Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dear Diary: Stand By Me

The Junior High Lockers
There are moments in our lives that catapult us to another level, and when we look back on those moments, we see the significance they played in the path that we chose.

When I was 12 years old, one of the biggest moments in my life started at Parkdale... an inner city Elementary and Junior High School in Edmonton.

If I close my eyes, I can remember the first day. I had recently moved from a more upscale neighbourhood on the south side but had spent the majority of my childhood in the inner city and looked forward to my return with both anxiety and anticipation.

The Main Stairwell

I wondered if the first boy I had ever kissed when I was six years old would still be at Parkdale. He wasn't.
I wondered if anyone would remember me. They didn't.
But it was at Parkdale that I found the five friends who were instrumental in surviving junior high (and home life in general).

We celebrated birthdays and studied together. We shared dreams of going to university and travelling, we giggled about boys, and we kept each other protected from the lifestyles that any one of us could have easily slipped in to.

Parkdale wasn't just a school for me, it was a safe haven from the bullshit that was happening at home. At school, I had my friends. And at that moment in my life, it seemed like they were all that I needed.

It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of our lives,
like bus boys in a restaurant - Gordie LaChance, Stand By Me

The Phoenix, Parkdale's logo

Our friendships were based on a lot of things, mainly our love of movies and I remember seeing Stand By Me in the summer of Grade 8, and feeling like I was watching us up on that screen. Of course, I was Gordie, for no other reason than he grew up to be a writer which I was planning on doing.

By the end of that movie, when he talks about the friends he had when he was 12, I knew it was a foreshadow to my own life.

I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone? Gordie LaChance, Stand By Me

The Girls (I took the picture)

We all went our separate ways in high school, and even though we tried to get together throughout the years, the last time we were all together was at that grad.

Walking through the halls of Parkdale reminded me of a moment in my life that I will never get back. The friendships I had there were the only things I had to cling to in an otherwise forgettable part of my life.

Yesterday, after 98 years of scholastic history, Parkdale's doors were closed forever.

Another building from my past is shut down but the moments I was at Parkdale led me to the path that I am on right now.

And for the record, I never did have any friends like the ones I had when I was 12.

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