A great time in my life, except for those submarine sandwiches

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 26, 2019 12:01 am

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:

What year did you graduate from high school? In 1972, from Mansfield (Ohio) Madison. Home of the mighty Rams.

Did you know your current love? Nope, I would not meet Kathy until about 25 years later.

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.)

Did you ever skip school? Only once, to go to a Cleveland Indians game.

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.

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.

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.

What kind of cologne did you wear? English leather, of course. No self-respecting teenage boy at the time would use anything less.

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."

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.)