Monday, September 22, 2008

THE WAY WE WEREN'T: a rumination

Hayden Penettiere stars as Claire Bennet,
a high school cheerleader with self-healing powers,
in the TV series, Heroes.

Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me - would we? could we?

Those lines by Marvin Hamlisch from, The Way We Were, got me to thinking about the past and some of the things I regret doing and others I wish I'd done. My ruminations lead to this.

by Bill Fullerton

While no BMOC, I enjoyed high school. Having gone to college the summer before my senior year on a special program, I knew high school was a sweet deal and did my best to savor every day of my senior year.

With an enrollment that always hovered around 300 (1-12) my school was so small I got to do things, such as play basketball and serve as photographer on the yearbook staff, which my very low skill level would have prohibited at a bigger place.

That’s not to say I don’t regret some of the things I did while there and kick myself over others I didn’t do. What follows is one of the latter.

You see, there was this short, cute, blonde cheerleader in my class who I’d had a crush on since, oh, the fourth grade. We were juniors when our parents received invitations to the inaugural ball for the state’s new governor. Hers couldn’t go; mine could and invited her to come with us. Us, in this case, included me.

The bottom line was I had something very much like a real date all lined up, finally, with my long-time heartthrob. And not just any date. It would involve a formal dance followed by a three-hour drive back home, at night, with my parents in the front seat and the two of us alone in the dark backseat. Oh, be still my beating heart.

Then came the proverbial hitch in the get-along. I beat on the bass drum in the school band. No problem with that, until bad weather postponed the winter concert to the night of the inaugural ball. The director said I had an obligation to the band and that since I’d missed a similar concert the year before (it wasn’t my fault, honest), if I was a no-show for this one, he’d toss me out of the band.

I did feel a bit guilty at the thought of skipping the concert, and I did like playing in the band. But I also wanted to "letter" in four different areas. My school gave letters for basketball, track, winning state in the yearly scholastic competition (we called it, Literary Rally) and for participating in band. No one had ever lettered in all four, and I was on track to do just that. But no band, no fourth letter.

So for all those reasons, I caved in to the band director’s pressure. If I ever had any hopes concerning the cute cheerleader, which is doubtful, they ceased to exist.

In hindsight, I’m certain skipping the concert and going to the ball with the cheerleader would have changed nothing. We were, and continue to be, good friends who still have our original spouses. But I've a strong hunch spending that evening with her, instead of a fool bass drum, would have been much more memorable and, for me at least, a lot more fun.

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