Susan Dennis (susandennis) wrote,
Susan Dennis


My years at Salem Academy were not amazing - they were more embarrassing than anything else. I had learned to skate by and while my skating was not nearly as successful as it had been in public school, I still mostly didn't try that much. I liked math and the math teacher but I hated history, tolerated English, sucked like a Dyson at French and forget about Latin. And don't even get me started on science. My fruit flies were so disappointed in me, they all flew away before I could even check them for whatever I was supposed to check them for.

I was in language lab trying to noodle out French when we learned that President Kennedy had been assassinated.

I didn't study. I read novels instead. I had taken to reading Gone With The Wind every Spring and Desiree by Annemarie Selinko every Fall. I'd hole up in my room 'doing homework' and just read.

You had to maintain some kind of midline assessment to remain in school. The threat of getting kicked out loomed large. I did not want to go to public school and I did not want to embarrass and disappoint my parents any more than I already had. Skipping ahead, I finally did get my school shit together by my senior year and my grades were much much better but it was very nearly too little too late. I was still very glad to be released from the joint.

I didn't really feel like I had much in common with the other girls at school. No even the other day students. They were all nice enough, but just not BFF material.

Some highlights (or lowlights depending on your perspective) of my high school career:

1. We each had to memorize (among a bunch of other boring stuff) the first 52 lines of the prologue to the Canterbury Tails - in middle English. I can still do most of it. At least enough to drive off any audience any time any place. (One of my classmates - Marshall Chapman went on to be a singer songwriter and uses this gem in her act - or at least used to.)

2. We were require to take two years of Latin. I took 3 - two years of Latin 1 and one year of Latin 2. I'm still searching for a way to use it in my adult life. Agricola.

3. We kind of had gym classes but not much. We played field hockey in the Fall and soccer in the Spring and did modern dance in the winter. But, it was very easy to get out of doing most of it and I did. This was way before Title 9 and, anyway, a Southern lady was really not supposed to sweat. Fine by me.

4. Only one of the teachers and staff at the school was married. (The Latin teacher.) The youngest one of all of them was probably in her early 40s.

5. The principal was a mean bitch who even pissed off my very hard-for-adults-to-piss-off mother. She had hair that she braided and wound around her head every single day. In a senior seminar she invited us to ask her any question we had on any topic. One brave soul asked her to take her hair down. She did! It was momentous. Also, her hair, undone, fell to below her knees.

6. We had seminars on proper cigarette smoking etiquette and how to terminate (as in fire, not kill) domestic employees along with college info and other stuff.

7. One of my classmates had parents who lived in Brazil. She taught me that if you ever want to smuggle shit into Brazil, pack it under a layer of sanitary napkins. Boarder guards wouldn't touch them.

8. For special credit, Miss Nunn, the math teacher, taught us how to use a slide rule. This actually did come in very handy in college. I still have mine and it still has my crib notes all over it and I have not even the slightest clue how to use it now.

I really do regret having wasted my parents' money and squandered that excellent opportunity.

I did get into a college. It was a co-ed school (most of my classmates went on to girls' colleges - I think Marshall and I were the only two who went Where The Boys Are) as far away as my parents would allow (just east of Pittsburgh, PA) and one that no one at Salem had ever heard of. I left and didn't look back.

I wasted my college education as well but I had way more fun there...

To Be Continued
Tags: tbc
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