2-20-17: Senior Year in the Sonland Part 4: Yearbook, Dick’s Class and Number 10

Photo of a 1977 Buick Electra similar to the one I drove in high school. We’ll assume it ran a lot better than the one I had. 

Monday afternoon in central Indiana. No work, no school, no worries.

Shout out to all who have read and followed this blog. Hope to stay more active in coming weeks with just two more weeks of class (with one big paper) and a week off before the next class. Should have more time to post if the Pacers and IU basketball teams continue to struggle.

To show how bad I’ve been on keeping up with things…I wanted to celebrate the 25th anniversary of senior year/graduating high school/going to college/pledging a fraternity when I set up my Instagram account (@fitzthoughts) last spring and this blog (fitzthoughtsblog) last summer. I wrote part three on my senior year stories back in October. We’re now near the end of February. I’ve obviously got lots of room for improvement on time management. So a day off should provide a good opportunity to get the ball rolling on said improvement.

Quick recap…..when I started off talking about senior year at semi-scenic Noblesville High School in the summer of 1990 yours truly discussed the clothes that were bought for said school year (Part 1 posted on 8/23), some of my fall classes plus getting stood up for homecoming (Part 2 posted on 9/5…and that post reminds me I saved some money by getting stood up by said Aimee Allison that night so it wasn’t a total loss) and the excitement of spending a week at yearbook camp in Greencastle, Indiana (Part 3 from 10/27). While I talked a little bit about yearbook on my last post of 2016 (12/31) figure I’d finish up and then talk about two other classes from senior year and the people who ended up having a bit of influence on leading me to say to myself “Self, probably best for you to not go to college around here because quite frankly you f—ing hate this place.” Would prove to be pretty good advice as I ended up not being a statistic by wandering around drunk in the city of Bloomington for one to two years like many a former Sonland (aka Noblesville High School) student had in years past. (Instead it was four years in Lexington, Kentucky...and I graduated too. More on that in future posts. )

So on this post I’ll breakdown the classes of yearbook (final class of the day), government (4th hour before lunch) and Spanish (fifth hour before yearbook). I will try to not be too repetitive, so in other words I’ll try to not act like I’m watching a Colts game in 2016 and complaining about the failures of general manager Ryan ‘Big Grig’ Grigson (now gone) as well as his main man and failed pass rushing specialist from Philadelphia one Trent Cole (also gone). Wish me luck.

First off…

YEARBOOK (AKA THE SHADOW STAFF…SIXTH HOUR). When last left off on 10/27 I had noted that we had a year of journalism/yearbook camp at DePauw University in said Greencastle. Left on a Sunday morning. Went to workshops Monday through Friday. Apparently only one pizza place in a city of 7,000 or so. Went back to Sonland City (aka Noblesville) that Saturday. Got off from working at Shoe Carnival for a week, and since I didn’t go on a family vacation that summer then that camp could be considered a working vacation of sorts since we supposedly went to workshops to learn how to write stories and design page spreads and all that good s–t. Tough coin flip back then between Greencastle and Shoe Carnival. For now I don’t remember doing much of this on weekday afternoons…

…nor this….

…and since I was lucky to go on dates let alone think about doing stuff after dates, sure as f— wasn’t doing this:

Note to self: if all else fails and you’ve got money issues come wedding time, just say you’ll get married at DePauw University. Worked for this couple apparently. Good for them.

Now that I’m done showing what DePauw photos I can locate with web searches, moving on:…..

…..basically by going to camp I thought that I’d have a chance to be established in either 1) writing mainly sports stories since I was supposed to be one of three sportswriters on the staff to cover 23 said sports stories assignments or 2) be able to help out on some good feature stuff that would be shown towards the front of said 1991 Shadow and thus would more than likely be read compared to the filler stuff in the midst of the ads that got shoved towards the back of the book and the index. As mentioned previously on the 12/31 post, I would be WRONG WRONG WRONG and come back to school wondering if I would have been better off making the $5 an hour stacking shelves of cheap Nikes while listening to an endless supply of 1950’s music. When class started I found that the Senior Coolies (nickname for the returning five female members of the 1990 staff who were to be the editors and run the book while telling the remaining thirteen of us newer staffers what to do) took control of what was assigned and hence you basically were given the minor stories that didn’t always matter because-shock-they were in fact the filler at the back of the book. Hence my first assignment was writing about student shoe fads. Hence that story got to be the very first one that was filler in the ad section (located on page 206 of your 1991 Shadow as located on classmates.com next to an ad showing Erika Bayh and Suzanne Bailey at graduation). So much for the Pulitzer Prize.

