As I stated in the previous part, Kady and I were homeroom buddies for the three years that we sat next to each other each school day morning. I didn't have a girlfriend and she didn't have a boyfriend, in the classical sense of the definition, when we started in 10th grade. There were girls I did have a fascination and an active imagination about as well as girls that I did consider friends. In fact, the last “girlfriend” I had before 10th grade was in 8th grade who was another orchestra member. She had a thing for me since the 6th grade and I spent lots of Sundays with her and her parents. She was/is brilliant, as was her family, and it was a fascinating look into a family life that was very different from mine. It was a largely intellectual relationship with some snogging and petting. Oh yes, she and her close friend did share some Polaroids of them dressed up in rather revealing underwear and something for me to fantasize with. But after that school year, my family did alot of vacation travel and we just went our separate (if parallel) paths and not a couple, as she and I served in the JHS and HS orchestra until we both graduated.
Starting in 10th grade, I was in the same boat as the other 750+ students who had joined this class of sophomores from at least two junior high schools into this high school. No longer the oldest and most senior in the schools where we had developed relationships over the previous three years or longer, we were the “rookies” or “newbies,” or whatever other definition you'd use to describe us. As a group, we were the largest class that was passing through the school system, larger than the senior class by a considerable margin, larger than the junior class by about 100 students. The school was bulging at the seams and there was a planned expansion that was delayed but finally got underway (and completed) while I was attending the high school. We had classes meeting in the cafeteria and the auditorium because we were so short on space. No mobile classrooms at that time like so many schools added in later years. As it turned out, the class behind us was smaller, as was the class behind that.
Kady and I didn't share many classes together though we had mutual friends who did. It wasn't until our senior year that we shared two back-to-back class periods together and we sat next to each other every day in that class. Part of that was just the luck of the draw in the way classes were assigned. All seniors had to take both English (literature) and US Government classes and she and I happened to be assigned to the same class to meet those combined requirements. Part of that were our interests. I already knew that I wanted to be in some sort of scientific career by the time I was in 8th grade and engineering was looking quite like the general field I wanted to play in. I didn't settle on chemical engineering until I was a senior in high school but aerospace/mechanical engineering and electrical engineering looked like areas that I was also interested in. So my other classes were heavy in math and science. I was also fortunate that my high school had access to a mainframe computer with which we all could learn how to write computer programs. I was one of three students who ran the computer lab in the afternoons, evenings and weekends in my last two years at the high school. I was also musically inclined and played violin in the orchestra as well as in the pit orchestra in the theatrical productions that we put on.
On the other hand, Kady wanted to become a nurse and her sights were set upon that track with the courses that she took. As I recall, she became a “candy striper” when we were in 11th grade, working several evenings a week at a nursing home that wasn't too far away from where she lived. Seems like like she took other math classes and the chemistry course I took, but we were in different classes with different teachers.
We did share one thing; we both of us had domineering fathers who were both physically and verbally abusive. Mine was more physically abusive than hers, but we both knew the telltale physical signs that indicated the physical side of the abuse. As I mentioned previously, Kady dressed very plainly and conservatively, usually in a jumper of some sort and a shirt underneath. Girls were also allowed to wear pants (not jeans) in school, so she wore those as well, in the winter. In part, it was to hide her weight problem and in part to keep the peace at home. I also saw her in her uniform which was a bit more revealing as to what lay underneath those clothes she wore in school. But under those clothes was the makings of an incredible figure as her body grew during those three years we were in high school together.
As the years progressed, our quiet discussions together, when we could have them, did turn to the darker side of our parent's behavior and our mutual support of each other through the incidents we both experienced. One thing really seemed to light up her life, though, was the nursing home. She loved working there. She loved caring for the residents. She felt deeply at the death of any one of the residents she cared for, but glad for what she could and did do to make their lasts years alive better. It wasn't until later, in our senior year, that she really had a sense of how she was working in a really good nursing home (as we sat together through a couple of days of Congressional hearings on nursing home legislation). It was also through her experiences at the nursing home where the topic of enemas came up.
So, we went through our first two years mostly seeing each other in homeroom and the hallways between classes. Neither of us were “dating” someone, though by our junior year, many of our friends did have steady girlfriends or boyfriends. (There was a girl I liked to see and hangout with when we went to Pennsylvania to see my cousins. At that time, did have some kind of thing going on between us, but in the end it we ended up being “just friends.” ) I didn't have access to a car and that was somewhat problematic for me. Kady did have a car, starting in her junior year, a big 12-year old Chrysler that her dad had handed down to her to drive to school and to her part-time job. Her younger brother also started attending the high school as a sophomore when she and I were seniors and Kady served as “transportation” for both herself and her brother. Somewhere in there, I did meet her parents at some school function. An interesting “Mutt and Jeff” combination as parents. This all set the stage for what happened during our senior year and beyond.