UGHS 1995


Class of 1995

And that’s me, smack in the center, on a smoldering day in May. One of those rare days in which mom and dad got along just fine, even my aunt and grandma tagged along, and no one ended up fighting. I earned two medals: one for Highest College Board score (the College Board is a college entry test, somewhat like the SATs), and one for Health Class (now, that was a hoot!).

It was one of the longest graduation ceremonies I have been in (if not THE longest … ever!). It took, from start to finish, about 5 hours, mostly because of the myriad of activities and speeches. The validectorian herself took up some space, half for the teachers to read her 9-page-long resume, and half for her to shoot down authority in one sweep. Suffice it to say that teachers weren’t expecting that and they were sorely vexed. Everyone else laughed. And in retrospect, I should have been more like her, less contented with the paternalistic recognition handed me during those three high school years.

I salute Cindy Salgado for that!

Talking of Cindy, she’d be the one right next to me (I’m the oddly long-necked creature standing at the far right of the picture, squinting at the sunlight, and impressively not melting under the beret and the denim jacket). I can’t for the life of me remember much of this road trip. The picture was taken at El Yunque, perhaps in one of the old stone watchtowers that dot the way to the top.

As much as I don’t remember this particular trip, I do remember others, and the one time I fell asleep on the last seat of the bus. It was so hot, I was sweating out of my eyes. Either that, or I was sick …

The picture doesn’t say much. To be honest, I can’t say what it is the person who took the picture trying to photograph. I don’t even remember the decoration of the place. I do remember:
-the lighting (dim and located)
-Cindy’s skirt (long, fringed, red suede, cowboy boots! argh!)
-staying in the same room with about 8 people (including Mayda’s mom and her brother, which ensured some drama for the evening)
-popping out of the hotel for a bit (and suddenly finding myself ordering take-out breakfast from Burger King at 4 am)
-the rumors (including “a bathtub full of champagne/beer/bubbly alcohol”, and “a threesome in said bathtub” etc etc etc)
-the intense scolding I got afterwards (for not calling the night before to let my parents know I had gotten there just fine)

To tell the truth, I consider my White Christmas 1994 to be in a truer spirit of what a prom should be like. (I didn’t even stay at the prom anyway. Mom got sick, so we had to split.)

I don’t recall who was the insane teacher that thought it would be somehow helpful for our progress in the English language to hold a fashion show. It gave way, however, for an annoying slew of more of these, complete with casting sessions and tearful rejection. Our own fashion show will probably pale in the collective memory of class 1995, thanks to the overblown production by another group, in which the highlight of the afternoon was one of the girls unabashedly walking down the makeshift catwalk in nothing but sheer black stocking, a camisole and a thong. I can still vividly remember the post-pubescent kids scrambling to get their $1 bills in first …

BTW: Even if there is no picture of it, I do remember Mayda imitating Gloria Trevi at a talent show. She forced a kid out of his belt (he looked scared shitless) and poured some … soda? water? over her wild hair. Shock value was starting to be IN way back in 1992!

I could be at this all day if I wanted. The memories pour in as soon as you open the mind’s window to the slightest image.

I remember a Halloween party in which Cindy and I closed off the evening by howling at the moon (what WAS our trip, anyway?). I garnished the corners of my mouth with fake blood and all I got was a comparison to a ventriloquist’s puppet (never place fake blood as if it were falling in straight lines down the corners of your mouth and then not accompany it with the fake fangs … you WILL look like a puppet).

I remember Mayda’s gray-colored contact lenses, the first I ever saw on someone my own age. I remember her having them on so often that I almost believed that was her natural color, even if I had met her first as a brown-eyed girl.

I remember the girls who shaved their heads, a pair of sisters, both donning faces so beautiful and faultless, that the lack of hair worked perfectly. I tried it later on in college. Pulled it off, but not as gracefully.

I remember Ana Pomales and her frequent change of hair color. She used to be a hair model for Wella, and it gave her the privilege of having edgy haircuts and flashy hair colors. She introduced me to the concept of glo-orange hair. Thank you!

(Plus she had a bicthin’ sense of fashion, I always envied that a bit…)

Another one with an enviable sense of fashion: Yadira de Jesús. Always fashionably retro, without falling into the crowd. Always a bit of a forward thinker in that way … And there were a few others, beautiful creatures, graceful creatures. Looking back, I guess I have never felt as good as I looked. I’ve always suffered the ugly duckling syndrome.

I remember my small, wine-red wool sweater, and how I wore it even if it was 90 degrees outside. I loved my red sweater. I loved my fake Doc Martens boots. I loved the one time I dared set myself on the spotlight by painting my whole face stark white, surrounded my eyes in black (like a raccoon) and stained my lips in red. I loved that next year, a few others did it too.

I remember sitting on the staircase to the mezzanine arguing with Axel about Ricardo Arjona. It should please him to learn that I saw the error of my ways: Axel, you were absolutely right. I remember sitting outside on a bench and asking Raul (a total stranger back then) to play a Metallica piece for me (jeez! wasn’t I the forward one?).

I even remember that a rumor got around of me saying I would be the Antichrist’s mother. A group of creeps came around to ask me about it … I had to go back on my story, lest they should get any ideas to kill me because the believed me. I’m glad I did. There are lots of crazies around in high school already.

The gallery Nanette posted on her Facebook profile may not have many pictures of me, or of activities I might remember. But they are the key to opening up my own memories. A shame that I don’t have the pictures to match. But today I’ve had quite the ride!

Thank you, Nanette!