Seabury Hall

Seabury Memories (Stirred up by Facebook)

Logo_top Facebook has become the defacto Seabury alumni website for me lately. Especially with Sarah Bott (class of 80) and Courtney (my classmate in 85) doing up a list of high school memories, and then other Seabury alum chiming in on the comments about their memories.

Seabury was so small that if you went there all six years (7th through 12th grade when I was there, now there is a middle school and high school, but still very small), you got to know and become friends with people who were five years older and five years younger than you. If you had siblings also attending, your circle was that much wider. Sarah A. and I are bestest friends now, but she was Jen's best friend back then in the class of 80. They knew each other years before I started which means I knew Sarah A. from when I was about 10 or so. Dude.

But it wasn't just the small size, lunch used to be assigned seating so you really got to know everyone. When I started my 7th grade year in the fall of 1979, Seabury had about 180 students. When I graduated in spring of 1985, there were about 220 students. My class had 33 people in it. Lunch was served family style and you sat at an assigned table for two weeks, then you would switch tables. Teachers were heads of each table (and remained constant.) Each table you went to was a mix of grades, if you ended up sitting with a friend, it was a bonus. There were 10 people per table (including the teacher) so each day of that two weeks, one person was the "waiter" and you went to the kitchen to get the tray of food in family style serving bowls. If a bowl was empty you got up and got more. When lunch was done and people were gone, you cleaned the table. It was awesome. One lunch table assignment stands out. I think was in 8th or 9th grade and was assigned to Joe Brocoli's table. When we all sat down that first day, he announced to the nine of us that the last table he had ate nine serving bowls of peas at one lunch sitting and he knew we could beat that record! So we collectively ate 10 bowls of peas! There was no prize other than the joy that Joe had presented us with a challange and we met it. 

Sometime around junior year, I think, they switched to buffet style lunch and you could sit anywhere. I think some part of the Seabury family feeling was lost with that switch.

And the noon-announcements! Ha! Almost forgot about those. There was a pad of paper in the front hall of Cooper House (the school sits on what used to be a private estate with the old mansion (Cooper house) as the main building) and you could write up anything on that pad that you needed to convey to the whole school. It was kind of a daily newspaper, as Lance Anderson pointed out in one of our english classes. Meetings, lost items, birthday wishes, announcements of any kind were written on that pad then xeroxed directly for each table and delivered at lunch. Everyone took turns reading the mishmash of hand writing and info. If there was something that needed announcing last minute, you could stand up with Roger Melrose (the headmaster), or whoever was giving the prayer that day, at the front of the room (near the trash for some reason) and speak into the little microphone/speaker deal he had. Usually it was a last minute meeting, but often it was to announce in public someone's special birthday or if someone had won an award, often that person came to the front and were given leis and lots of applause. New students were welcomed and occasionally sad news of someone's parent's death were told. (There was at least one death every year I was there.)

There is a hazy memory of someone (Matt Kresser I think) getting a dip slip for bending forks during the "don't bend forks" announcement. I only really remember it because that dip slip was published in the yearbook for that year. (Too lazy to go dig out the yearbook.)

With a school that small, school plays were filled with a mix of students (again you became friends with people of all ages), sports teams were well mixed in ages and then there was Winterim. Oh thank the gods for Charlotte Melrose! YOU ONLY GET OUT OF IT WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT! Words to live by, my friends.  

Winterim happened every February for a week. Instead of regular classes you had a week of "outside the box/outside the classroom" education. Each year had a theme and the groups you signed up to be in were specific to that theme. 7th grade was Hawaiiana and I learned how to make leis. (I'm old school, still say "leis" not "lei" like they do now...) Jen (Senior) took Hula, there was canoe paddling and hawaiian history and hawaiian cooking and things like that. Again you signed up for the top three activities and you got assigned with a mix of people. Charlotte and the other organizers made sure you weren't just in a group of your own friends. 8th grade I learned how to silkscreen. 9th=Volcano, 10th=astronomy (which is amazing in hawaii where the night sky is DARK) and 11th=touring military bases (I got to fly a huge hydraulic ride-type helicopter simulator!). Senior year I went to Kauai and it was really a great trip, thanks mostly to Mr. Moragne for being an amazing tour guide. Generally you bonded with your group and at the end of the week there was an assembly and each group had to do a skit about what their experience was like. Songs were written and performed, props were used, hilarity generally ensued. Teachers were also part of each group so you got to know them outside of the classroom too and that made you respect and appreciate them as human beings, not just as "Teachers". 

