My high school has long since been closed. The building has had many uses but no changes and now seems to be in stasis, waiting for the next phase. Rather a nice metaphor for the life of a writer.
I have no idea if I was in the right clique, or any at all. I had a nice group of friends and didn’t feel the need for others. If I wanted excitement, I found it in the stories I made up.
Two events do come to mind, the assassination of Kennedy, which I made into a fantasy story, and the visit of scientist Linus Pauling, who hadn’t graduated from the school because he didn’t have enough humanities credits. Since he’d already been admitted to college, it didn’t really matter. He came in 1967 for his fiftieth reunion. His story cheered me because I nearly flunked Algebra II because I wrote stories instead of listening to the teacher. I admit that now I’m sorry, even though, like Peggy Sue, I haven’t needed it since.
So I don’t have any lingering traumas or triumphs from my four years at Washington High School. In my senior year, I did get two poems published in the local paper, The Oregonian. I got a dollar each. The first check I cashed, the second I still have. From then on I considered myself a professional writer. So for those of you who also dreamed your way through adolescence or who have children now doing so (without drugs, etc.) don’t panic. Personally, I think that living in the world of people I created both prepared me for my career and saved me from the terrors of high school life.