It’s almost here, May 19th. The day of graduation for the 1978 class of Comeaux High School. 32 years.
Thirty-two years. Oh My Gawd! If I didn’t feel old before, I feel it when I hear numbers like this.
What was I like 32 years ago? Sometimes I miss that carefree 17 year old. The seventeen year old Vi did not think she was carefree, but what did she know? She was just another teenager that thought she was all grown just cos she graduated High School.
I remember that day at Blackum Coliseum in Lafayette La. They herded us through the cow shoots for practice. There was hay everywhere and if I am not mistaken, MUD. The school teachers that were along to assist in our preparation talked to us like children! “If you don’t keep quiet, you will not walk and get your diploma!” Riiight, like you ain’t ready to get rid of us. We’ve been running around all school year being all senior arrogant; time to let the junior class rise to the top.
After they decided we were ready, they let us go and I’m sure me and my BBF Van spent the rest of the day preparing for the most exciting thing to happen to us so far. I don’t remember at lot of details between the practice and the ceremony. I was torn between the excitement of graduation and the sadness that my Mother did not plan to attend. I can’t remember why. We were getting along pretty good, then, but she absolutely refused to go. I was heartbroken. I had lived here four years, but I wasn’t kin to anyone except Mama. I had a very plain high school experience outside of football games and a few after game dances, I was also in Speech Club. But that’s all the extra-curricular actives I enjoyed and two of those we because my BBF Van was in Pep Squad.
So here’s the night, hot and muggy, if I recall, correctly. It’s threatening to rain. We go our little Pomp and Circumstance march in, up through the middle of the seats, around your section to the row you’re on, then go to the end of the row. Seated, I began to search the crowd, hoping Dot had changed her mind. I didn’t see her. Oh, well.
I was supposed to stand at the bottom of the stage stairs until my name was called when the graduate before me was walking off stage. In my excitement, I rushed when then girl on from of me name was called, the ushers stopped me and I stood there while she walked across stage. I was very anxious to be done with it. I was at the very end of the alphabet, W, so it really was over soon after that.
Being back outside, a balmy breeze was blowing and I watched my classmates huddled in groups getting snapshots with family members. You could have knocked me over with a feather when my mother and our friend Mona K walked up. Mona had shamelessly shamed Dot into coming to my graduation, and my mother had been there after all. I wish I had known while it was happening, but it was a good feeling once I did know.
Afterwards Van and I hooked up with a couple of fellow fella grads and went out to eat, then bowling. I had my first real job the next day. I was a young adult, high school behind me, a job. I thought I was pretty cool, but I knew a lot less than I thought I did. Growing up is a humbling experience.