Meanwhile as also mentioned previously on 12/31 post yours truly became the sportswriter who did not necessarily write sports stories. Out of said 23 possible stories, I wrote a grand total of four. FOUR. Early on I also found that the sports editor Robin Shambora did not seem to think my work was great as I remember re-writing my first couple of stories early and often. (For your sidenote, if you are reading this blog post than you wrote the same number of sports stories in the 1991 Shadow that Shambora did. Yes, zero. I won’t ask either.) That $160 lost from taking the week off from Shoe Carnival was beginning to be missed. But then I figured a few things out: get quotes from multiple people for the stories; write a story like Shambora or the editor Rosie Piga would write it (in other words, look at how they did their stuff the year before and adjust); and simply not talk back and tell said Senior Coolies that you thought their takes were #!%$!. Oh, and don’t sleep in class while turing said s–t in on time.  Once I took the viewpoint that I was little more than JAS (Just Another Son) who was there to write whatever was assigned to me, then there were no issues at all. I also found that I talked less and less to Shambora in class as the year went on. Though I did not have a case of the clap at the time,  I’ll go with the view that my work improved and therefore did not need to be critiqued on a regular basis. Good for all as that meant more time to hear stories from Nancy Boosel about her multiple boyfriends. (Trust me, those were entertaining. Also big props to Nancy as often they’d be the highlight of my day. After all, this is Noblesville aka The Sonland we’re talking about and it’s not like I was going to match up in stories on dating the opposite sex.)

If one wants to know the just of how said yearbook went, I can describe it pretty quickly: you roamed to these three or four round tables in the journalism classroom and sat at said table. The Senior Coolies (editor Rosie Piga, copy editor and 2nd Coolie in charge Kyle Petersen, the before mentioned Shambora, features editor Amy Carol Craig, and business manager/former cheerleader Amie Gibson) sat together and basically talked among themselves save Piga as Piga was hands-on in ensuring that the book would be a success. (It would be, and coincidentally Piga would later be the editor of the main IU-Bloomington campus yearbook. Not surprised as she was a good writer and deserves any and all success she has had over the years). Sometimes I helped come up with titles for stories and titles plus captions for pictures, usually via Piga showing me a picture and saying “Caption this.” So I did. I appreciated her acknowledging me on page 237 of the yearbook credits, and to this day I am thankful for her respect and acknowlegement.

If you then ask “You didn’t talk to the other Coolies much, did you?” then you’d be correct. So I had no idea until the book was published that the features editor (Craig) and the business manager (Gibson) each wrote a sports story….while the sports editor (Shambora) did not. Meaning if the three of them were dating the members of Motley Crue at the time I wouldn’t have had a damn clue about that either.  That was how things worked. I simply came to class on time, did my assignments, and did not pass out in the photography lab. For someone who didn’t want to be in the building for the last hour of the school day to begin with, it worked out pretty well.

(BTW, the neighbors must have the day off as they are yelling incoherently outside. If they had megaphones, they’d be pretty damn dangerous. Must get earplugs for future days off.)

Enough on yearbook, next to

DICK’S CLASS (4TH HOUR GOVERNMENT: TAUGHT BY STATE REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD “DICK” DELLINGER, R-NOBLESVILLE): after a year of having the best grades in my junior U.S. history class with Big Jim Sparks,  got to repeat the first memory I have from previous posts of this. First day of school, I roll in to take a seat in the middle of the class-not in the back row, not in the front row, right in the middle. As mentioned before Pam McNeil comes up and starts playing Nino Brown to my Pookie in New Jack City. I figure that the female is having that time of the month and say ‘why sure, you can have the seat.’ We then get moved to be in alphabetical order and Nino, er McNeil gets moved anyway from said seat . I in turn get in the back row. Works for all. Also makes me think that this semester class is going to be a chore to get through and I would do little more than count the minutes down to get out of there for lunch.

