Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie

A year or so ago, I read a memoir by Margaret Sartor called Miss American Pie about growing up in Montgomery, Alabama in the 70s. I grew up in New Jersey, basically during the same time frame, so I found the memoir intriguing. Given my interest in the blogosphere, her memoir made me wonder how much good diary-style writing, particularly by high schoolers, was going on out there. I explored LiveJournal a bit, but found it lacking. Miss American Pie also got me thinking about resurrecting my old journals from high school. There is something too intimate about publishing my current journals, even on my blog, but how about something dated….if I would no longer get in trouble with my mom and dad for all the details of a freshman year football party?

So here's an excerpt from my Freshman Honors English journal, including responses from my English teacher, Mrs. Bill. Weird to think all of us felt comfortable sharing our innermost thoughts with a thirtysomething English teacher who would one day betray some of my friends' trust as they sought her letter of recommendation to the National Honor Society.

January 1, 1981

Bree: Pat and I are having a terrific party tomorrow night – at Maybelle Fortuna's house. That sounds a little strange but what happened is…

Pat & I were visiting JimmyZee (we were in his "den of sin" watching Loveboat) and he said we should have a party and he would come. We couldn't have the party at my house or Pat's because of our parents (my mother dislikes boys and booze) so we talked Maybelle into having a party at her house. We invited about 10 to 15 football players (including Clone, Spoon, Louchips, ChocolateCake & JimmyZee). Oops! I forgot Animal. Double oops! I forgot OHM – the most important guest! JimmyZee says he and the guys will supply the "beverages." What a merry time we will have!
Rikki ran away from home. I can't believe it – I just called her house to see if she could talk and her father told me. I wonder where she went – I knew she had been hanging out with the burnouts lately and was getting kind of crazy but I didn't think she'd do anything that stupid!

Mrs. Bill: Has Rikki returned home yet?

January 4, 1981

Bree: Friday's party was a riot! Ohm, Animal, Spoon and his brother didn't come (JimmyZee forgot to talk to them) but about 20 others did. All kinds of nuts showed up. First JimmyZee, Spider, ChocolateCake, Dennis the Menace and Clone arrived. They brought one bottle of wine.

Mrs. Bill: That won't go very far with that group.

Bree: Maybelle's parents were downstairs so we just sat there staring at each other. Spider walked around saying "Hi! I'm Spider!" to everyone. I gave JimmyZee his birthday present (Underoos) and Dennis the Menace started saying "I want a bra! I want a bra!" Spider asked JimmyZee if he could have the panties to hang on his rear-view mirror "because it would look cool." Finally at about 8:30 Maybelle's parents went upstairs and the guys demolished the bottle of wine (this took about 80 seconds) and I said, "Is that all you brought?" The guys said they were going out to the liquor store to get some other stuff. We figured they weren't coming back because the party was so boring.

At about 8:45, Reed, Louchips, and a bunch of burnouts came along and brought a few cases of beer. They wanted to know where everyone was and we couldn't tell them since we didn't know. Then the other guys came back with various beverages and we had a really wild party.

Some of the interesting moments:

  1. JimmyZee put a little statue that said "World's Best Dad" (it belonged to Mr. Fortuna) in the toilet. I went in there and saw it and I said to ChocolateCake, "There's a little man in the toilet!" So ChocolateCake went in and pissed on it and then he said "Now check out your little man!"
  2. ChocolateCake and JimmyZee hung a rubber filled with water on the Christmas tree as an ornament. Later JimmyZee came up to me and said, "You know that rubber that was hanging on the tree? Well I just threw it at some lady!" I shrieked, "You idiot! That wasn't 'some lady.' THAT WAS MRS. FORTUNA!" That one really cracked everyone up.
  3. ChocolateCake was making a moat on the rug around me with two bottles of beer so I grabbed a bowl of potato chips and poured them over his head. In return, he winged a bowl of cookies at me. Then came the killer: I whaled him with a chocolate cake. While a group of guys were having beer-spraying fights, ChocolateCake said, "Uh-duh-hey-that-wasn't-very-nice-er-uh" and he went into the bathroom to wash the cake off (I don't know why he bothered – his entire body was already coated with a layer of gook – he and his friends had done vicious things to each other with everything in the kitchen)
  4. Meat (some guy who plays football for Fairleigh Dickinson University and used to play for our high school last year) put a glass object in his mouth and broke it with his teeth. Then he went into the kitchen (where the floor was torn up because it's being done over) and started to chew on the floor. Some guy from Florida was running around looking for empty cans. When I asked him what he wanted them for he said "Meat is hungry. We have to find some metal for him to eat."
  5. Then the utter destruction began. Meat bent a brass (or something like it) decoration (which was in the shape of a Christmas tree) into a different shape (around his head). The guy from Florida tore some pictures off the wall and everyone ran out the door. Mrs. Fortuna (who was drunk) heard the dog barking, came down and took the dog for a walk. She came back and the dog crapped on the floor. Suddenly all the guys came back inside and one of them yelled "Did it shit?" and we all cracked up. They started saying "We chased that guy who destroyed everything but we couldn't catch him." They didn't seem to notice that Meat and the guy from Florida were still there. Mrs. Fortuna went upstairs again and more food fights and other general destruction occurred. At about 12:00-12:30 we got everyone out of the house. Then Mr. and Mrs. F (both drunk) came down and saw the mess which we were trying to clean up. In the end, there were 2 garbage cans full of beer bottles, wine bottles, and other "beverages." Mrs. F started crying and Mr. F. started screaming (That guy is 6'+ and no joy when he's mad). Finally we managed to get everything cleaned up pretty decently. Then Mrs. F opened the refrigerator and saw and empty 6 of beer bottles and she started laughing her head off. Everything turned out OK except Donna can't have any more parties for the rest of the time she lives with her parents and a few things (an artificial Christmas tree among them) were destroyed beyond repair.

