A Turn

It was time to choose classes for high school.

My brother was still in the hospital, my parents were either working or going to see him in the hospital, and my sister was often not around now that she didn’t need to be home to run interference between my brother and I.  It was her freshman year of college, and she’d joined a sorority.   I was glad she was finally getting to do normal stuff instead of having to take of us.

Me, I was floating around in a bubble.  I didn’t talk about my brother at school, except for the short conversations with my language arts teacher who had also had my brother as a student.  Most people had no idea what was going on.  And I liked it that way.  School was the one place where, now that my brother no longer attended, I could feel as if I was mostly like everyone else.  I poured myself into my studies, I poured lemon juice on my hair to make it more blond, I tried to fit in wherever I could.

So it was time to choose the course of my life for the next four years.

I loved the thought of having more choice over what I was studying.  I knew I’d take Freshman English; I was given the all clear to sign up for the highest level.  I planned on Honors Algebra;  I liked math and figured that would be a no brainer.  The craft teacher who was pulled in to teach us this year signed off on the choice.  Band was also a given; everyone as a Freshman was put into the lowest ability band with the opportunity to move upwards with time and practice.  That was three out of the six courses right there.

I wanted to take a foreign language so that I’d have four full years of one.  French, German or Spanish were the options.  Me being me, I chose French solely because Rick Springfield had French in some of his songs.  I’m not making that up.  Plus I did like the sound of it over Spanish, and back in those days, we really had no understanding in the Midwest of how influential Spanish would be come over time.  We were closer to Quebec than Mexico, for heaven’s sake.  Four out of six.

I needed a social studies course, so I took World Geography as most freshman students were encouraged to do.

That left science.

Most of my friends were taking Honors Biology.  That would have been the choice that a parent normally would push me to take.  But my parents were barely paying attention at this point, and I was inordinately afraid of the fetal pig dissection I was told took place in the course.  I asked what my other options were.  I could take regular biology, though there was certainly the possibility that I might be asked to dissect in there as well.  The other option was Physical Science.  Normally tenth graders took that course, but I was certainly bright enough to take it as a freshman, I was told.

I really wish someone would have just given me no choice but to take that Honors Bio course.  From there students took Honors Chem and then Honors Physics and that set them up for all sorts of options in college.  Taking Physical Science would set me up simply to take Bio later, and knock me out of any possibility of taking Chem or Physics.

But I let my fears take hold of me.   So, in the first of a very long line of mistakes I made due to fear, I signed up for the lowly Physical Science course for my freshman science.  This decision was the first of many that took me out of the running for scholarships, elite college acceptance and awards during my high school career.  But no one told me that at the time.  No one told me that one day of dissection would be worth all of the choices I would have before me for the rest of my life.

I turned in my form and breathed a sigh of relief, having no idea that the road I was on just took a tiny little jog off center.


2 Responses

  1. Wow! Another twist in this very interesting history. If this were a book, I would jump to the last chapter to see how it all turned out. Do you think that you could give us a peek at your life now? Are you happy with the way things have turned out? If not are you working to change it?

    You have me totally hooked on the story of your life. So many of the background things are so similar to my childhood, but at the same time none of the things that matter are the same. My life didn’t turn out the way I expected, but I am so happy with the way it turned out. I hope that you are too!

    • Thank you for your compliments! I don’t want to jump too far ahead…there is so much to tell between now and then. Many, many more twists and turns. Let’s just say this: no, my life is nothing I like I would have expected for myself. I’m content with my life though there are many, many choices that I would change, looking back on them now as I am; the one described in this post is a perfect example. So for now, that’s all I can say. Oh, and thank you for reading this. Knowing someone is finding this interesting is definitely pushing me to keep going; sometimes going through these memories is very, very difficult.

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