But Seabury was already different in how you related to teachers. Most lived on campus (Seabury was a day school and boarding school) and so you got to know their kids and pets and parents. Most teachers were called by their first names, though Mr. Melrose was always Mr. Melrose and Fred Rawe was usually always Mr. Rawe. (Until he became Dr. Rawe.)  I'm not sure why (Maybe because I was so square--student body prez after all!) but this never seemed to take away the distinction between teachers and students. It was relaxed, but still a college prep school after all and we were all expected to do well. 

I loved all of the teachers I knew at Seabury. Okay wait, I did get bored to death by Cliff Oje in Pre-Calc, but maybe that was because I hated Pre-Calc...hmmm. Sorry Cliff. I have stayed in touch with a few teachers over the years and have occasionally googled and emailed others out of the blue to say hi and we catch up for a short bit. 

Some people are gone now. Bruce Wilson (my class), Karen (Jai) Roberts ('84), David Melrose (my biology teacher), Mr. Melrose and Snooker. Oh man I cried my eyes out about Snooker. 

It was a special place and I amaze my friends now when I say, sincerely, honestly, I loved high school. Was I happy all the time? Uh, hell no. But I got to have experiences that so few people get to do --- repel off waterfalls, ropes courses through trees, forming human chains of 200 people and walk all over campus holding hands, a school wide water fight!  I hope someday my kids can have something similar. 

I Had These In High School

I saw this photo of Kate Moss on Go Fug Yourself yesterday and it blew my mind.  

I had those boots in high school. HIGH SCHOOL! I'm talking early 80's here. Ian (Butch!) used to call them my "Ted Nugent Boots" every single time I wore them. And I wore them a lot. I think I even wore them horseback riding to pretend I was more "native-american" than "cowboy."

Kate Moss.  2008.  WTF?


Should have held on to them I guess.

Melancholy Days

Facebook has been an interesting way to connect with people from high school I haven't been in touch with in years. Recently I was contacted by Roo and we've been emailing a bit, getting to know each other as grown ups and what has been going on our lives since those balmy days. Roo and Courtney got connected as well and today she posted a photo on her Facebook page that made me so happy and so sad all at the same time. Here's the photo from our graduation day in May 1985:Bruceatgrad1985

That's Bruce. He was Senior Class President and was presenting the school with our class gift. That gift was an amazing mural of a dragon created by Roo. He painted it in the stairwell of the classroom building and we were all supposed to help him. (God, Roo, I hope I helped a little, I can't even remember.) The classroom building was torn down a year or two ago to make way for a much more modern classroom building (and campus). The Dragon is gone.

And so is Bruce. He died from a brain tumor ten years ago. That all made me sad.  

Then as I looked at the photo some more, I realized that the blonde woman in the left foreground is Snooker. Crazy wacky awesome Snooker. She died a year ago in a car crash. I was in Washington DC, working and pretending not to be scared about Jen's condition at the time. (Post op, awaiting news on the cancer treatment to come.) I didn't write about Snooker in my blog and I'm sorry I didn't. Sarah did though. (That's Sarah B, not Sarah A.)

Circle of life, these things happen, blah blah bullshit. Jen was way too young, Bruce was WAAAAAY too young and Snooker was also way way way too young in her 60's. She and her sister were on their way back from a tennis tournament, just driving along.

I'm melancholy and missing these amazing people. Thank the gods they were in my life.

Speaking Of Hair... (Tom Made Me Do It)

(Tom made me post this, he didn't make me create the hair way back when.)

The year was 1985.  

I was a senior in high school.

I didn't think I could be "pretty" so I went with "unusual."  
(As in Cyndi Lauper -- "She's So Unusual") (Cyndi was/is my hero.)


