"Hey Luann, Bernice! Over here!" "Delta, great. You got a table."
"No sweat. And hey, I dig your rags."
When I was in eighth grade, I played Delta in the musical version of the comic strip, Luann, and I said groovy lines like "I dig your rags" and "Everybody cool it!" (Immediately followed by a solo called, um, Cool It.)
Back then, the girls playing Luann and Bernice were two of my very best friends.
They still are.
I met them on the playground in elementary school. They were bridesmaids in my wedding. And just last month, we got together--with our children--over the Christmas holiday.
I tell you this, because lately I've realized I want the same thing for my son. I went to a neighborhood school where I developed childhood friendships that evolved through the teen years and into adulthood. These days, neighborhood schools are harder to find.
Sure, neighborhood schools still exist, but our school district is set up so children also have the chance to be placed in "lotteries" to attend charter and magnet schools. And this month, many parents are waiting for the call. Where will little Johnny and Suzie go to school next year? It's a temporary but uncomfortable state of limbo.
There are many positive things about the lottery system-- I'm not opposed to school choice. It just, for lack of a better phrase, bums me out my son won't attend school with some of his closest friends. He's very social and makes friends in five minutes. So I'm not worried about his ability to adapt to his environment. But I've realized that in this ever-changing world, as much as I embrace life transitions and taking leaps of faith, there's a big part of me that wants it all to stop moving so fast.
I want to nest. To put down roots. I want a little Mayberry in my life.
So what about you? Are you the product of a neighborhood school? Or did you move around? Did it make a difference in how you view your life and the world today?