Fortunately I made the most of it and entertained myself-and the class-in the process.

Most of the Sons and Daughters of the Sonland-particularly McNeil and Sheathera Melchoir, the latter being a regular sight as she was in eight of my twelve classes for senior year as well as the first person I usually saw in the parking lot each morning) were not afraid to say “f— it” and lay their heads down on their desks to grab some shuteye while Dick would cut his promos on the three branches of our federal government. I in turn decided that it was probably best to stay awake so in-between giving Jason Lemen paper for him to draw his daily comics of Dick, usually ranging from Dick picking out his daily wardrobe of 1950s like conservative suits to Dick roaming the outerworlds fighting crime-I would keep track of how many times certain people would say or do certain things in the class each day. Like Sheathera’s sleeping. Or the number of times Rich Dine would smart off to said Dick in the midst of questions and answers. Or the consecutive days that McNeil would wear her turquoise colored aquasocks from Body Glove. And at the end of the class when Dick would leave early to go to the teacher’s lounge to do whatever Dick did in said teacher’s lounge, Phil Eisentraut (who sat in front of me) would grab the paper of writings and read off what everyone had done for the day to the entire class. The result: the daily telling of DICK’S STATS.

(Hey, I admit it sounded funnier before I typed it. But it kept most of a 1990 Noblesville audience of 30 high school seniors amused, so there’s that.)

Dick would thus watch me, Lemen and Eisentraut like a hawk more often than not. So when Dick had students spend mandatory time after class volunteering/putting up signs for political campaigns that fall, you are not surprised that Todd Burkhalter and I ended our two hour shift by driving out to Dick’s house and planting the remainder of our campaign signs in front of his yard. Dick in turn asked all his earlier classes about what happened before yelling out at the end of our class FITZPATRICK, WAS IT YOU?  It sure as hell wasn’t Burkhalter’s main man David Coverdale of Whitesnake. Guilty as charged.

Main thing about all this was that this was a class where you kind of had to study because it was tougher than most AND you had to have it to graduate. When I studied (albeit for 30 minutes to an hour before tests) then I did well. In fact if I remember correctly I ended up with one of only four As out of the 150 students or so that took said Dick’s government classes that semester. While that wasn’t going to up me on the waiting list for Harvard, nevertheless I was happy because I figured that was a good stepping stone for the next year of college. By staying awake and basically being a stenographer for 50 minutes a day I was able to succeed and make the most of what appeared to be a s–t situation. Even got a high five from Eisentraut on graduation day as a result, and considering I had never talked to dude until said Dick’s Class then that was an achievement in itself.

(When a classmate who we shall call Big J saw Dick wandering around the local Marsh supermarket earlier in the year, she made sure to mention that Dick had not been forgotten. Dick apparently responded by saying  I HEAR BURNING IN MY EARS and moved on. Lemen will be proud to know that Dick’s flattop hairstyle has not changed over the years. Then again I have a feeling no one will be surprised of that either, actually.Not like Dick was growing an Afro or a mullet back in the 90s.)

One other thing about that class was that it was the first of only two classes (I don’t count junior high choir where a third of our grade participated) that I ever had with someone who ended up being a MUCH bigger influence then expected. (See the upcoming Part 5 on how that happened. If you’re still reading, trust me on that.) Tara Lynn Walczak was someone who in previous Sonland school years might as well have been a Hollywood starlet because she wasn’t going to be in any of my classes and she sure as f–k wasn’t going to talk to me. Back then her West Harbour subdivision in Sonland City might as well have been West Berlin; that was the way things were and generally since all I cared about during my first two years of Sonland High  was making it through the day without wanting to drink liquid bleach, then I didn’t expect to ever have an actual conversation with said Walczak. But next thing I knew I found junior year she was a basketball manager (along with future Kings Island cohort on prom weekend Stephanie Nicole White) and since Big Jim Sparks had told me junior year ‘you’re a basketball statistician this year’ then in turn I ended up getting to meet said Walczak..or at least I was going to ride on buses to games with her. Safe to say I didn’t expect little more than that.