Mrs. Bill: I find it sad most of all. Those guys are animals that they would have no regard for others & just leave all the mess.

Bree: Other than the party, I haven't done anything very exciting lately. I don't want to go back to school yet – I'm not ready for it. I hope ChocolateCake doesn't get me with mashed potatoes in the cafeteria. But then, I doubt if he'll remember anything that happened.


Mrs. Bill: I don't get it. I get the sex & the fan but not the disco part

Bree: Clone doesn't think he's a clone of Spoon – he thinks he's a Clone of Jim Morrison of the Doors. But when I tried to tell him he doesn't look anything like Jim, he wouldn't believe me. Oh well.

January 7, 1981

Bree: How do I hate English? Let me count the ways

  1. In January
  2. When you give stupid assignments that God couldn't finish in a week and want them done in 2 days Mrs. Bill: I wasn't asking God to do it
  3. Whenever I think about exams
  4. While reading "Lord of the Flies"
  5. When it snows and school is closed and I can't get to the library to work on my assignments
  6. When English work interferes with Abusement Society basketball games
  7. When English interferes with phone calls
  8. When I don't get any sleep because I'm worrying about work I haven't finished
  9. When I should be doing my Animal Farm composition but instead I'm writing down reasons for hating English
  10. When I can't think of anything better to do

Mrs. Bill: English is a great excuse

January 11, 1981

Bree: I despise George Orwell and "Animal Farm." When I first read the book on my own in 8th grade I thought it was terrific. Now I feel like making vulgar noises when I think about the book. Maybe I'm a Benjamin…

Mrs. Bill: Maybe you are


These had better not be the best years of my life or I'm in trouble. Why do people tell me that they are?

Mrs. Bill: They were the worst years of my life.

Bree: Today I went to see Chevy Chase in "Seems Like Old Times." The movie was OK, but "Foul Play" was better. Chevy should have had a bigger part. Hmm…

BigBee turns me off

Mrs. Bill: GOOD!

Bree: Spoon is a horny sex maniac. Stradlater.
Clone makes me retch.
ChocolateCake won't go out with a girl unless she sleeps with him.
Lips is bothering me.
Spider is cute but boring and lost.

Mrs. Bill: I think he is lost in a lot of ways.

Bree: JimmyZee uses girls.
Boys are a pain in the ass.

Mrs. Bill: Only when you turn your back to them.

January 13, 1981

Bree: I haven't written much in the last few weeks… hmm…

One of my buddies from WBRW got a job at WPST – now I know 2 of their DJ's. However, WPLJ is still better than WPST.
Blah! I should record that noise.
I think I'm going to barf. Maybe I should go to Barfers in the Flemington Mall.

Mrs. Bill: No I just dip them in hot sauce

Bree: Sorry to hear about your accident – hope you're feeling better since the day you were like a zombie (as Mrs. Chiflada would say).

Mrs. Bill: Thanks for caring at all.

That afternoon I got an eviction notice from my landlord. What a horrible day!

January 14, 1981

Bree: Spoon is not a nice boy. He threw a pencil at me because I yelled "HOOTER" at him.
I hate going to English. It would be better if I sat next to Pat. Ken is NOT my special friend.

Mrs. Bill: You can cut and take 7 points instead.

Bree: Double N is #1
I'm living on JEWELS power!

Mrs. Bill: Will this be explained next week?

January 17, 1981

Bree: I SAY WHIP IT!!! Whip it good…

I have no idea what Ray's last name is. The other day he walked up to me and said, "When are you going to meet me?" I said "WHAT??!!" and Ray said, "You said you'd meet me somewhere… SOON!" and I got really grossed out. I said, "RIGHT! Then why can't I remember saying it?" and Ray went away. Blah!

