High School Expectations

My desk needed clearing out.  Newspaper articles, flyers for decades old events, maps for places I’ve never been had cluttered the drawers to the point where I could barely open them.  A quiet Saturday seemed like the best time to sort through and, hopefully, discard the contents.

Of course, I had to unfold and read every scrap of paper. I lingered over memories evoked by crayon drawings my daughter made in 2nd grade which were preserved underneath, not in,  a mostly empty scrap-book.  I found my 5th grade yearbook.  I wished I’d had it with me when, earlier this summer, I’d revisited Edgewater the small community in the Bronx where I’d lived when I’d been in the 5th grade.   It would have been fun to compare the pictures of the community from the yearbook with the present.

Then I found my high school graduation exercises program.  A rather uninspired pamphlet, no testimonials or messages from grads or parents, simply a list of the graduates with a very brief history of their activities and a line for “Career.”

It was the career line that fascinated me.  The year was 1976 not 1956 but under the girls names the career goals were primarily nursing, teaching, secretary, cosmetology or, perhaps more telling, nothing.  The boys were more varied.  One was going to be a Sports Announcer, a google search of his name yielded nothing.    Another listed Marine Biologist.  There were a many doctors, lawyers and engineers.

Only one grad, a girl, listed writer.  I know that she instead became a computer programmer.   I wonder at a few who listed very specific jobs – Basketball Pro, Probation Officer, X-Ray Technician, Marine Construction(what the heck is Marine Construction?), Commercial Artist and Stewardess.  These grads hadn’t just identified a field but had located an actual role they wanted.  I wonder if specificity aided them in achieving their goal.

I googled one who had listed Computer Programmer.  All I could find was a Police Sargeant for the Chicago PD.

I googled the Basketball Pro and thought I’d found someone who had achieved their high school aspiration but it no, it wasn’t him.

I googled my own (maiden) name.  It yielded six pictures (none of whom were me). Under the various Linda Allan’s one was a judge, one an admissions officer for PTI and one a graphic artist.  I didn’t find myself.  I didn’t expect to.

High school is all about thinking you’ve found yourself.  You set goals and head off into the future with a plan. Then you experience  the disintegration of that plan as you become the person you are thirty years hence.

Me?  I was going to be a lawyer.


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