A few days ago I got an email from an old friend that immediately caught my attention.
It was one of those question-and-answer things, this one forcing me to think back to the year I graduated from high school. The questionnaire provided more than 20 queries. Here's how I answered some of them:
º What year did you graduate from high school? In 1972, from Mansfield (Ohio) Madison. Home of the mighty Rams.
º Did you know your current love? Nope, I would not meet Kathy until about 25 years later.
º What type of car did you drive? A 1964 Chevy Impala ragtop. (That's what the cool kids called a convertible at that time. I never put the top down, because I was afraid I would never be able to get it back up.)
º Did you ever skip school? Only once, to go to a Cleveland Indians game.
º Did you follow your original "career path?" Actually, yes. Except for a brief, three-month summer sabbatical between my sophomore and junior years in high school, I have always worked at a newspaper. That aforementioned summer job was as a busboy at restaurant not far from where I lived. Shortly afterward, I got a part-time job at the News-Journal in Mansfield, Ohio, and have been behind a typewriter/keyboard ever since.
º Who was your favorite teacher? Her name was Frances Channell. Prior to becoming a teacher, she had worked in the newspaper industry and I learned more from here in the two years I had her as a teacher than I probably did from all of my other instructors combined. Mrs. Channell passed away in 2008, but there is rarely a day when I am working on a story that I don't think of her. I will always be grateful for the role she played in my life.
º What was your favorite thing to eat in your high school cafeteria? Back then, cafeteria food was simply awful. I can't really say I had a favorite meal, but I absolutely remember the worst. About once every two weeks we had "submarine sandwiches," which consisted of some form of mystery meat with a piece of some dreadful cheese melted all over it, then slapped in between two hot dog buns that were either burnt or stale. Ugh.
º What kind of cologne did you wear? English leather, of course. No self-respecting teenage boy at the time would use anything less.
º Who were your favorite musical groups when you were in high school? I discovered Rod Stewart the summer before my senior year and he has been my favorite artist ever since. Group-wise at that time, as I have mentioned before, the Ohio Express and Music Explosion were both wildly popular and both were from Mansfield. The Ohio Express had a longer shelf life, thanks to hits like "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy," "Chewy, Chewy" and "Mercy, Mercy."
º If you could, would you go back to that time? As enjoyable as that period in my life was, my answer would be a definitive no. That was then, and this is now. And "now" is pretty nice. (Besides, I could never, ever eat another one of those submarine sandwiches.)