Monday, November 21, 2011

20 Years Later

This year marks 20 years since I've graduated from high school.  While I wasn't able to go to the reunion because it's in Wisconsin, I did connect up with several of my classmates via Facebook. But here's the kicker!  My old and ancient high school no longer exists.  It was built around 1922 on a sand dune.  There was a lot of history in this place and it felt old......and was it cool looking inside!  There were secret tunnels, wooden floors, multi level floors, and lots of personality that made it different from the other area high schools.  Well, like anything that I ever was part of in Two Rivers, it's no longer there.  It was torn down for a better, flimsier, and blander school.  I think it's one of the worst decisions my hometown has made.  Today condos exist on this several acred land along the river.
A lot of my class got together and it was fun looking at their pics they took at the party. Like any reunion, there are people who are easily recognized and others who have physically been altered as "unrecognizable".  I'm so glad I wasn't there for that one particular reason because I would have said something perhaps that may have been accidentally, "Who are you?" For the most part, people haven't changed too much.....I still recognized their smiles and eyes.  Of course, some haven't changed at all while others look even more fabulous than before! 
In 1922, Washington High School was completed. It cost $600,000 to build. The original portion of the high school was earmarked by the reddish brick and tall window openings. (Washington High School was demolished after a new high school was built and opened on the east side of the city in 2002).  Here you are witnessing the demolished school.  My parent's house is on the corner next to this area so we watched it all happen rather quickly. this class photo. One person stands out....the first row and second picture in.  At one time, there were many priests in the world.  We had 3.  I'm 3rd row down, 7 pics in with a fashionable red vest and butterfly collar...yeah! 
I was raised in a Catholic family and therefore I went to a Catholic school for 8 years before attending this public high school.  My mother made sure I got every nun possible (as I could be a handful at times).  Surprisingly, I would discover at an early age(around 5th grade) that I wouldn't follow the Catholic faith.  However my parents made me go until 8th grade. WARNING!!  A RANT IS ABOUT HAPPEN! To this day, I think my parents are in denial that I am NOT Catholic.  Let me just put it briefly like this as some of you may wonder why there is animosity...and please understand, this is just my experience.  I remember certain homilies(priest talk and interpretation of their scripture lessons for the day) which had priests sometimes condemning others of a different faith, sexual orientation(one spoke about the gays going to hell while he himself was one....personal issues to work out?), female limitations, and of course other racial mentions.  I remember at a very young age thinking, "Why would "GOD" hate these people if "HE?" created them in "HIS" image?" and I became angry. "Just accept it kid.", but I wasn't having any of it.  I walked out on my confirmation and refused to step into another church after that day. I don't know, but I think hate has no place in our lives or this world. We have so many wars because of it.  And Hell is a place that uses scare tactics. Oh yeah, and why was God a man?  My father wasn't very happy about it and I remember some intensely hot debates at our house.  The siblings would say, "Just go.  Make Dad happy." Being the first child sucks sometimes. I didn't fall for that line at all.  Today I accept it all and yet none of it.:) We do not discuss religion or politics at our house, but it sometimes creeps in after a couple beers:)  I've learned to accept everyone for their ideas and not try to change them.  Now if they would do the same for me:)  END OF RANT.  TRCCS was a good school and I really had some great instructors....Mrs. Fritsch(biology), Mrs. Beine(super intelligent English teacher that went beyond grammar),  and Mr. Fitch(history).  Years later I would work with him again in the ranger station eating pizza and hiding behind trees to catch underage drinkers at the park:) Love that guy.  He's retired now. 

I've always known that I wanted out of Two Rivers at a very early age.  I worked my summers in the factories. For most of my high school years, I worked at the local hospital as a dietary aide.  Kept a part time job at a gas station selling cigs and lottery tickets and at one point, working for the local newspaper stuffing papers  so that I could pay my way through college.  I was a workaholic.  Today when I visit,  all the places I have worked have shutdown or have been torn completely down.  The factories have moved to other countries because labor is cheaper.  Sadly, the city has shrunk in size as well and more people are on wellfare because poverty has risen in this town.  The well off will say nothing has changed, but it has.  The town has still kept its charm, but the new public school has seen an increase of kids getting government funding to pay for school meals.  The high school has also seen a drop in students because people have had to move elsewhere to get jobs.....therefore losing several teacher positions over the years. Sometimes, when I go home to visit my family, it feels like I don't know the place anymore.
As a kid, I looked forward to getting out of Two Rivers as quickly as I could.  There is no way I would live in a small town of conservative minds.  I wanted culture, language, and education.  And that's what I got.  But when I go home to visit, after all my longings to leave, I see value and beauty in my little hometown.  There's Lake Michigan, Point Beach State Forest, history, and culture.  Sure it's not for me, but I see value in it now and am grateful to have been raised there.  But as you can see, the past can provoke some dark and passionate thoughts.  Wisconsin is home to good food and wonderful people.  You won't find a nicer group of people in the States and I miss that friendliness they provide each other to get through the freezing cloudy winters.  I'm hoping I'll get some good shots for the blog when we're home during winter break.   In closing, it sucks that our high school was torn down and maybe I'm still a little upset about it all after all these years.  The past is sacred and should be treated with respect...not carelessly destroyed.  Do we treat our elderly like this in the States?  Wait....let's not go there:)  Plants, gardening, travel and critters will be back in the near forecast:) 


  1. culture, language and education..or tolerance and an open mind
    so sad that you think conservatives don't have those
    seems you left Wisc with a piece of it inside of you

  2. Memory lane can be tough sometimes. After all who we are today is because of the way we were brought up yesterday and what we made out of it later on... isn't it?
    You still seem to be a workaholic!

  3. I remember writing this piece thinking....gosh this sounds absolutely terrible. I was going to hit the delete button and then thought against it because they were experiences that changed me as a person and also ones that would challenge my perceptions of the world even to this day. You are definitely correct Suz about me retaining a piece of Wisconsin inside because I do....and it's a good thing. It's strange, I don't think conservatives are evil because I am sometimes on the same side:) But there are times when someone from my small hometown will say something close minded and I'll wonder where that attitude came from and it makes it difficult at times to relate to where they're coming from. I think that's what I'm referring to in this piece of writing. But I do love conservatives and liberals all as I myself walk the fine line between the two:)

  4. It sounds like you're moving forward with purpose, happy in your choices.


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