August, 1982. McGavock high school.
13 years old and a freshman. I had a late birthday, October, so my mother started me in school early. She said I was ready. I always argued she wanted me out of the house. She had no reply to that.
13 years old, at one of, if not the, biggest high school in the southeast.
3,000 students, from 13 to 30. Yes, 30. There were some guys that had to be 30 back in those early McGavock days because the teachers were too scared to tell them to leave.
I walk in this massive school and luckily, I see my old friend, Bruce Clark, from junior high at a table in the cafe. We sit down and don’t say a word for the next 15 mins.
I was somewhere, just not sure where.
I saw grown women who belonged in Duran Duran videos. Men with beards. It was like I was stuck in a MTV video and I wanted to get out but couldn’t. (By the way, kids, MTV back in the day, used to play videos. Like, all day long. I know, crazy huh.)
I had never seen the likes of these people before. And I was amazed.
And scared to death.
I got my schedule and off I went. If you have never seen McGavock high school, it is like a small college. Most schools you have 5 minutes between periods to get to your next class. At McGavock, we had hours to get to our next class. Yes, the school was that big.
And I made the mistake of asking someone where one of my classes was located. I should have known better.
‘Spanish? Oh yes, third floor, literally right next to the swimming pool.’
Third floor? Odd, but McGavock only has two floors I thought. Well, he is older, he has a beard and kids, he knows better than I do.
I walked around forever looking for the swimming pool.
The damn swimming pool. On the third floor.
I went up every stairway, in every hall, to find this third floor.
It hit me. There was no swimming pool and there was no third floor. They got me.
Ah yes, good times.
4 years later, when I graduated, I cried.
I had the best time, thanks to a bevy of friends who were just as scared as I was, although they will never admit it.
And yes, I used the same swimming pool prank when I was a junior and senior.