Yesterday I fulfilled my obligations for the Creative Writer Blogger Award. Here are the six “facts” I listed about myself:
1. I played violin with the school orchestra. Senior year I was first violin.
2. When I was a senior, I performed in my first (and last) play — as Penny in “You Can’t Take It With You.” I was a victim of terrible stage fright. Although I remembered all of my lines, I couldn’t recall one second of the performances after they were over (both nights).
3. My senior year of high school I was President of Student Council and Vice-President of the Senior Class.
4. I only skipped one class in four years of high school–a physical education class–and I got caught.
5. My husband and I were friends in high school, although we did not date. We became reacquainted about the time of our 25th class reunion.
6. I graduated in the bottom half of my class.
I think I did a pretty good job on this list. Every one of the items I listed were true except….drumroll….
#1. The only time I ever even held a violin in my hands was when an ancient instrument was found in a relative’s attic.
I did take piano lessons for nine years, but I was never very good. I tried to accompany the school chorus for a couple of meetings but they were singing that real fast “Pick a Little, Talk a Little” song from The Music Man and I couldn’t keep up. I didn’t exactly get fired…let’s just say I gave up the idea to avoid humiliation.
A few guessed that #2 was a lie because it was too elaborate compared to the others. Sad to say, the statement is true. I can give speeches, appear on panels, teach a class, do readings, enjoy a couple of hours of talking to customers at a bookstore signing…and I remember it all. Maybe today, with all this new experience, I could perform in a play. But we’re unlikely to find out.
So now I suppose you’d like an explanation of that #6 — graduating in the bottom half of my class.
The truth is, I attended the lab school for the University of Illinois my four years of high school. I wasn’t bad at my studies, I worked hard, and I received very good grades. However, more than half of the members of my class were brilliant. Most of them had taken seventh and eighth grade in one year. Honestly, these kids wiped up the floor with my soul in math and science. I had to focus on English, economics, and history to survive. It’s pretty amazing to be surrounded by those kinds of smarts, and I suspect I was a better student because of the competition.
Our class will hold its 50th high school class reunion in September. Fifty. Unreal.