Ugh!!! The good, bad, and ugly memories.
We moved again to Phoenix,Az. I was to start high school that year and had mixed feelings about it. We moved there in the middle of August (VERY, VERY BAD IDEA). Since all of us kids had never stepped foot outside of California it was a HUGE culture shock. Temp of 120, humidity, rain/dust storms coming out of nowhere, and thunderstorms that I had never experienced before. No access to water at all.
Well all of us kids threatened mutiny and said we would move back to Calif. with our grandparents if we didn’t get a pool. Well mom and dad had already figured we would do that and had signed a contract for one to be installed. That ended up being one of the few things that we liked about that place.
I was excited and nervous about starting high school. It was to be the first year that I was a totally normal student. No speech therapy, tutoring, or special treatment. I could be totally anonymous and not worry about standing out from everyone. Hearing impairment is an invisible disability.
Most people by then didn’t know that I was deaf unless they saw my hearing aid (rare) or I told them (even more rare). High school there ended up being decent and I made a few friends. Not anything major but good solid trusting friendships. Yes, I was a geek and joined the marching band. I actually had the most fun there than anything else. It was a challenge but fun. We traveled to competitions and won several awards. It was a great feeling belonging to a group and accepted for what I am and what I had to offer. I got to spend my freshman/sophomore years there before we moved again.
Our next stop was to Castro Valley, Ca. It is a small town set in the hillsides across from San Francisco, Ca. The high school there was radically different from the one in Arizona. Arizona had farming community kids. Castro Valley had middle class & rich kids. Well, I didn’t get along with them at all. I guess the hippie roots of my parents rubbed off on me and I was most at home with the blue-collar types.
Bored to death because I had no friends to hang out with I got my first real job. As embarrassing as it is to admit, it was Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yes, I wore the disgusting brown polyester get-up and smelled like chicken every night I went home. Mom actually had a bucket that I had to put my shoes in when I got home and had the shower open and ready for me. It was there at the job that I made a couple of great friends.
After much negotiating with my parents, I devised a way that I could transfer to my friends school. Their school was more like the one in Arizona and I ended up being much happier there. I would hang out with
my buds on the weekends doing so many different things. We would drink and play quarters (I sucked at it), go to what they called the beach (Alameda), and go to San Francisco or Berkley to try new foods and people watch. Berkley was the most interesting for people watching. Hippies, Bums, Yuppies, and tourists everywhere.
Life was going pretty good until I hit a brick wall. One day during my senior year the principal called me into her office. I was sitting there trying to figure out what the H*** I had done lately to get into trouble. When I did get to see her she said that I was 1 (yes, read it loud and clear ONE) credit short of graduating and would not be able to walk with my class. Well, I was mighty mad because they had not warned me during my junior year about that. I would have taken a summer class. Since I was 18 I looked at her and said “Well, then just pull whatever papers I need to sign because I QUIT!” She looked shocked and tried to talk me out of it. I told her “Why? I don’t get to walk with my class and I can take the GED and be done now and get a job.” After much arguing it was finally done. That was the easy part. Going home and telling my parents was