Since you’ve just read a long paragraph about here, you can correctly figure out that I was wrong about that. Way wrong.

After a few basketball games that year said Walczak would make the suggestion of people that were non-players (read for that year the basketball managers and statisticians such as me, the revolutionary Young Adams, Big Barry Jackson and the late Matt ‘Vegas’ Cammack) go to the Sonland City Pizza Hut for what ever one would want to call socializing or to be out of the house a little longer after games. As I was then Young Adams’ ride to and from games, Young Adams was of course all for it. So usually a group consisting of me, Young Adams, Young White, basketball manager Geoff Ley and said Walczak would end up at said Pizza Hut. Not like I had any supermodels on call, so of course I was in. Generally people shot the sh-t and then at the end of the outings what I would remember most is  Walczak (besides always asking to drink water) would take out this huge calculator to calculate the tip. After all this I figured I had moved up from non-existence in the Walczak World to acquaintance, and when she signed my yearbook before senior year I then figured that I had moved up to ‘Hot Sonland Chick takes pity on you and signs your yearbook’ status. And when she ended up in Dick’s Class that fall, I basically remember her being on the other side of the room, usually carting in her stuff in her trademark leather backpack (her younger sister Tracie also carried one so it apparently ran in the family) and not saying or doing too much. I would later find out by going to basketball scrimmages that fall (in which I helped train Sonland starting hoops man Gary Duvall’s brother from another mother Brett ‘Air’ Bowman to do stats as it was decided that a three man crew of me, Young Adams and Bowman would replace the previous four man crew of the previous basketball season….and incidentally you can figure out who got to do the work of Cammack AND Jackson by doing two clipboards of stuff as opposed to everyone else’s one which sadly was the highlight of my high school athletic career..and that’s kind of depressing so let’s move on from my rambling) that Walczak and White (and Ley) were again managers. Fine there. But I didn’t expect much more dealings with her. Nothing more than seeing her in class but no conversations.

That changed Christmas Break. Stay tuned why…because that why was a dude in my fifth hour Spanish class. Which leads to….

-FIFTH HOUR: SPANISH II, MRS. JANET BALSLEY– yes, I kept ‘Spanish Stats’ with Pat Kastner in there. Had to stay awake. But that didn’t have much to do with Walczak.

On the other hand, towards the end of that first semester the diabolical individual that I call Number 10 did.

Two bits of background:

-for me, I had originally taken German my first two years of Sonland High. Hated it. (See the August 2016 post entitled ‘The Eight Sons’ for further details.) Decided to take Spanish. Liked it. Better grades. So I was the only senior in a class of predominantly sophomores. These sophomores were among the elite of their Sonland class such as Elizabeth Robinson (related to the local car dealership dynasty), Betsy Kenley (daughter of the local supermarket dynasty and current state senator)  and a girl that you’ll hear about a little more in future posts, one Sarah Jane Fox (aka The Prom Date).There was junior diving/swim team icon Hope Struve (of whom I interviewed for yearbook), the junior hoops player and track star Ryan White (currently an insurance man in Sonland City and one of Duvall’s main men) and a good friend of mine from previous years, junior Tony Holloway. After that, it wasn’t like I knew too many people in there and they in turn only knew me as the only senior in the class who happened to have lost a bunch of weight in the last year.  I expected to roll in, talk every once in awhile to Holloway, and do little else. Fine with me as I wanted little drama in my last year at Sonland 46060.

Unfortunately, I would be way off.

And to tell why I was way off, after four months I’ll finally make the time to discuss the individual who-whether intentionally or not-helped ensure me to say that I wasn’t going to miss Sonland City  46060 too much when I went to school in part because he would in turn be the one who would lead me to say ‘With friends like him, then who in the f— needs enemies?’

