Organizing Memories

I took a break from my desk today (because, yes, I am still working on it) to sort through a stack of papers in my spare bedroom/storage space/black hole. The stack I grabbed happened to be high school newspapers. I worked on our paper all four years of high school, and was the Associate Editor my senior year. Not a big deal at some high schools, but I went to a school where we published and mailed home a full issue (18 pages) every 10 school days. So it was a huge deal - huge enough that I saved EVERY issue. On the early issues I found post-it notes, carefully detailing what I had done in each issue ("wrote headline for varsity football story"). And as I looked through I found some of my earliest published writing and memories of fun times at late night deadlines. I can't save them all, nor do I want to. But I do want to save a few, especially the articles I wrote.

Looking through this stack today brought back a lot of memories, and a definite sense of pride. I was involved with something much bigger than myself, and while I didn't stick with journalism in college, I developed the strong writing skills that would last me a lifetime. But more than anything else, I was struck with a sense of time and place. In the newspaper were commentaries on issues of the day - some school related, some of a broader concern. We wrote about the new bell schedule, the lack of privileges, the election of Bill Clinton, censorship, and the Persian Gulf War. I read about the controversy surrounding a presentation on AIDS, the portrayal of a gay couple in a student skit, and the visit from a POW, and was struck by how far we have come. While I would like to keep politics and religion off of my blog, my one true belief in life is that we should treat others the way we want to be treated, and I am so proud that my high school self felt that way as well. I took a stand then against animal cruelty and bullying, stereotypes and censorship, just as I would now. I am shocked by some of the letters in the editorial section; I hope that the ignorance of 15+ years ago is not as prevalent in high schools today. I cut out my commentaries and articles, carefully saved the masthead with my name on it, mailed a picture of an old friend to him, and recycled the rest. And I know that what I learned from 4 years of journalism will stick with me forever.


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