The long line of the famous cafeteria at dear old Boonton High School, back in the fall of 1968.
Remembering Lisa: Chapter 1
By Richard Mabey Jr.
All of us have these painful moments in time. We try to smash them down, deep into our subconscious mind. But then, when we least expect it, they arise from the depths of our unconscious self and float up to haunt us. For myself, having the gift, and at times the curse, of extreme autobiographical memory; these haunting memories often pop up. Leaving for me, a certain sting of pain of a long-lost era.
Back in the early autumn of 1968, I was beginning my sophomore year at Boonton High School. Many of you who know me through my writings, may be asking, “wait a minute, Richard, didn’t you go to Lincoln Park High School?” Well, here’s the scoop, Lincoln Park did not have a high school when I was a kid. Sadly, they still don’t.
High school kids, from Lincoln Park, had to be at their respective bus stops at seven in the morning. They would then climb onto the old yellow school bus and traverse through Lincoln Park, then Towaco, then Montville and finally reach the town of Boonton. It was crazy. It was just crazy.
I remember this so very well. It is ingrained in my heart and mind with indelible ink. I had this most painful crush on this girl, Lisa. She was a freshman, I was a sophomore. Lisa had long brown hair, brown eyes, and the most contagious laugh you could ever imagine.
Basically, I would see Lisa once a day. My geometry class was in Room 210, Mrs. Ketz was my teacher. My friend, Ron, sat next to me in this class. Ron was one of the best baseball players in the entire school. He was one of the coolest of the cool kids. But, there was nothing stuck up about Ron. We helped each other get through Pythagoras’s theory of triangles, by encouraging each other that we could muddle through it all.
Well, back to my love story about my old heart flame, Lisa. Lisa was a freshman. She had her math class at the same time, across the hallway in Room 209, fourth period. I remember that it was fourth period, because it was just before lunch period.
Every day, I would hope and pray that I would be leaving Room 210 with the exact timing to see Lisa and at least be able to say hi to her. That was one of my high points of my sophomore year, saying hi to Lisa, when I got out of geometry class.
I remember that during the last five minutes of Mrs. Ketz’s geometry class, my heart would beat like a big bass drum. The palms of my hands would get all sweaty. My throat would go dry. I could feel my pulse beating at my temples. All I could think about was getting the nerve to say hi to Lisa, if I was lucky enough to see her as she would be leaving her math class, in Room 209.
I was the skinny kid, the drummer in the school band, with Buddy Holly glasses.
I was crazy about Lisa. But I was this skinny kid, the drummer in the school band, with Buddy Holly glasses. I worried and worried, if I was just kidding myself. Was I way out of my league?
I would fade off into daydreaming about Lisa, during geometry class. Then, Ron would bring me back to earth. Back to Pythagoras and his long winded theory of triangles. Ron would say something like, “hey, Rich, you think it should be an acute triangle or an obtuse triangle on problem seven.” And, then zoom, bang, I’d come crashing down from the ethers, day dreaming about Lisa. Ron never knew it, but he saved me from flunking geometry class.
I had it so bad for Lisa, that on Sunday nights, while I was at Youth Fellowship at my church, I would be lost in day dreaming about Lisa. We used to start Youth Fellowship at seven in the evening. Dr. Johnson would have a bible study for about a half-hour. While I should have been focused on a verse in the Book of Deuteronomy, I would be day dreaming about Lisa.
Finally, when the sun would be rising on Monday morning, I would be in the mad rush to get ready for the walk down to my bus stop and be on my way to Boonton High. It wasn’t that I was in love with school, it was that I was madly in love with Lisa.
Finally, one time when the bell rang marking the end of geometry class, the timing was perfect. My guardian angel had smiled down upon me. The timing was so perfect. I was leaving the doorway of Room 210, just as Lisa was leaving the doorway of Room 209. And, lo and behold Lisa smiled at me and said hi to me, before I got to say hi to her. I nearly fainted.
Then, the miracle continued. Lisa began talking to me as we walked down that long corridor to the staircase, leading downstairs to the great food served at the school’s noteworthy cafeteria. It was during that walk with Lisa, from Room 210 to the cafeteria that it all happened. And, from which, I would never, ever, ever be the same. From that two minute walk down the hallway, down the staircase, then down the hall to the cafeteria, an event so powerful, so dramatic that it would change my life. And, from that point on, my life would never be the same.
To be continued.