But that was not the case in August 1990. So now is a good time to tell why and to also discuss a pretty important part of my growing up and learning what friendship was in fact really all about.

Now that I got the ABC After School Special rhetoric out of the way, time to discuss Number 10 (named because if you go to the bottom of my Instagram page post and find my Prom Diary posts, you’ll see dude on the 1990-91 Noblesville High School boys varsity basketball team wearing, yes, Number 10. Hence the name for the blog posts).

During my junior year of doing basketball stats I only knew Number 10 for being the best player on his freshman year team. Since the only freshman I dealt at the time with was Young Adams then I didn’t expect to know Number 10…until one road game where Number 10 had apparently been elevated to the junior varsity team for the remainder of the season. Dude was only freshman besides Young Adams on the bus. No one allowed Number 10 to sit with them. Except for one person. You can figure out who that was. And while it was not a booming bromance or friendship, generally a trend would take place on said remaining road games: no one else would sit or talk to Number 10, so the one person who did was me. Usually just meant him looking at my latest issue of Sports Illustrated and small talk. Nothing less, nothing more. (Incidentally he ended up getting lots of playing time on the JV team and proved to be their best guard. Which of course will explain future info to be wrote about later.) I didn’t think much more of it and didn’t think I’d be dealing with dude much more than seeing him at hoops games the next year. As he was considered the best athlete of his class year, I figured that was a sure scenario. And I would go about my way of counting down to GTFO of the Sonland come spring of 1991.

Again, I was wrong.

So Number 10 was in my Spanish class. First week and a half there were two random times that he would make random small talk about baseball cards and general topics. Again nothing more nothing less. (He liked baseball cards a lot, I will say that). I didn’t expect to deal with him other than said small talk. Just wanted to go to that class, not make waves, talk once in awhile to Holloway as he was only dude I knew in there from the past and move on with my life.

That would change permanently on the evening of September 3, 1990. Come to think of it, my entire senior year-and in turn my future-changed as well. (Had to look up the exact date online, so give the Internet the assist).

It’s Labor Day. I have done whatever Spanish homework was to be done.That evening I get a phone call. It’s not anyone wanting to play pickup hoops and again no supermodels were on speed dial. I admit I was not thinking things through as dude who was on phone said that 1) they were in my Spanish class and 2) they needed help with homework. In what would be good comedy, I STILL didn’t recognize who in the blue hell would be calling me on a Monday night for help on homework, but I then said ‘dude, give me your address and I’ll drive out there.’ Thanks to the Sonland school directory that had addresses, I put two and two together and in an era of pre-Mapquest was able to sail the 1977 Buick out towards a country road near the then Deer Creek Music Center that had two houses and a farm which coincidentally no longer exists today. I figure out the place has to be the one before the farm that has a huge yard, a barn (you’ll find out next post what’s in said barn) and a BMW in the driveway. I roll up to the door and end up getting greeted by the Father of Number 10 (whom we will call Cliff) and the mother of Number 10 (hence Mrs. Cliff). And eventually I figure out I am at the home of Number 10. Took awhile but better late than never.

Long story short here at the 4,000 word mark…I help Number 10 with said Spanish homework. I then roll out at night fall. I do not expect anything more and as I sailed the 1977 Buick back home I asked myself ‘why did HE call ME on this?’ I certainly didn’t expect any more calls and I didn’t expect there to be a time where I would be dealing with him every weekend…or better yet dealing with him AND Tara Lynn Walczak every weekend, too.

Boy, was I f—ing wrong on all accounts.

And that’s a good place to stop for Part 4. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take another four months for me to follow up there as I still have a ton of stuff to cover to link the fitzthoughtsblog with the @fitzthoughts Instagram page. Plus I haven’t even gotten to recap the stories on The Prom Date here on the blog yet either. Kind of why I set it this up in the first place so I do need to do that before the next decade begins.

But as I would eventually learn when it came to handling Number 10 as well as a lot of things with my future, better late than never.

Thanks to any and all who read the fitzthoughtsblog….back with Part 5 soon.

Jeff

Instagram: @fitzthoughts

fitzthoughtsblog.wordpress.com

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