowstorms within a month, resulting in massive amounts of snow, and eventually political changes in Chicago, as Michael Bilandic, the mayor who'd succeeded Richard J. Daley, failed to get snow removed. 30 years later, we're having a record amount of snow here in Chicago, and the several feet of snow on the ground echoed that time three decades ago.
I had to walk to the front entrance of the building (pictured above), something I rarely used when I attended the school. In the relatively carefree seventies, we were able to use side entrances to get in. I imagine they don't do this anymore.
I checked in with the security guard, who scanned my driver's license picture in, and handed me a picture name tag that indicated where I was headed.
I had to have very precise directions; it's amazing how much you can forget in 30 years.
As I approached the records office, I stopped at a display they had with famous graduates of Lyons Township High School. I knew of one of them-- actor Michael Hitchcock, Class of 1976, who has appeared in a couple of Christopher Guest's "mockumentaries." In Best In Show, he portrayed the awful yuppie who was married to Parker Posey. In A Mighty Wind, he plays a beleagered stage manager.
Another famous (at least locally) graduate I didn't know of before I saw the display is Chicago Transit Authority Ron Huberman.
I was puzzled why they didn't have LT's most famous graduate: David Hasslehof, Class of 1970.
I walked around the corner and entered the records office. I thanked the lady running the office for expediting my transcript request. I turned, exited the office and steeled myself to go back out into the cold.
As I walked back to my car, I stopped to take a couple of snapshots of my old school. I mused how strange it was-- I had changed so much. Since leaving that school, I'd gotten three college degrees, become a father, been married and divorced twice and married again, become a stepfather and started work on one more college degree. Nearly all, if not all, of the teachers and administrators I dealt with back then are gone-- retired, some passed away. The kids inhabiting that building were born years after I'd finished college. I noted that other than having new windows, the building was the same as I'd left it.
Sometime this year, there's going to be a 30th Year Reunion for the Lyons Township High School Class of 1979. I've gotten notices about it. I'm still on the fence as to whether I'll go. If I do, I think it'll be more out of curiosity than nostalgia, for I truly believe that my best times are ahead of me, not behind.