And Tom, it didn't go all the way around, just halfway.  All the way would have been ridiculous.

My mom called me a skunk, but really she couldn't complain too much as I was student body president, off to college and had great grades.  

Thinking back on the 80's, I had to go get my Best of Oingo Boingo and listen to it in the rental car. Technically, I didn't know about Boingo until I got to LMU later that fall.

More Blasts From The Photographic Past

We had dinner at Sarah's on Saturday night and she had these pictures out. The first was from the West Coast Seabury Reunion Jen and I organized in (I believe) 1993 at her house in No. Cal. So many people came, including Sarah, and a great time was had by all, based on all the beer bottles being recycled!  Sarah was so cool -- she brought her Polaroid camera and a box FULL of film leftover from her previous movie  job.  We thought it was pretty amazing to have that much Polaroid film at our fingertips!Jen:sarah1993
Jen and I had a good time planning that reunion. Vegasbaby

Then Sarah pulled out this gem! Wooo hooo! This is from 1998-ish when I worked at Sony. Six of us went to Vegas and we decided ahead of time to buy some seriously funky/wacky/cheesy clothes, and get dressed up and go out one night in our outfits. This was me. The dress cost me about $20 and the shoes about $7. The most expensive part of the outfit was the hair.  It cost $50 It is my actual hair, but I got it DONE. And that hair didn't move all night. Then when I brushed it out the next morning, it still looked fabulous.  Money well spent.

At one point in the evening we sat down at a blackjack table together and the dealer looked at us, did a double take and then asked if we were a band.  We all looked at each other and said "Sure! Yeah, that's it, a band!"  I think even later in the evening people took photos of us.  We rocked.

Strolling Down Repaving Memory Lane

All this marching down nerd crush memory lane (and nerd crush follow up) has really got my gears turning about those teenage days and how memory works and what were we thinking back then.  The posts coincided with an email chat I've been having with a friend from high school.  She and I have been playing Scrabulous on Facebook and emailing about who we found from our class and how sending "friend requests" to certain people sent us shooting back to feeling like we were 16 again and all that angst--will I be accepted by this person?!?!  And we both realized how insane it is that we could still get caught up in all that baloney. (We have since snapped out of it.)

While I was going through old photos for those previous posts, I found a picture of she and I and immediately had to scan it and send it to her.  She posted it on Facebook and we emailed/commented back and forth, trying to figure out what we were doing in the photo -- some skit night or something.  Then she said:

"I used to try to suck in my cheeks in photos cause I thought my face looked fat when I smiled!"

I responded with:

"I used to think I was SO FAT in high school. I always thought of myself as the "Fat Friend" to (another friend of ours at the time)."

Then she wrote back:
"That's hilarious...I thought of myself as the "Fat Friend" to YOU!!!"

You could have knocked me over with a feather.  She thought that about herself in regard to me? Crazy.

How did we have such low self esteem?  I look at my pictures from back then and think -- dang! I was pretty cute!  What was I thinking?  (Seriously, look how cute I was!)  I'm working now to weigh what I weighed then.  And I thought I was "fat."  Sheesh.

I asked my friend how we could have been so dumb and so smart at the same time. I know my physical self esteem was not great in high school, but I felt pretty dang good about where I was going and how I was going to get there. I am one of the few people you will meet who will tell you that I loved high school. Even with all the above described nonsense, I really look back so fondly at my Seabury days. But I also knew it wasn't the be-all end-all that many others took it for. I knew there was so much more waiting for me.

You saw Shana's 1982 crush list from her journal. I had cropped it for the crush blog post, but the top half of the journal entry is even more awesome, I think.

She had made up her mind to go into movies and television in 1982.  (It took me until 1984).  I love that she wrote "I don't know it just turns me on."  If you've read any "what to do with your life" books like I have, you know this very simple statement is the key to it all.  And what does Shana do now? She works in movies and television and creates beautiful images as a Director of Photography.

It blows my mind that at a time when we were all feeling so unattractive (and we were so wrong) we could also have been tuning in to what was really going to turn us on later in life and then made plans to make it happen.