Last night was homecoming at the inner city school where I spent over a third of my life. It’s a culmination of a week of activities at school with dress-up days, noontime games, and a king and queen campaign. Anyone who works in a high school anywhere in America knows the routine by heart. Friday night is the parade and the big football game. It’s always football. I hate football.
For four years in the 90s I was a class adviser, an unpaid, extra duty job that involved huge amounts of work with, for me, some great kids. Not every adviser is lucky enough to have great kids. I could tell you stories, but I won’t. We started each year by building a homecoming float. Unbelievable. Amount. of. WORK. As well as confusion, chaos, and all the sundry emotions that go along with high school kids. As freshmen, my class won the float competition, which is usually won by the seniors. We got our comeuppance in the senior year–we lost. Mainly because we didn’t have a “float” but rather three vintage Chevrolets that we used for a Grease performance. Everyone thought we were terrific but not the judges.
After 1999 I thought I was done with homecoming, and then I took over the yearbook. Homecoming is a BIG deal in the yearbook. The week’s activities, the royalty, the parade, the game. It all gets covered. But, by whom? Guess? Yep, the yearbook adviser and her husband were at every homecoming game for the next ten years, up to and including last year. I always tried to make it fun by chatting with all the parade participants, the parents, the coaches, the alumni who came to check out the new kids. For a few years I tried to sell yearbooks from a table I set up near the entrance gates. I got lots of gawkers and talkers, but few buyers. In all those years I think I sold five books from that little table.
My husband spent the evening on the field taking photos of everything that happened down there. I took pictures of the stands and crowds. My yearbook students? They took pictures of themselves. They always thought those were the best shots and should have prominence on the homecoming spread in the yearbook.
So, last night was homecoming, and for the first time in 14 years, I was some place else.