la Ketch

my life story

Thursday, October 27, 2005

riding off

I had spent the afternoon at home watching, “Days of Our Lives” and thinking about what I had done. Later on that evening, Beloved Principal called my house. “La Ketch, there is someone on the phone for you,” my mom said, handing me the cordless. I knew it was going to be him. “Heello?” I said, already starting to cry. “La Ketch, it’s Beloved Principal. Are you okay? How are you? I hope you don’t think I’m angry at you.” He seemed to really want to know how I was. “Oh Beloved Principal,” bawling now. “I, I, can you ever forgive me? I, I, I’m so sorry I let you dooh, dohw, dooooown,” I was losing it genuinely and strategically now. “Of course La Ketch, of course I can. I think you are going to be much harder on yourself than we could ever be.” Can I just say, thank God for this man? “I’ve been talking to Cool Counselor about your options.” He used that word again, options? It was like I had a terminal illness and we were deciding on treatments. “It's my understanding that you are considering the possibility of moving back to California to live with your grandmother before you go off to college. I have to say at first, I thought that was a bit drastic. I mean, it might feel like a big deal but this acid stuff, we all did that.” You would not believe how many teachers pulled me aside and confessed this to me after it was all out in the open. At least four teachers that I remember actually made a point of stopping me in the hall or after class and saying something to the effect of, “I don’t see what the big deal is. I did that stuff when I was your age.” Or “Don’t worry kid, you’ll be okay. I did a ton of that stuff back in the 60’s.” So funny.

What Beloved Principal went on to say was that he hadn't forseen how blown out of proportion this whole situation was going to get. People in the community seemed to be quite upset for one reason or another. He had received several calls from concerned parents and teachers and students were reporting to him, each with different concerns about my situation. It had all the earmarks of a witch hunt and he was not interested in watching me burn at the stake. “So, I’m beginning to think that maybe, if that’s what you want to do, move to California, it might not be such a bad idea. I hate to see you go but I think that if you can, that would be best.” I couldn’t believe it. It sounded insane coming out of his mouth. I was still praying that this possibility would come to light and had pretty much given up hope but here was Beloved Principal himself giving me the green light. I could just….. go home?

Of course, my mom wouldn’t let me. In retrospect, she was the only adult presiding over the situation that was able to make a clear and intelligent decision about my fate. After it was decided that I would stay in the Claw and face consequences, Beloved Principal broke it down:

A. I could fight the charges. It would be very difficult to prove that I had done what my accuser had claimed I had done and my confession wasn’t all that useable against me considering it happened behind the closed doors of a confidential counseling session. If I choose this route however, I would have to answer to a lot of intense incrimination. Worst of all, even if I couldn’t be found guilty and was allowed to go on as President, I would have to face the Student Body knowing I had lied to their faces and knowing that they knew I had lied and gotten away with it. I considered addressing them all at the next assembly, “They will boo me. They will definitely boo me,” I thought to myself. They would have.

B. I could resign and I wouldn’t be obligated to answer any questions at all. I could just site “personal reasons” and the Vice President (green as grass and completely unqualified) would step in immediately.

I choose to resign.

I wish I had my resignation letter to post for you here. I was so heartfelt and wrought with heartache and remorse. I was addressed to my fellow Student Council Members. I told them that this was the hardest thing I had been forced to face since the death of my father (not much time had passed since that happened really, so it wasn’t saying much). I told them that I knew they could do it without me, that I had the utmost faith in them to carry on as I would have, with energy and enthusiasm (I didn’t really. I figured it would pretty much go to shit without me). I told them how sorry I was to have let them down, that I would never forgive myself for letting them down (that was true). I told them how stupid I had been to make this horrible decision when they all would be affected by my actions. I told them how sorry I was. I was so very sorry.

Our Advisor read the letter out loud to the Student Council in our meeting room. I wasn’t there but I’m told that everyone cried, including the advisor. I wish I could have been there to see them cry for me like that. I have to tell you that for some reason, it made me feel so good when I heard they had cried like that.

Beloved Principal worked out a plan for me to survive my final days at EHS. I would be suspended from school until after the Christmas Break. This would buy me some time and let things blow over before I had to trudge through Senior Locker Bay again. He then concluded, with the help of Cool Counselor, that I had taken nearly enough classes to graduate. I only needed two credits, in Social Studies, and I would be meeting my state requirements. So I took a choir class and two teacher’s aid classes to have enough hours to be considered a student and then, to get my Social Studies credits, Beloved Principal arranged for me to do an internship with the Mayor. Yes, you read that right. I spent the first half of my day just sort of hanging out with teachers that liked to tell me how much acid they took when they were my age and then I would drive my little brown Datsun over to City Hall of all places and work in the Mayor’s Office. Beloved Principal was a friend of the Mayor’s and he asked him to do me a favor and take me under his wing. Beloved Principal was still convinced that I should go into politics. I was not in agreeance but I loved this not really having to go to school thing and I went a long with it.

The Mayor didn’t know what to do with me exactly and finally we decided that I would do some research and create a business directory for the town. I searched through all of the business license documents and created a data base of every business in The Claw and put them into different categories. I created pie charts and statistics and I eventually gave a presentation at a city council meeting that demonstrated my findings. Apparently, they all found it very helpful and no one could believe that I was the young druged up acid girl they had heard so much about.

