May 29, 2017

earning another detention . . . Ferris Bueller style

For most of my high school experience boy students didn't know that I existed.  Bound and determined to enjoy a more social senior year, I reinvented myself.  I grew my hair long, despite my mother's obsessive comments about how desperately I needed a haircut.  Mom loves short hair.  I, on the other hand, DO NOT.  An even bigger accomplishment included managing to train myself not to pass out when I inserted brand new contact lenses.  Good-bye glasses and boy hair!

My transformation confused my best friend, Fozzy.  Prior to senior year we were friends, but we didn't see each other outside of school regularly.  We hadn't gotten together much that summer - probably in part because I babysat so much.   Our friendship blossomed as seniors.  Anyway, Fozzy walked into homeroom the first day of senior year and turned to a mutual friend.  She whispered, 'Who's the new girl?'  Our friend chuckled, 'That's Ernie!'

The boys who attended the Catholic boys school on the other side of our building weren't exactly falling all over each other to date me.  It wasn't that kind of transformation.  My self confidence had grown tremendously though, and I wasn't afraid to speak to them.  Ah, progress.  They soon saw that I had a personality.  The new me acquired acquaintances and friends from the boy side of school.  Life was looking up.

On the bus trip to the Mu Alpha Theta field trip that spring day, I chatted with two of these 'guy' friends.  When we entered the Board of Trade, my two buddies and I went thru the turnstile.  Completely.  We did a 180 and marched right back out the door.  It was just so simple.

Ferris and friends actually made it into the 
Art Institute! 
(photo credit:
Our adventure began with a stop at the Art Institute of Chicago.  It was 1989 and there were protesters standing on the steps near the huge lion statues.  (click here to read about the flag protest!)  Inside the museum, an 'artist' had draped the American flag on the floor in front of his or her art.  In order to view the art properly, visitors were expected to step on the flag.  This issue raised all kinds of red flags (pun intended!) and angry Americans were demonstrating on the steps.  We stood there for a few minutes, so we could be part of history.

Where's Waldo Ernie?
(photo credit:  F Newsmagazine by Dread Scott-Tyler)
Bloomingdale's had just opened a downtown location, so naturally we checked it out.  We wanted to buy something to commemorate our visit.  The guy chose a pair of underwear that said 'bloomies' on the butt.  It was a gift for me.  We weren't dating or at all romantically linked.  I swear.  It was just for fun.  There was no modeling or anything goofy.  Promise.

We enjoyed deep dish pizza at Gino's East.  Over lunch we talked about pressing issues that were weighing on our teenage minds.  I believe potential prom dates was one of the hot topics.  Although we entered the John Hancock building, we didn't bother to spend the funds to go up to the observation deck.

As Mrs. Math requested, we were careful to venture back to the bus pick up spot at 2:00 sharp.  Now that I am the mother of teenagers, I recognize that teen brains are not firing on all cylinders.  Looking back, I realize that my brain suffered from the same underdeveloped issue.

Mrs. Math was unfamiliar with the male students.  She only taught on the girl's side.  As we lined up for the bus, she approached me and my buddies.  In the same even tone that she used to instruct us to return to the bus, she muttered words that left me dumbfounded.  'Ernie and company, you can either see the dean when we return to school or you can let me talk to her first and then get called to her office.  Your choice.'  Ouch.

The ride back to our suburban school felt like eternity.  A few fellow students helped the guys and I piece together the kind of trouble we were facing.  Ditching a field trip was a serious offense.  Three levels were going to be added to my initial level.  Crap.

I now had reason to fear that my folks would be made aware that I was at level 4.  In other words they were going to figure out that I had a level from a previous offense - an offense that I had managed to hide from them.

It ended so much better for Ferris.

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