It’s been a long time since I graduated from high school and I don’t recall the event with too much nostalgia or fondness. For me, my fate had been sealed months before when I marched into a Marine Corp Recruiting Station and with my parents consent, signed on the dotted line.
In return for my signature I was to become what was known at the time as a “guaranteed grunt” and would receive the princely sum of $2,500.00 upon completion of boot camp at Parris Island. In addition, unless I fucked up (or got killed, which, come to think of it, might be one and the same), I pledged the next four years of my life to the service of Uncle Sam.
I have no regrets…
Anna graduated from high school this past Saturday and I was in attendance for the ceremony. It was a wonderful feeling as the other parents and I stood and cheered after the last student received their diploma. Even though her school has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, (see day logs of April 22, 2013, May 1, 2013 and May 27, 2013) we were there to celebrate the students accomplishments rather than acknowledge the administrations failures.
So far, this was a weekend to party with her fellow graduates and from the looks of it, party she did. A mere twelve or so hours after being freed from the chains of high school she went out and got her nose pierced. It seems her school had some rule about that and students were forbidden and could be expelled if they displayed such things while on school grounds.
Sunday evening came rolling along and I guess the parties continued. Anna got to my house a little after midnight and declared that she was whipped and going upstairs to bed. The usual “good nights” and “I love you’s” were exchanged and we both drifted off to dreamland.
Come Monday morning I was getting ready to leave for work. After completing my morning ritual I went upstairs to give her a peck on the forehead and was greeted with some teenage mumbles that couldn’t be translated to the English language so out the door I went.
”Hmmm, I don’t see her car, I wonder where she parked and I hope to hell it wasn’t stolen."
I traipsed back into the house and went upstairs and the conversation went something like this.
Me: “Honey, did you get a ride? I don’t see your car outside".
Me: “Honey, where did you park? Did you drive here?”
Her: “(even more unintelligible)”
Me: “Honey, I’m a little worried, your car isn’t here and I hope it wasn’t stolen.”
Her: groggy voice “Car…..towed….mom…knows….’bout….it”
Normally, I’d be pissed and start ranting and raving about such matters as responsibility and how could you be so unaware about things and blah, blah, blah.
Instead, I took a deep breath and thought to myself, “Ok, I’m just glad she’s safe and sound” and let’s not make this about me. I have a habit of doing that from time to time that hasn’t served me well over the years.
Yesterday, she and her mom picked up the car from some impound lot. I still don’t know the circumstances surrounding the reasons why her car was towed in the first place and don’t plan on asking. I figure, if she wants to tell me, she will.
More importantly, her days here in C-bus are numbered. It won’t be long before she’s headed off to the University of Cincinnati where she plans on studying environmental science and I don’t know when I’ll see her again.
When I left for boot camp on some sunshiny day back in June of 1976 my father didn’t even get out of bed to wish me luck or to say goodbye. That kinda stung and things between him and me were never quite the same after that. There was an already existing feeling of acrimony between us and I think that little stunt just intensified that feeling.
Even after he died, I still find it hard to forgive him for that one.
When Anna leaves for college I plan on being right there with tears in my eyes, my heart bursting with pride and no acrimony between us.
Nobody should have to carry that kind of baggage around for the rest of their lives.
Especially over something so stupid as a car being towed or your nose being pierced after you just graduated from high school.