The whole town knew about what had happened or rather, had heard a version of what people thought had happened. There was an article in the School paper about it and there was an article in the town paper about it. There were lots of rumors about what a druggie I was, that I had to go to rehab, that I had tried to kill myself, etc. I would get looks at the grocery store ("Psst, look that's her). I would hear customers wispering about me at my work ("Apparently, she injected heroin into her toes because there weren't any veins left"). In the hallway of the Main Office at the school there is a wall with photos of all of the Homecoming Kings and Queens. It was always one of my favorite parts of the school's decoration because it's so funny to look a the photos and see all of the different hairstyles and clothes change style over the years. My photo was there and over my face someone had put a sticker that read, "Acid Queen". It was pretty funny actually and eventually it was removed (not by me). I still find solace knowing that my photo is there in that hallway as I type this. And when it was all happening, I liked knowing that too. They couldn't take that crown away from me. I may not have been president anymore but I would always be the Homecoming Queen.

There were lots of rumors and stories but in reality, I didn’t do drugs all the time um ....yet. I had just done one hit of shitty acid this one time but soon after I got into all of this trouble I started smoking quite a bit of ganga. I was going backwards through the gateway I guess. I had gotten myself this boyfriend who was 23 years old and he was a huge stoner. That age seems so young to me now, gosh what a baby he was but at the time I was 17 and he was OLD. He had dropped out of college and moved back in with his mom. We had met at a party. He was sweet and cute and he loved Jane’s Addiction. Because my City Businesses project only took me about 2 hours a week to work on and because I had convinced them that I could work on it from home, my days in the latter half of my Senior year consisted of:
1. Sleeping in past my first TA class because the teacher didn’t care if I came or not.
2. Sauntering onto campus for my choir class second period.
3. Sometimes going to my other TA class.
4. Driving over to my 23 year old boyfriend’s house where we would smoke massive amounts of marijuana and have sex all afternoon until he had to leave to work the night shift driving a forklift at the Pickle Factory.

After he went to work I would sometimes go to work at the deli and I would sometimes have to go to play practice. We did “Oklahoma” my senior year and I was “Ado Annie”. Everyone thought it was so funny that I sang a song with the lyrics, “I’m just a girl who can’t say no.” heh, heh, heh....

All and all, I was loving this punishment. It was so laid back and stress free compared to the chaos my life was the first half of the year. At school people pretty much left me alone. The "cool people" didn't want to be friends with me anymore but I started realizing how totally uncool they really were. The real cool people couldn't stand me all that time and now that I had fallen from grace and done drugs and stuff, they were like, "hey, we didn't know you were so cool." My whole out look had changed and I started hanging out with this new crowd. Mag had come back from being gone and she got herself this hot boyfriend. You have to understand that this is now 1992. The Grunge phenomenon in Seattle is exploding and we were just 45 minutes south. Still, only about 5 people in all of EHS owned “Nevermind”. Mag’s boyfriend was one of them. He was skinny with long hair and he was in a band. Our lives started to center around him and his friends and just music in general. We hung out at their band practice and went to shows on half pipes in some skater kid’s back yard. I cut my hair and started wearing Doc Martins. We would drive to Seattle every weekend and go to all ages shows at the OK Hotel and stop at the Denny’s on the way back and chain smoke Camel Lights and drink pots of coffee. We listened to Soundgarden and Nirvana and Alice in Chains and Hammerbox and Pearl Jam and all of it. We went to Endfest and Lollapalooza (the first Lollapalooza actually came to the Claw at the King County Fairgrounds. The head line of the local paper the next day read, “Hell Opens Up and Spits on The Claw.”) The music was so good and these friends were so cool and I began, finally, to see how silly everything that had happened was and how there might just be life after high school.

I ended up getting into San Diego State University but when it was time to finally move back to California something stopped me. It didn’t feel right anymore. I had gone to visit the campus and it was really Greek Centered and I just didn’t feel like I could rush a sorority. California suddenly seemed too plastic for me and my new grunge attitude. Also, my new crowd of friends had decided to move up to Bellingham where Mag’s boyfriend was going to school at Western Washington University. I knew Western because the drama department had brought that "Labels" play that had been so influential to me to our school and also I had attended a high school drama conference there. It's a really beautiful campus and a very charming town and I had sort of an affinity toward it. So at the very last minute, I decided to go with them. My grades weren’t good enough to get into Western in the final hour but Mag and I got and apartment right near the University and I started going to community college. Eventually I transferred into Western and got my BA in Theatre.

I did speak at my High School Graduation. It was a good speech. I was proud of it. It was sort of like, “I’m still here. You hick bastards didn’t break me.” I didn’t say that in the speech but just me standing there and giving the speech said that I think. High School Graduation was one of the happiest days of my life. I felt sooo fucking free. Two days later, we all piled in one of the band member's Vanagan and moved to Bellingham. College was four of the best years of my life. I met such wonderful people. I expanded everything. Soaked it all up. I just had this fanfuckingtastic time. And yes, I took lots and lots of drugs. I had a reputation to live up to after all.

After college, I moved to Seattle where I joined a really cool theatre company and got to know even more wonderful people, including the man who would later become my husband. In 2000, I moved to New York. I currently live in Brooklyn with my main man and our beagle. I work at a finance company and sometimes I act in plays.

That’s my life story.

That's it.

The end.

Thanks for listening!

la Ketch


At 10:59 PM, Blogger tina said...


Don't be pulling the rug out from underneath us, woman.

The end my big fat eye.

At 2:20 AM, Blogger Eve said...

Just when I thought I kinda sorta was getting to know you, BAM! You reveal another interesting facet of yourself. It's so fun to read your stories!

And I want to hear about whatever fat-eyed Tina is talking about too! :)

At 7:04 PM, Blogger momster said...

Thank you, La Ketch!
I have enjoyerd reading your story. Keep 'em coming, please!

At 8:02 PM, Blogger Okibi said...

Ack! Nooooo~ We demand more! You are a great writer :D


Post a Comment

<< Home