Almost there! So close I can taste it! The end is in sight!! The end of high school that is, and yet high school is really only the beginning!
(This is me and the two teachers who ran NJROTC, my great uncle is the one in maroon.)
In my junior year, I joined NJROTC. For those who don't know that stands for Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. I only did it for 2 of the 3 trimesters actually, I can't remember if I dropped a math class or chemistry from the 1st trimester to do this, but either way I couldn't stand either of those 2 classes. In chem, I had the kind of teacher who assigned homework, put up the answers for you to correct yourself, then 'went over' what you didn't understand. I got a C, my first C, and I was done. I never understood it when my teacher explained it anyway, because he would do it in a manner that made you feel stupid for even asking. You know, like he knew how to do it, it was so simple, how can you not get it?! My math teacher was pretty much the same way, though I was lingering on a B- in that class, and I already had all the math credits I needed.
So I decided since one of my best friends, Victoria did it, I should too. I already knew a lot of the people in that crowd, and thought I would fit in well. And it just happened my great Uncle Ed was the Captain of my school's program. He was so excited and proud when I joined, and of course everyone knew me from before, unfortunately it was mostly as 'the Captain's niece'. I got great grades in this class, it was mostly just learning about different subjects within the Navy. A little history, a little english- actually a whole new form of english because I was required to use terms such as "I need to use the head." instead of the normal word, head means bathroom for all the people who don't speak sailor-ese. We also did running- oh great more PE! And we had uniform inspections once a week. We had to go a whole day wearing the most ugly, unflattering uniform and uncomfortable shoes for all our classes, then were inspected by another student who was ranked above us, I believe it was our chief who did it (they rank just like in the Navy- we even had a student commanding officer-CO- and second in command (XO) and so on down the chain). And the inspection was part of our grade as well. During the inspections we could get hit for hairs out of place, not keeping our bearing- which means standing perfectly still and looking straight ahead with a straight face while your entire group is inspected (really a struggle for me)- for having ribbons or collar devices not perfectly lined up- some many inches from the tip of the collar, etc- or on not knowing the answer to questions your inspecting officer asked- for example: who is the Secretary of the Navy? (insert current SecNav here). It was like torture to me!!
This is also the year I had my first boyfriend. I say first, but he is the only other guy I 'dated' other then my husband really. He was also my first kiss. I was at one of the ROTC dances, which happened fairly often and weren't by any means formal. I was upset about something, crying, but I don't remember what. I was sitting on the bleachers and Steve came up to ask what was wrong. I was shocked, someone I didn't know, and a boy, actually cared?! Well he ended up asking me to dance, and later asking me 'out', which just meant we were an item, not that we actually went anywhere particularly. Steve was also in ROTC and he was actually a year younger then me in school. But he was so sweet to me, and no one had ever treated me like that before. For Valentines day he brought me a rose and a small amethyst heart necklace. And on my days off we would hang out after school up at the building the ROTC shared with a recruiting center. It was an old armory with a lot of extra space just up the road off campus (and I would've hated ROTC more if I hadn't had a car to make the drive in- otherwise you were expected to walk and you got a little extra time between classes to make the trek). If we weren't there, we would just drive around or hang out at my house.
(Steve and I at the ball. Sorry, I don't have any pictures of me in my uniform for a good reason, but it would've looked just like Steve's here minus the gloves.)
One day as I drove Steve home, before he got out, we kissed. It was his first and my first so neither of us had any clue what we were doing! It was wet and sorta gross (no offense Steve!), and it felt weird, but I was still curious and eventually we kissed again...a lot. By about a month and half of the couple thing, I was getting irritated. Steve had problems with his step-father, and always said he couldn't call, or couldn't talk long because of him, but I wanted to talk to my boyfriend more! We wrote notes during the day, but it just wasn't the same to me. And then it ended...almost. We 'broke-up' and about a week later, at an after school ROTC thing, as I was getting in my car, Steve jumped the fence after getting a chocolate rose handed to him by his mom in her car which was kiddie corner from mine, and apologized and asked if I would be his girlfriend again. I said yes, and we began the whole high school dating ritual again. We passed notes, we hung out, we kissed, and we talked more at first. We even went to the one formal dance ROTC did each year, the Navy JROTC Ball. It was a lot of fun, and this was my second year going (remember I hung out with this crowd, so I went the year before with some friends). This dance was way better then the normal high school dances. We had a sit down meal, we were served, not buffet style (which is what the actual Navy Balls I have gone to since with my husband, lean towards), and best of all, it wasn't just in the school gym, but in a nice lodge on base.
Well Steve and I just weren't meant to be. After another month and half or so, we broke up again, this time for good, and not really on good terms. I had gone to the movies with his brother, mom, and him. On the way back to their house (his mom drove us all), we were all making fun of Steve, playfully. But he got very sensitive about it and when we got back to his house, him and I stayed in the car to talk...or argue. I think our biggest issues should've been clear to me earlier on. Steve kept telling me he couldn't trust me when I wanted to talk about things that bugged or upset him. It was always 'too personal', and for me, I thought- if there is no trust, how can we be in a relationship together? And though that in itself was reason for us not to date, he had shared with me he didn't want to have kids until he was at least 30 if even then, he honestly sounded like he didn't want any. He didn't even think he wanted to ever get married! And I knew I wanted to marry young (which I did) and have children (which I did). I would never have changed my mind about those two things for my life, yet I thought I could convince him or change his mind. So it couldn't have lasted much longer then it did anyway!
This is my 13th post in a series of 15 in which I am recording my youth with other ladies at
. Only 2 more to go! And if this sounds like a fun idea to you, be sure to sign up with Janna for the 2nd session which begins in October!