Yearbooks From Long, Long Ago...

It's hard to believe that the school year is almost over.  When you get older, time seems to fly by quicker. Old people always used to say that and I never believed them, but now I understand. Soon it will be time for students to say goodbye to teachers and friends for the summer, holding out the yearbook for signatures, some for the very last time as graduating seniors.

How often do you go back and look through your old yearbooks? I recently did, and a flood of memories came back—the good, the bad, and the ugly!  Some of you have been asking me to do more childhood reminiscing on this blog. I'm happy to do that, for whatever it's worth! But it is fun for me to go down memory lane.  As I flipped through my old yearbooks, it occurred to me that what seemed so important back then is just a blip on the radar now, tucked away in my old, dusty, black-and-white yearbooks. The Popular People are all losing hair (or getting grey ones), putting on a few pounds, paying off a mortgage, taking out the garbage on Monday nights, spraying weeds in the cracks of their driveways with Roundup, carting their kids to soccer practice, and packing school lunches at night just like I am.  You know: the day-to-day, mundane living that we all do, whether we were popular or not (which I wasn't). There's a certain sense of smugness in that for me, I must admit.  I have to look back on that time and laugh at all of the drama; it all seems so insignificant now.  But I also cherish the fond memories of good friends and good times.

I thought I'd share the funniest yearbook signatures I have received over the years at my all-girls, Catholic schools. Names have been changed to protect the innocent (or not-so-innocent).

Those Awkward Middle School Years

Seventh Grade:  

Dear Nancy: Have a great summer and see you next year! You're a nice person and you don't need too much fixing up so don't spend too much time pinching your cheeks.
Love, Susan 

(I didn't need too much fixing up...she caught me putting on blush and pinching my cheeks in the girls' bathroom one day.)

Dear Nancy:  I hope you have a great summer! It was a great year and I hope to see you next year!
Love, Margie  

(Gulp. A great year?  Margie, who told me one morning that she wanted to beat me up. I told her, "Fine. Go ahead and try."  She changed her mind after I said that.  In one horrible, horrible incident, she got caught with a consecrated host in her hand one day after a school Mass.  She laughed and said she had wanted to save it for later.  We were horrified. I still remember standing there in that classroom; that image is burned on my brain. Someone told on her and she got into serious trouble. I wonder whatever happened to good old Margie?)

Dear Nancy:  Stay gold, stay cute and funny and have a great summer. Good luck with the guys!
Love, Melanie

(Guys? Haaaaaaa!  Melanie was always a little, shall we say, "worldly.")

Eighth Grade:

Dear Nancy:  You can't really say we were best friends. Good luck.  
Love always, Amanda

(Yet, "love always"? Amanda wasn't really that bad; we just didn't mesh.)

Dear Nancy:
This has been a loooong but fun year. I will always remember your weirdness in French.
Love, Dana

(I don't remember acting weird in French class...c'est vrais?)

Dear Nancy:
You are a funny, sweet, brainy girl! Stay that way in high school, okay? Stay in touch!
Love, Jen

(Jen used to like to tease me until one day at her class pool party when I did an air guitar solo to a John Cougar song in her living room.  After that, I was promptly admitted to her elite clique. By then, it was too late; eighth grade was almost over. Ah, well. Better late than never.)

High School

Ninth Grade:

Dear Nancy:
It has been a joy to have you in the marching band. Your cheerful disposition is like a ray of sunshine. Thank you.
Mr. R.

(Mr. R, the band teacher, and an awesome one at that! I had a new joke for him every morning, and he made sure to laugh at each one. He was the best. Everyone should have a teacher like him.)

To Nancy:
You know what? God gave me the greatest gift ever. U know what it is? You and I becoming friends. You are the greatest person to laugh with, to talk with, and to cry with. I do not know what I would have done if you were not there. I hope we can stay friends for a long time because I need you in my life! Well, I'm going to go now...see ya babe!
Love, Michelle

(So incredibly sweet! Michelle and I are great friends to this very day!)

I'll send you a postcard from Maine. You are fantastically wonderful. Don't guys drive you nuts? 
Love, Barb

(Barb, her real name, who was a laugh a minute and kept me entertained in journalism class.  I blogged about her daughter here.)

Tenth Grade:

Hey Nance:
I can't believe it, but we honestly, truly for real, made it through Honors French III reasonably sane! Remember, there are more important things in this world than men—What? I haven't figured it out yet, but I will! Remember, only dead fish go with the flow!

Love, Kim

(Kim was a year older than me: a junior. Thus, I was quite awed by her. I thought she was quite mature and knew all of the answers to life's greatest mysteries, like how boys think.)

Nancy, you're such a sweet girl. Biology has been pretty interesting, especially the pig! When you think of pigs, think of me.
Love, Colleen

(Sophomore year was the year we dissected a fetal pig in biology class. It was disgusting. I was traumatized for years by the sight and the smell.)

Eleventh Grade:

Nancy! You definitely made comparative religion class interesting and entertaining! Also, I thank you for correcting my note to Jenny, and all of my other papers. Can't wait 'til we go the Beach Boys concert!
Love ya, Amy

(Oh dear, I was a copy editor even back then! Ugh. And yes, we had a blast at the Beach Boys concert!)

Dear Nancy:
Can't believe junior year is finally coming to a close. Next year we will RULE the school!
Love, Kristie

(Oh, the sheer joy of ruling the school! I miss those days! LOL)


Hey Nancy:
You wild woman you! It's been great loungin' on the couch with you. Hope to see you in the Detroit News one day as a famous reporter! Have a wild 'n crazy summer!
Luv, Heather
P.S. Call me

(Okay, first of all, I was not a "wild woman." Second of all, a "wild 'n crazy summer" was never in my future. Heather was a little wild 'n crazy herself.  However, I did freelance for the Detroit News in the late 1990s: a dream come true!)

Dear Nancy:
Remember me every time you eat strawberry pie and go to Big Boy.  Good luck at Michigan State. I can't believe we graduated.
Love, Renee

(I will never forget those plaid polyester uniform skirts: freezing cold in the winter and hot in the spring.)

Dear Nancy:
You are a really sweet girl. I know people say that just to take up space but I truly mean it. Good luck at MSU. Give me a ring and I'll come up and visit sometime. Good luck with your boyfriend, too.
Love, Rachel

(This one makes me laugh. Rachel wished me good luck with my boyfriend, and guess what? I married him four years later!)

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