I’m going to be performing my one-woman show, “The Deportee’s Wife” this Monday at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. A person who I went to Herricks Senior High School with in New York hooked me up for the gig. Our school’s mascot was a Highlander. I wish I was kidding.
She and I haven’t seen each other since graduation, and we’ll see each other for the first time in over 20 years Sunday night, a definite added plus to the performance visit.
This got me thinking about high school, and my yearbook.
My high school yearbook is one of the few books that I took with me to Mexico. It’s not that my time at Herricks was the best of my life-for most of us, high school really wasn’t. But when I was packing up my books and Picasso’s books into boxes in Chicago, I realized how many of these boxes were not going to come with me to Mexico.
There was something solid and sturdy about my yearbook, and I slid it on the dashboard of the rusty, blue ’89 Chevy Celebrity station wagon that I bought for $900 for the move to my new life.
I turned the key in the ignition, and started the trip.
Every once in a while, I’d bring my yearbook to an English class that I was teaching. I once gave a note to a boy who I really liked during high school marching band practice that ended up becoming a perfect example for teaching the phrase, “unrequited love” to English language learners.
Or I’d pull the yearbook down from the bookshelf when I talked with a new friend in Mexico about our high school years in the States. I looked at the pictures and wondered who still lived in Long Island, and who moved somewhere else. This, of course, was before Facebook.
I brought the yearbook back with me to California when I moved here. Some of the people who were frozen in time in a senior year photo are now friends with me on Facebook. And one Herricks graduate, Ivan and Posey’s Momma, opened her home to me when I first arrived to California.
I’m sitting here with the yearbook next to me now as I write this. I know that I’m not the only one who looks at my senior yearbook picture, and wants to protect myself from the sadness that is to come.
But on the other hand, I also want to tell her that she won’t live a life of unrequited love.
And that one day, she’ll find her voice-in all senses of the word.