• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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All in All It’s Just Another Brick in the Wall



I’m not saying I took this writer on because he was 19 or because he was a genius. It just didn’t hurt. Please check our Nikil Goyal‘s new book (yes he wrote his first book while he was in high school, slackers)  SCHOOLS ON TRIAL: How Freedom and Creativity Can Fix Our Educational Malpractice. He is a passionate and brilliant young man who has a vision for the future of schools that includes learning.

I smoked a lot of pot in high school. And wrote bad poems. What did you do?


20 Responses

  1. Same as you, naturally. I did it in the closet, which had a blacklight and posters of Patti Smith.

  2. I wrote a truly terrible novel. I was pretty proud of myself, although not proud enough to show it to anyone. Thank god.

  3. I went to high school in Pennsylvania, Alaska, and Nevada and all I wanted was to fit in. So I changed identities, including handwriting, in order to not be the outcast. And so began my lifelong interest in graphology.

  4. Danced, studied, spent a lot of time trying to survive a terrible boyfriend and getting spiral perms, but mostly held my breath waiting for it to be over.

  5. i still smoke pot and write bad poems.

  6. Basically, I spent a lot of time trying to persuade the other kids I was cool. Persuasion usually meant getting myself in trouble to prove it. Like stealing pink slips off the desk of the Attendance Counselor and learning to forge her name. I’d have a line of people waiting to get one to cut a class or two. I felt needed and popular when people I didn’t even know ran up to me in the hallways during class change, needing one. When I got caught and that enterprise dried up, so did the cool factor, never to return.

  7. Ran cross country and track. Worked on the school newspaper and caddied at a municipal golf course. Needless to say, I didn’t get laid.

    Congratulations to Nikhal Goyal — he was there and saw what’s broken.

  8. Jotted down ideas on index cards and stuck them in shoeboxes, each labeled with the title of a screenplay I planned to write but never did. Wrote and illustrated half of a pop-up children’s book that’s sitting at my feet now, as if maybe one day I’ll finish it. Played the trumpet. Fell asleep listening to “Moonlight Sonata” on repeat. Wore Doc Marten’s and baggy jeans and tiny tank tops. Coveted men’s sweaters. Kissed lots of boys. Crushed on lots of girls. Wanted one of each. Ran. Flew. Despaired.

  9. I drove away every day after a class or two until eventually I stopped going altogether. I’m still not sure why. I can only remember this crushing fatigue that would come over me, that would only lift when I’d climbed into my dad’s old Ford pickup truck and rounded the corner to freedom.

  10. We moved around so much that I told the kids, who asked why we moved, that my dad was a fugitive. I wasn’t cool, or fit in, until we had to move again.

  11. I didn’t smoke pot or write poems in high school. The pot came later, in college. Never picked up the poetry habit. But I did, in the Irish Catholic mode, drink lots of beer and “g&t’s” in high school and tried very hard, with limited success, to get my hands on the intimate parts of girls. Played lots of basketball too. Since you asked . .

    –Gerald Howard aka the editor of Schools on Trial and esteemed publishing veteran and sweetheart

  12. Talkin about my generation.

  13. Drank too much, fought now and then, tormented teachers, got kicked out repeatedly, fell in love now and then, fought with the old man until I quit school in my Junior year. That broke his heart, and we stopped fighting.

    I went back to a different school with a no-bullshit Principal named Ed Jarvie, a former Golden Gloves boxer said to be willing to put the gloves on with you if you wanted, but none of us wanted. There were no-bullshit teachers, too, including The Lit Lady, who led us through The Scarlet Letter, The Red Badge of Courage, and Moby Dick as though she had a map and compass and could see the stars on a cloudy night.

    The old man, Ed, and the Lit Lady changed my life, and I will always love them. There are others, too, including Bob Mader, the shop teacher who told me that if I quit I wouldn’t have the guts to go back to school, and a counselor who sided with this surly little prick more than once.

    I will always owe them.

  14. I sat in class behaving myself, feeling all smug and prim and mildly superior, which set me up for a long and lovely fall from grace a good 30+ years later.

  15. Smoked a lot of pot while eating peanut buster parfaits and reading Jackie Collins and John Saul. Very productive.

  16. High school sucked. I was a fucking goodie two shoes (oxymoron intended). Studied. All the time. My best friend was the magnolia tree outside my window, and you know how short-lived those blooms are.

  17. I did all my partying in junior high school. In high school I too wrote bad poems and worked to pay my share of the rent.

  18. Wow, Betsy, we could be twins. I, too, smoked a lot of pot in high school, and wrote bad poems (a few of which were bad enough to get published — go figure).

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