I’m sure you’re all asking yourself the same thing: “Who do you think you are? What have you done in your life to make you anything special?”
I have an answer to that question.
What “special” thing happened to me? Absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact, I’d like to think that my experience in high school was one of the more traditional experiences. I wasn’t one of the popular elite, I wasn’t the superstar athlete, or the prodigy student. I didn’t have a band, wasn’t the lead in any plays, or had any headline-making encounters with administration.
Wow, that sounds like a boring high school experience when I read that.
So why would I write these memoirs? What have I experienced, or what has happened to me during high school to make writing “memoirs” possible, or even fathomable?
There’s really only one thing – I had a “conventional” experience in high school. All my young life my fanciful mind watched “Saved by the Bell,” “The Wonder Years,” “Daria” (of MTV Fame), “Beverly Hills 90210” (to a lesser extent), “Buffy” (to a lesser extent), and “My So Called Life,” though I was too young to really understand it. Being the oldest child, with no experience to judge what I saw on TV (and being somewhat gullible) compared to high school reality, I thought that was how it was (including the corny laugh track and cheesy “lesson learning” music). Yet none of those things I saw on TV shows ever happened. While I was volunteering during my 2-year service mission, my mind reflected a lot on what happened, and while I never won a state championship, never was crowned Homecoming King, and never had my name etched in the timeless Wiki of Lake Orion High School as “Notable Alumni,” I’m actually relieved those things didn’t happen to me. I was able to watch with (hidden) esteem for those “above” me in the high school food chain, and view those “below” me with glaring indifference. Because that is the harsh reality of high school. You’re either wanting to be in someone’s shoes or looking down on someone. That’s blunt landscape of the high school jungle.
So the first thought process behind my project is to document a “realistic” high school experience for my lineage. The second is to document what I feel was the defining period of the technological age, the years of 1999-2003.
While the starting point for these memoirs starts with the the summer of 2000 and goes until summer of 2001, I’m shocked at how much of a different landscape highschoolers today have. Cell phones are mandatory, texting is standard, Facebook is how you determine a friendship, and there seems to be so much “more” of everything now compared to only 9 or 10 years ago. Many of my generation want to be nostalgic, but don’t feel it’s the right time to do so (the NY Times has a great article on this here).
This is as much a cultural memoir as it is a high school memoir. While most of my information is coming from strange nuggets in my memory, I’m in the process of researching and incorporating many things from these time periods to give the correct setting. I’ll talk more about the cultural aspect in another post, but suffice it to say that this time period will be one looked at with much interest in later years.
I look back on these years with fondness. I hope you will as well.