edge of seventeen

Alright, enough with all the fancy pants posts.
I never meant to give you the impression that it's all frou-frou and la-di-da around here. So now, I would like to set the record straight. pull no punches, talk straight, color out of the lines, get down to the real nitty-gritty.
Let's talk about life.  Let's talk about heartbreak. Let's talk about the sixties.

High School. Yeah. I know!

Two little words that can either conjure up sweet memories of a nearly carefree youth or can immediately evoke feelings of inadequacy and make even the most well adjusted adult in you break out in a cold sweat. So you loved it or you didn't. Makes no difference if you were the queen of the prom who enjoyed her reign as teen-age royalty, a loyal member of the Royal Court, one of the peasants or the court jester counting down the days until diplomas were handed out, it is impossible to believe that those years do not bring about some kind of emotion. maybe even left a few scars. There is no question they left a lasting impact on you. 

So why the nostalgic trip down memory lane? As I find myself wallowing enjoying my golden years, I occasionally think about what I will be leaving behind. I have lived in the same house for almost 10 years (14 in the one before this) my closets, drawers and storage rooms are virtual catacombs of gathered and collected things. Saved things. I understand that what to me are sentimental tokens, to other people would seem like candidates for a garage sale at best, and possible Goodwill donations at worst. I know, right that's just the way it is with sentimental things, it's the memory that the stuff evokes that's valuable, not the item itself. The true past is manifested, not in an album of old photographs, but in the memories they conjure up. not in the tear stained pages of old poetry or love letters, but in the sentiment you remember deep within your heart. not in the faded, wrinkled fabric of the prom dress...but in the whispers of broken dreams and heart ache. 

lately, I have found myself thinking about that girl...the one I was back then. starry eyed with grand plans for the future. on fire to change the ways of the world. I've been remembering the days when the house I lived in belonged to my parents. When my whole future stretched before me. the world was my oyster. Still, they "were the boss of me". taught me right from wrong.  Set my curfews. Decided my punishments for breaking the rules, even though I though I should be rewarded for the clever ways I broke them. My biggest worries were finding time in my active social life to complete my homework, fret about my hair getting ruined in the rain on the walk to school, or wonder about who I would go to the prom with...


Remember when Prom Season rolled around? If you were going "steady" with someone, you were pretty much set. dating someone exclusively meant you could start shopping for your dress. but if you were not in a steady relationship you had about a 50/50 shot at best that you'd get asked to the Prom. Some of the girls I knew had nerves of steel (keep in mind that when I was in High School we had not discovered woman's lib, so protocol was waiting for the guy to ask you) anyway, they would go after what they wanted, would ask a guy instead of waiting for him to ask her!!! I wasn't one of those girls. Now all through high school I was in love with Bobby (all these years later, I think I might still be, if only just a bit.) We dated briefly, sporadically, he was busy. studying, basketball, wrestling, baseball, golf. He didn't have time for a serious girlfriend, I tried to respected that. 

Still I waited faithfully junior year for him to ask me. nervously fretted for weeks about it. went to all his games. we did homework together (he had a hard time with English, math made me pull my hair out). I tried a new hair do. Wore shorter skirts. followed him around like a lost puppy. hoped that he would give me his class ring, because back in the day that's what you did, when you were a couple. Nervously I waited...March, April. three weeks before the dance, he still had not asked me. Two weeks before the dance I found out he was going with someone else. She asked him. Right after the dance She was wearing his class ring. They were married right out of High School and divorced after their third child was born. Was I heartbroken. absolutely! did I learn a valuable lesson. you betcha! never again did I wait and wish. If I wanted something I made it happen. If it was not to be, I moved on.

So, if I could, what would I  tell my seventeen year old self?  
Don't be in such a hurry to grow up. Spend more time with your parents. Pay more attention to Nature and the beauty around you,I know you get cold easily and worry about your bullet-proof hair getting messed up, but go for a walk or ride your bike more often. Chores will not kill you. Spend less time reading Tiger Beat, Seventeen and 16 magazine and read more books, someday you may want to write one. You aren't going to marry Paul McCartney. Buy a good camera and take tons of pictures. Write more and do not throw away all your old journals. Do not, I repeat DO NOT sneak out for that Halloween party, you will regret it. I promise you. Being grounded? not the worst thing in the world, you will actually enjoy the peace and quiet of being locked away in your room one day. Sorry, but you will always be afraid of the dark. Your Mom is totally right about that whole water thing, sweat, tears, and the sea can cure anything. Spend time with people who can rekindle your inner spirit and don’t ever forget to tell them how much they mean to you.You might not ever figure out exactly what you want to be when you grow up, but that’s okay. life is more about the journey than the destination. you are fine just the way you are. smile more. remember how good it feels to do a cartwheel or split, you won't always be able to. diet coke is not the answer. do not listen to the people who tell you you cannot do something, do it anyway. keep writing. when your mom offers to teach you how to sew, do not blow her off. make grandma write down her recipes. boys are generally not worth it. you don't really need all that black eyeliner. really. and while we're on the subject, beware of all cosmetic counter makeovers.  do not slather yourself with baby oil and lay out on foil mats. furthermore, wear sunscreen. ALL. THE. TIME. your dad is totally right about that whole time thing. twenty years, gone. just like that.  And dude, seriously, you are okay just the way you are.

So it is at this point that you may be asking what in the world does Prom have to do with anything. Well, sometimes life still feels that way. like it is a few weeks before the dance and I'm still without a date. Now I know, life is good, mostly it's dinner and a movie, sometimes lunch and shopping, a.n.d. every once in a while, you get asked to the Prom.

Farmer's Cheese and Raisin Filo Strudel

adapted from Rick Rodgers

(click here for recipe)



  1. Oh Monica, I love the way you write! I get so caught up with your words, it makes me feel like I am right back in high school with you dealing with all those things we all thought were so very important.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful words!

  2. Jane, it is a double blessing to be able to share this, all these years later, with someone who was there with me!!! so glad to have you back in my life.

  3. Anonymous12/02/2011

    It's been a long time since I've been on the edge of 17, but after reading this, I was right back there for awhile. Thanks, Dude.
    love, j

  4. Jodie, I know, right? good times!


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