“Mimi,” said my granddaughter, Serenity (she calls me Mimi), “tell me a story about when you were growing up.”
That was a constant request from our little Sassy (our nickname for Serenity).
I’d finished writing my book about my software start-up, “It Starts with an Idea“, and had learned how to use Amazon’s self-publishing website, http://www.createSpace.com, and thought to myself, “Instead of telling her stories all the time, I should write them down so she has them forever.”
I mean, I’m not getting any younger and you know what say, “Memory is the second thing to go.”
“What’s the first?” you ask.
I started reflecting back on my childhood and growing up in Utah. As a young child, I lived in a very homogenous (aka white), Mormon neighborhood. All of the kids in my elementary school were white and Mormon, except Joanne who was Catholic and the kids teased her about that. That’s not exactly right. I had a good friend who was Japanese but in general, white and the same. Until junior high, that is.
Our junior high was right on the board of the East Side of Salt Lake (where we lived) and the West Side (across the tracks). Arriving at junior high was quite an eye-opener. I remembered one day we even had a rumble – quite “West Side Story”-ish. I wanted to do more than write stories, I wanted to create the atmosphere from that time. Growing up in the ’50s; the vibrancy, how we lived and played. So I wrote it more like a novel – starting out in the summer before I headed off to school at junior high the first time.
So my story starts out when I’m awoken from the drum beat of the South High Pep Club marching in the park near our house:
I awoke at 7 a.m. to the sound of the drums. Boom, ba-da boom, ba-da, boo-boo-boo-boom. It was the beat of the South High Pep Club, who would be practicing at Liberty Park every morning for the next two weeks. The park was very near to our house – close enough that the drum beat echoed through my bedroom’s open window.
“Argh,” I thought as I tried to pull the covers over my head. My sister Kathy, five years older than me and soon a senior at South High, would already be at the park, going through the routine with the other Pep Club girls. But for me, it was supposed to be a lazy summer morning, and I had planned to sleep in.
I would be starting junior high soon, and needed my sleep. We had only two weeks left until school started, and I hadn’t wanted to be woken up early.
Then I heard the pans crashing in the kitchen and knew Mom was making her oatmeal. She always ended up making a huge noise in the kitchen when she was trying to get her small oatmeal pan out from under the bigger pans for her early morning breakfast before going to work.
I dragged myself out of bed and padded into the kitchen.
“Really, Mom?” I asked. “Can’t someone sleep in around here?”
“Now that you’re up,” she said brightly, “make my coffee. OK? I need to get to work.”
Then what to name it. My first choice was “On South High!” the opening words from our high school song. But my husband and others who hadn’t attended South didn’t “get it.” So then I picked my high school graduating class, “Class of ’67”.
I used pictures from our yearbook and our school colors, blue and white on the cover.
As luck would have it, I published it shortly before our South High Class of ’67 had its 50th Reunion. Needless to say, it was a big hit at the reunion (I took extra copies). Even my sister’s friends bought it (and she was five years ahead of me in school). They all said how it reminded them of their school years and what a fun read it was.
On South High!
That was so exciting. I think I need to write more books!