A walk down memory lane — too bad it wasn’t mine

An alma mater’s fundraising appeal

3 minute read
Whee! Wait — what? (photo of Malaysian schoolgirls by Cavernosa via Creative Commons/Wikimedia)
Whee! Wait — what? (photo of Malaysian schoolgirls by Cavernosa via Creative Commons/Wikimedia)

Remember in high school when we went on a skiing trip to Vermont and to that teen dance club every weekend? Um, you’re thinking of someone else. I spent my time writing, studying Latin, avoiding my peers, and/or walking quickly down the halls as close to the lockers as possible. Hallowed halls, my alma mater says. I say hollow. And the letter you sent asking for donations is, too.

Your approach? Let’s just say I’m not your target audience.

I went to an all-girl Catholic school, a nice enough place offering some fun and learning. But I’m not one of those people who looks back fondly on his or her high school experiences while Bill Medley sings “(I've Had) The Time of My Life.” Your letter assumes that I did, mentioning trips I didn’t go on, group events I didn’t partake in, social activities I avoided, teen clubs I never set foot in, hair styles I didn’t have (hello, Aqua Net), and religious activities I couldn’t stand (and, to this day, will not attend for others because of the hypocrisy, secrecy, homophobia, and other not-so-lovely things about the faith that founded and funded my school).

Yes, I participated in some activities, but weird ones, like being a library aide (I won an award for that, by the way). The sorority-type list, though, doesn’t include the nerd things.

Jesus Christ, will high school ever end?

A guilt trip down memory lane

On top of taking me down a memory lane I don’t recognize, you tried the guilt trip technique. That’s to be expected from a Catholic institution, but telling me that older alumnae “will not be around forever” doesn’t make me want to give. Hey, older ladies! You’re going to be dead soon.

A) That’s depressing

B) The older generations have more money than people my age do

C) Even my mother can’t guilt me anymore — thank all things good for growing up.

Then, you had to remind me of the approaching Big Number Anniversary of my graduation (which I totally hadn’t realized was this year, thanks). I just bought my first pair of reading glasses — not good timing to remind me how long ago high school was as I look for larger fonts and, apparently, my youth.

Actually, I don’t look for my youth. When people say high school was the best time of their lives, I say “You’re doing this life thing wrong.” Yeah, bills, work — oh, what fun. But I’d rather deal with that than zits, studying all the time, cliques, and teen angst. Plus, Catholic school had the added fun of learning to walk in perfect lines with your hands perfectly folded while wearing an outfit that makes you look like everybody else. I don’t know what torture public school kids go through, but I can rehearse any occasion to perfection. If nothing else, I learned how to put on a good show.

That’s three strikes, Sister. You’re out.

Thanks, but no thanks

Dear Sister Begs a Lot:

Please remove my name and address from your donation request list. I donate funds to groups that support equal rights, openness, and living in the now without reminding me that my older schoolmates soon will be fertilizing daisies. I’m not the student whose experience you’ve described (if you ever write a Nerd Letter, feel free to send that along). I don’t look longingly to those years I’ve left behind. Whatever year I graduated — polite people don’t discuss age — I no longer party like it’s 1999. And I don’t spend time looking in some sort of “this is your life” mirror. After all, when I look in the mirror, I am backwards.

Thanks for the letter, though, and for the trip down memory lane. Sounds like whoever took it had a really good time.

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