Saturday, June 21, 2008

my crown

Here's a school memory submitted by Kelly...

I still have my cheesy cardboard crown from when I was voted Homecoming Queen. You'll probably say who wouldn't save their crown if they were voted homecoming queen, but it really stood for more to me.

I graduated from a high school in a small town here in NJ. There were under 100 kids in my graduating class. With the exception of 4 years, I went to this school district and grew up with my classmates. I was NOT popular. I was picked on mercilessly (or at least what I felt was mercilessly) in elementary school because I had scoliosis and walked funny and I had big feet. I moved away, and then back again for high school and was petrified that the teasing would just begin again. It didn't, I just kind of blended in and that was that. I went to the Homecoming dance my junior year with my boyfriend, and it was fine, but when I was a senior I told my new boyfriend from a different HS (now my husband) that I didn't want to go. I said, "The only way we are going is if I get nominated Queen." He said, "Oh-I guess we're not going." LOL. Even he knew how it was and he didn't go to school with me. I was not the girl to get nominated for this. At this point, I wasn't an outcast, but I was definately not the captain of the cheerleading squad or the really pretty girl in the 90210 clique who both were always nominated for these things and won for the past 3 years. Well, imagine my surprise when they announced the nominees over the loudspeaker and my name was one of them. I could not believe it. I called my boyfriend and told him it looked like we would have to go to homecoming. He said, "Get the hell out of here!" He didn't believe it either. My friends were excited, but I was waiting for the punchline.

I went to the dance and waited anxiously for the announcement. Our school announced the winners at the dance, not the football game. Good thing, because I played the clarinet in the marching band so I would have had to be playing at half-time. See why I didn't think I'd be nominated? Who nominates the clarinet player in the marching band who is on the National Honor Society????

They finally got everybody organized and made the announcement and TA-DA, they announced that I had won. I was the Homecoming Queen. I went up to the stage to collect my crown, and for a quick second glanced toward the ceiling looking for the bucket of pig's blood (think the movie Carrie). I still remember walking through the crowd and hearing a classmate-Ricky was his first name (I remember his last but won't give it away)-say, "I want a re-count!" THAT I expected. But it didn't matter. It's so silly now, but it felt like "One small step for me; one giant leap for had been shell dwellers and girls who never felt good enough."

The pain of getting picked on when I was little had long since subsided by the time I was awarded my crown, but it was always in my mind that I could be a target at any minute. When they announced my name, that feeling disappeared. The majority of people there didn't feel like Ricky did, so yeah-I still have that crown.

Signed, Kelly

Great story Kelly, thanks for sharing!


My Roller Skates

Here's a story submitted by L. of New Jersey...


My Roller Skates

My skates are my most prized possession. I have been skating since I was a teenager, many years ago. My friends and I would skate all summer- most evenings we would bring a radio outside and skate up and down our block in Queens, NY and lots of kids would join us. We would skate at Flushing Meadow Park, the site of the World’s Fair, and at United Skates of America on weekends. Sometimes we would even walk home after skating - about 40 blocks! If we didn’t skate, our week was incomplete. Now my friends from the rink feel the same way.

I have a friend at the rink who is 73 years old and you would never know it. He is a great skater, teaches people how to skate, and always helps fellow skaters of all ages. He also has a great sense of humor. He glides along effortlessly. I have a hard time keeping up with him! He inspires me. Skating really is age-defying. It’s also a great exercise as you get older because it is low impact and easier on the knees.

I started roller skating again about seven years ago at a rink in Wayne, New Jersey. Unfortunately, the rink has since closed which happens all too often. The first time I skated again I felt like I was going to have a heart attack! Then I quickly got my energy back and was soon skating two to three times per week. It was great to be back on wheels again. I made great friends at the rink and realized that skating is healing and gives us strength and joy. Skating brings together people of all generations – we have a strong bond – we love to skate! My skating friends are like family. We teach each other new dance steps and encourage each other. We help each other when we fall.

Roller skating helps your concentration and focus because you must be alert and aware of the skaters around you while you skate. You also get to enjoy the beauty of parks when you skate outdoors. I find that skating allows you to live in the present, in the moment. I feel so energized after I skate. I also lost fifteen pounds skating.

My boots are coming off of the skates so it’s time for new skates but I am grateful for my skates and will keep them forever!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Poems in my yearbook

Here's a story submitted by a member:

Well, one of the most cherished things I have from high school are a few poems written in my yearbook from a guy who I was madly in love with. I found out years later he loved me too. This was after we lost touch for a bit then I came to find out he had died. I visited his parents after the fact and they gave me a picture of him which I still keep in my wallet to this day.

I've never stopped loving Richie and visit him often at his grave, but have his picture and words on paper to remind me of him every day.

Signed, D.


Thank you for sharing your story, D.!