As we slide into the month of May, I am reminded of what was happening in my life thirty-five years ago. In 1987, I was about to graduate from high school. I had recently been kicked out of Camelback High for ditching classes and through some wrangling, begging, and promising to do things differently, they allowed me to finish out the year if I did not miss a single class.
I realized a little later, maybe a few years, that they weren’t really doing me a favor. They were doing themselves a favor. They wanted to get rid of a guy like me. I was trouble. I didn’t think of myself as trouble, but I was. I had been at Camelback for just over a year and a half and had been suspended three times. During the second semester of my junior year, I missed just about as many classes as I attended. This was why mom was so upset with me when I got home from seeing Siouxsie and the Banshees and Love & Rockets.
But I digress. Back to the last month of my high school career.
I had to sign into each class every day. This seems like a small thing, but to me, an avid ditcher, it was horrible. It seemed, at the time, like it would be the longest month of my life. I was determined, though, to finish strong. I had to be in class, so I might as well show them what I could do. I wrote a few things for the school newspaper and was part of the video news, as well.
I would go on and give my opinion about things once a week. I wish I had a recording of those newscasts. It would be fun to go back and watch them. There was one time, and I don’t remember what I was supposed to talk about, but the taping got moved up a day and I had a little too much fun while off campus at lunch. I was, as Suzy Q used to say, high as a Georgia pine and when I strolled into newspaper class, the teacher told me I had to be ready to tape my spot in five minutes.
It ended up being pretty funny, but when it aired during 2nd hour the next day, I couldn’t help but see what I looked like when I was super high and now it was in front of the whole school. Several of my friends got a big kick out of it. Ah, the Spartan News.
In addition to being a good and attentive student, I also worked at Marshall’s in the Colonnade in those days. I had met a young lady at my job named Cheryl. She was a sophomore, I think, and we started dating a bit. It was probably not the best idea to date someone where I worked, but it’s not like Marshall’s was going to be a career for me. I was heading into the Army in September of that year, so it was a fling, but it did make going to work a little different than I had expected.
And there was also the fact that Chery’s mom was a customer at Easy Street. My mother and she, I can’t remember her name, maybe it was Beverly, had become friends to an extent. Friendly enough that my mom had shared some of my less than stellar exploits with her, so Cheryl’s mom was not in favor of us dating. I found this to be very entertaining, but it was hard on Cheryl, I think. It was also difficult because none of her friends, except one who worked with us at Marshall’s and knew me, approved either.
She was a softball player and part of the jock crowd, and I was definitely not that. She liked me, though, and I liked hanging out with her. We played tennis, went to some movies, and had a lot of mostly innocent fun together. She was there, for example, the night that Mark got sick in the bathroom of the movie theater and told me a big Native American dude knocked him down and puked on him.
But I digress again. There I was, working the shoe department in Marshall’s, going to school during the day, sporting a mohawk, and getting ready to be done with high school. I was driving my mom’s 220SL Mercedes a lot and just having a basically good time.
Michael and I were hanging out a lot at our friend’s apartment. Scott, may he rest in peace, and James lived over on Glenrosa, I think, near 16th street. That complex might not even be there anymore, as I think of it, since it may have been right in the path of what is now the Piestewa Parkway or SR51. But we were hanging out there a lot in those days and just having a blast.
Scott was a gregarious dude and an excellent drummer. It always bummed me out that we never got to play music together. He just had a way about him that made you feel comfortable. Michael, Mark, Teresa, and so many of our core group of friends were there a lot on Friday and Saturday nights in that spring and summer of 1987.
I learned a few things there that I was not going to learn in school, that’s for sure. It was there, for example, that I learned how much I truly did not like cocaine. There was a lot of it flowing around in those days and I briefly dabbled with it. I couldn’t afford that nonsense and when I would buy a little bit here and there, I made it last.
One night I was with some people at Scott and James’ place and did my tiny little amount and somebody said, that’s not how you do cocaine and showed me what a proper line looked like. After I tried this “proper” line, I realized why people liked it so much because it was a completely different high. But it still wasn’t a high for me.
I will have to get back to this story again tomorrow.
See you tomorrow and stay away from the blow.
This was a place we called The Stoops. Camelback and Hayden. It used to be so fun to skate before the city of Scottsdale fucked it up. I hate Scottsdale.