Lucas is behaving very strangely lately. He used to eat lunch (I don't really mean eat – no one in their right mind EATS the nuclear waste they serve in the cafeteria) with us, but now he goes to the library instead. Well, that's his problem.

Mrs. Bill: Maybe he needs a break from you as well as the food

Bree: Rikki hasn't come back yet and I don't think she's going to. Apparently she's having a really good time, but maybe she'll be back when the money gets tight… I sure hope so, anyway.

The rug in Maybelle's house is not in very good shape, but it is going to be torn out (I think) because they're redecorating their house.

I can't say that I'm very impressed with Meat's glass-breaking talent. Perhaps if he had a talent for cleaning up broken glass I would find him acceptable.

Mrs. Bill: That's not a talent – that's just basic consideration.

Bree: For a rather interesting reason, Coach's girlfriends and the football players call him "JEWELS." (Can you guess the reason they call him that) I wonder if his wife calls him that too.

Mrs. Bill: YES! I doubt it. But the two of them are perfect for each other.

Bree: I went to the basketball game yesterday even though the doctor said I shouldn't leave the house all weekend. I supposedly have the flu but I don't feel sick at all. On Thursday I fainted in the morning & I was really sick so I went to see the doctor (she was an absolute & total idiot), who examined me and said she thought I was coming down with the flu. She told me to stay in bed all weekend.

Now the problem is: I DO NOT stay in bed for 4 days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday) unless I feel sick and after I slept for a few hours on Thursday (I was just getting out of bed when you called and I still felt kind of sleepy so I could only say "uh")

Mrs. Bill: I can't even stay in bed for 4 days if I'm sick. I go crazy.
I found you very eloquent.

Bree: I felt really good. So I said, "Forget that idiotic doctor, I'm going to the game." And I'm glad I went, because I still feel fine (despite my parents telling me I would get even sicker). I saw my good buddy Lips and his friends from Cross Country Cable. I knew one of the guys there because I slammed a car door on his friend's leg after the Hellsborough football game when they guy said he was glad they won. I must have really hurt the other guy's leg (ha ha) because he wasn't at the game – aw, too bad.

Mrs. Bill: I remember you telling that one.

Bree: During the Freshman game Spider (lost as usual) popped in to talk to us. I heard a thud behind me & I turned around. There was Spider (looking like a spider) and I was so surprised I screamed (I hope no one noticed). Then I told Pat to turn around and she said she didn't have time (we were doing stats). Then Pat said, "What happened to Spider?" (he had been sitting across the court from us) and I said, "If you're going to ask that question, turn around!" and Pat says, "But I haven't got time!" Finally she got a chance to look back and she saw Spider and she screamed. The poor guy must think he's really repulsive or something because everyone (well 2 of us anyway) screams when they see him.

Mrs. Bill: You'll give him a complex if he doesn't have one already.

Bree: Then we had a really thrilling discussion with Spider. He seems to be under the impression that he got high with you sometime. IS THIS TRUE???

Mrs. Bill: Not that I recollect. High in what way – on what? I've been on lots of natural highs & even some alcoholic highs at cast parties after the plays if he was at one of those.

Bree: I kind of doubted it because he didn't seem to remember too much about anything. Pat said something about him being lost and he kind of acted queerly (not gay, just queer). He looked like a balloon that was being slowly deflated (BLAH!) and he made some rather odd faces. I asked Spider, "Are you on drugs?" and he said, "no" and so I said, "Then how did you get high." He said "Alcohol and pot are just stimulants." What a kook!

January 20, 1981

Bree: Basketball today… freshmen won. Whoa!

I feel myself becoming shallow. I'm starting to escape from my vacuum and it's not a good sign. Stupid things are important to me. I have to get away – what I need is a long vacation away from the world. However, I have not yet found the travel agent who can arrange it.

Mrs. Bill: Why is a vacuum good – it's artificial.

Bree: The hostages have been released from Iran. Is there something wrong with me – I seem to be the only one around who isn't excited about it.

Mrs. Bill: I'm not excited, merely relieved

Bree: I'm glad they are back but it seems to me that there are people in worse shape than the hostages who no one cares about. It seems sort of ridiculous to worry about 50 people when so many more are dying every day, but I guess it's just some kind of political principle.

Mrs. Bill: Yes or lack of it I'm afraid.

Bree: As Golding might say, PEOPLE ARE BAD.
But not all of them.

Mrs. Bill: Or not all the time just most of the time


--josh-- said...

Yes, it is a shame that you don't get good diarists like that anymore. JimmyZee and ChocalateCake remain two of the most enduring characters in early '80s literature.