October 09, 2012

stay cool and never change

Today I read poetry to the kids, to the backdrop of songs like Ben Harper's, "The Three of Us", from his album Welcome to the Cruel World.  I read poems by James Stevenson such as:

At the planetarium,
Small children stare
Out the windows
Of the buses,
Looking for the universe.

After we read poetry, we snacked on cool-cucumber-flavored potato chips.  I love teaching my kids at home. 
There are some wonderful things about institutionalized education, however, that our kids will totally miss out on.  A new one occurred to me just today:  yearbooks.

Yearbooks!  Those hard-cover collections of glossy, black-and-white pictures of the band and the debate team and the soccer team, zoomed out so far that actual faces are impossible to decipher - unless you were the one with the horrible perm that semester or unless you were the cheerleader on the grass, front and center, doing the splits.  The rows and rows of small square head shots, no one looking their best.  The pictures of teachers you would rather not remember, who smiled for the camera while walking down the hall, and that was the first time you had seen them smile all year.  The winners of "Best Eyes" and "Most Likely to Succeed,"  which always went to the same people because high schoolers are notoriously predictable.  And then there was the very best part of all - the signatures.  There was the full-page signature from your best friend, in which she wrote around and around in a giant cyclone that culminated at the center with a curlycue heart.  There was the signature from your boyfriend, in which he did not declare nearly the amount of love for you that you had declared for him.  You pardoned him on account of the fact that other people would be reading your yearbook, but not before shedding a few tears in the girls room after 6th period.  There was the signature from your best-friend-that's-a-guy, and it was infinitely sweeter than your boyfriend's signature, which made your day.  Everyone else wrote a variation of, "Stay cool and never change," except for that one guy who always scrawled along the margin at the binding with the words, "I was the first one to sign your crack!" Your mother saw that later and exclaimed, "Oh my, who are these people who go to school with you?"  You thought to yourself, 'Mom, if you only knew.'  But she knew perfectly well.  She had been to high school once herself.

I guess the kids will be alright without yearbooks, now that I think about it.  They can look at mine, if they must (which I've kept because the darn things cost $45 each) and they can see who played the viola at Holland High School in 1997.