April 24th, 2009



OMG! I bet you thought I was never going to get my diploma! Where the hell was I? Aaaah, yes, moving from Belgium to Germany! Back when we moved to Germany, there were US military bases everywhere, all over the freaking country. Berlin still had its wall, after all. There were so many other DoDDS (Department of Defense Dependents Schools) that our sports teams didn't even have to play against any German schools, ever. My dad was stationed at Ramstein AFB, but we lived in Landstuhl which was where the military hospital and Army post were, and we went to school in Vogelweh at Kaiserslautern American High School, otherwise known as K-Town. The K-Town military community is the largest one outside the U.S. and we were surrounded by Americans everywhere we turned. It was really different from living on the economy, off-base, in Belgium.

The military housing that we lived in on Landstuhl hill was one of three 12-story high-rise buildings. They were "segregated" —our building had officers, the other 2 had enlisted families, but we all went to the same schools and hung out together. We lived on the top floor in a big 4-bedroom apartment with a balcony. I don't think I mentioned that for the entire 6 years we lived in Europe, we had no television, so we had a great conversation opener for making friends—everyone felt sorry for us and invited us over to watch the 1 English-speaking (military) channel that showed Dallas and Saturday Night Live and other bad programming from the States. I made friends with the oldest daughter (and the youngest) of a family on the 8th floor and their apartment quickly became my second home, and her parents my second set. I'm still in touch with a great many of my high school friends and was thrilled to see them at our 20-year reunion.

10th gradeAAAA! The horror continues. I promise, it gets better. Gods only know what happened to me on THAT school photo day—I look like something the cat dragged in. A velvet vest, a lace butterfly brooch and holy 80s, a cravat! A cravat, of all things. HEE! I liked my school, I had friends in every clique: cheerleaders, popular kids, stoners, nerds, whatever. I sang in the school choir AND in an inter-denominational church choir on base. I was such a good girl and was very into religion at this point: Bible youth groups, the works. Funny, when I look back on it now, because my views of organized religion are so colored by this period of my life and even though I have ultimately moved on, I had a GREAT time these 3 years.

11th gradeBy 11th grade I had had my fill of short hair forever. I went shoulder-length and never went back. I still obviously had curling iron issues that wouldn't resolve themselves for another couple of years, but I was starting to settle into my self. The stickpin cracks me up! Anyone else have a stickpin? I probably still have it somewhere. I don't think I was dating anyone at this point, though I had dated a long-haired rocker boy for 7 months at some point during 10th or 11th grade. I was still pretty much a goody-two-shoes though. I was already planning to major in art for university and was concentrating on art and English classes. My favorite classes were Humanities, Social Studies and Art. I learned how to do calligraphy and had started writing poetry. And was still a reading fiend, of course.

12th gradeFinally, senior year! It's funny—I think this one harks back to my 1st & 2nd grade pics somehow. I was a total social butterfly, busy all the time. In addition to all the choir concerts, tours and competitions, I was the manager for the dance drill team, had a singing bit part in our school production of South Pacific and in the yearbook Senior Hall of Fame, I was voted Most Talkative AND Class Clown. (!) In the spring I finally hooked up with a boy I had liked for a long time and we dated intensely until graduation, double-dating to Prom with one of my best friends. My dad tried to find another posting so that our family could stay in Europe but alas, bases were closing and military families were getting shipped home. We moved back to the States in the summer of '82, and I went on to college at Michigan State.

WHEW! I can't believe I made it through all 12 years of school photos. I can't believe YOU did, either! Especially after 8th, 9th and 10th grade! Hope you enjoyed the ride through these memories, bad hair days, Little House comparisons and all. Har!

Previously: Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Junior High