Friday, August 1, 2008

2 cool 2 be 4 gotten

Even though I haven't yet mustered up the courage to read my teenage diaries (maybe while Noel and the kids are out of town next week?), I continue to think about my dreadfully naive, self-conscious teenage self.

I was reminded recently of the tradition of signing high school yearbooks by two things: (1) Miss American Pie, which features at least one diary entry where Margaret Sartor reports what various people wrote in her yearbook; and (2) the Comics Panel's review of Alex Robinson's latest graphic novel, Too Cool To Be Forgotten -- the title being both a stereotypical yearbook inscription and a reference to Kool cigarettes.

After my senior year of high school, I frequently hauled out that year's annual and reveled in the notes my classmates had written me. I was never a popular girl, but I found my niche that year by expanding my circle of geek friends out into the theater and reject -- and to some extent, rebel -- communities. To me it seemed that the endpapers of that book recorded the highwater-mark of my standing among my peers. (It was also the coolest yearbook design I could remember, with the little black ribbon we all had to wear on our school uniforms actually threaded through holes in the front cover and tied in a bow.)

What I can't remember is what I wrote in anybody else's yearbook, although the terrible pressure to pen something memorable and impressive is seared into my emotional memory. I wish I could collect those books from my friends and see what I thought counted as memorable and impressive back then.

Did you have a standard yearbook inscription? Do you remember what other people wrote to you? And how did you feel about that particular high school tradition?

4 comments:

Doc Thelma said...

I think all my yearbooks are in a box downstairs. If/when I find them I can give you a sample of N=1.

the secret knitter said...

This was always a big deal for everyone, as though certain people's signatures indicated more than being passing acquaintances in class or politeness. (And there was always the joker who had to write something mildly lewd about putting their inscription in the crack.) Maybe this is still a big deal for students, but I suspect it's ported over to being friended on Facebook and other social networks.

doafy said...

Oh no, Secret Knitter, it's still a big deal. If nothing else, myspace and facebook have made my students into experts at "i love you, stay sweet" comments that go on for pages. It's probably also a symptom of getting their yearbooks more than 3 days before the end of the year, but they'll take someone's yearbook hostage for a day and write a *novel* in it.

Did you see the movie "Can't Hardly Wait"? Melissa Joan Hart's character is my entire school.

"It's all about the memories!"

(secretly, I envy their ability to write meaningful yearbook entries. I could never think of anything to say to my best friend, who had always saved me an entire page.)

Timothy said...

I always took up half a page signing my friends' books, telling them how I knew we'd be friends forever, how much our sophomore/junior/senior year was gonna rock! (we got our books for the previous school year at the beginning of the next), and drawing shooting stars and smilies. I took great pride in crafting an identity I wanted others to perceive on the end pages of yearbooks b/c you know you read EVERYONE's messages when it came your turn to sign a friend's book.