I’ve wanted to write about his for a long time. I’ve tried to write about it in book form several times, but each attempt has been abandoned. I realized that the reason I’ve had trouble telling this story in the past is because it is a story that needs time. It was a year of my life and what happened there can’t be retold in a book. I’ve come to the conclusion that the serial format of a weblog is the perfect method for telling this story. This is a rather long story, so I’ll be taking some time to tell you it.
Gifted and Talented is the name of the school program for the smart kids. I had been in Gifted and Talented programs in Junior High, so when I was “invited” into the GT program at Kearns High, I was happy. My best friend, Suzanne Clark, wouldn’t sign up with me. She hadn’t been invited, but we could work around that. She had other plans, though. “That’s the only period that French 5-6 is taught.” It was so easy for her to make the cut. French is more important than advanced learning.
My schedule said that the teacher was Mr. Johnson. I imagined an amalgam of all my Gifted and Talented teachers. I imagined Mr. Godfrey’s enthusiasm and lack of regard for authority. I imagined Mr. Bradley’s mathematical genius and interesting methods for remembering formulas and concepts. I imagined that Mr. Johnson would be an exciting and rambunctious combination of all my GT teachers.
I didn’t know who had signed up for the class. None of the people that I was super friends with was signing up, so for all I knew, it would all be kids from Kearns Junior High and I would be the only one from Kennedy Junior High. I truly didn’t know what to expect when I found Mr. Johnson’s classroom.
I didn’t know what to expect, but I hoped for something completely unattainable. There was a television show called The Head of the Class. The students were little geniuses and the teacher was totally cool, just like Mr. Godfrey without the curly red hair. This wasn’t the first time that television lied to me. Not only was GT not like The Head of the Class, it could have turned into the polar opposite.
I walked into class that first day and I found old faces and two new faces:
Steve Bryson: the long-haired blonde rocker with dark brown eyebrows who drove a beat up
gold bronze Porsche (yeah, a Porsche at Kearns High!). He was from Kearns Kennedy Junior High: New face to me, though.
Tiffany Horsely: the tall, brown-haired rocker chick. I knew her from Kennedy Junior High and she had been dating Matt Mondragon since seventh grade.
Matt Strebe: the tall geek. I knew his face from Kennedy Junior High, but I didn’t really know anything about him.
Dylan: my old friend from Academy Park. By then I had so many stories to tell you about Dylan that it would take several blog entries to catch you up. Let’s just say he was a brother in arms.
Penny Egbert: the tall, blonde bombshell from Kennedy. Her Levi 501 jeans were painted on. She was an expert swimmer, ran for office every year and was so smart. Beautiful, fit and brainy, she was everything I wanted to be.
Mike Moncur: the curly haired geek. I had gone to Academy Park with him, too, but I didn’t have as many stories about him. I remember him being shy and smart, that’s it.
Dawni Angel Burton: She was a new face. Her hair was cut in “steps” and was both blonde and auburn (shocking!). She was obviously a “Waver.” We had one Waver at Kennedy Junior High, but she ended up going to Cyprus High School instead of Kearns.
The year was 1984. New Wave was young in Utah. George Orwell was supremely wrong, but hey, there’s still time. None of that was in my mind. All I could look at were her shoes. It was bugging me. That new girl, Dawni, didn’t have any shoelaces in her tennis shoes. I discretely tried to tell her that the “No Shoelaces” trend was long gone and she said, “I wore my tennis shoes without shoelaces before it was popular, I can wear them after it’s not.”
Update 01-23-07: Steve Bryson just dropped me a line and corrected some of my memories! God, it’s good to hear from an old friend!