Ever since I moved back to New Orleans 10 years ago, I’ve been one of the worst offenders in terms of asking everyone I meet who grew up here where they went to high school. Mostly it’s a way to figure out who we might know in common, but it’s also a way for me to work my alma mater, Ben Franklin, into the conversation.
This past Carnival season, I got so excited when I saw the Ben Franklin marching band go by on Bacchus Sunday that I ran screaming after them for two blocks and Ruby had to pull me back by my arm.
“You don’t understand, Ru,” I yelled (and yes, OK, maybe I’d had a beer or a even a couple of beers), “they didn’t have a marching band when I went there. This is so cool!”
“I know, Mom,” she said. “I know you love Franklin. Go Falcons, right? I know.”
Franklin is in my bio over there to the right, and I’ve blogged about it here before, so it seems like a really natural but also exciting progression that I am working there now.
But going back to high school 20 years later is also kind of bizarre.
For instance, when I was getting the official tour, I got nervous going back into the music rooms because I had a wicked crush on a French horn player when I was a freshman. I laughed when I saw a Garfield poster on a classroom door that I know dates to at least 1996. I walked past my old locker and wondered if I could open it based on muscle memory alone even though I have long forgotten the combination. I got the weirdest anxiety from parking in the faculty-staff lot (students were never allowed to park there), and I will probably never feel comfortable taking the elevator because I almost got a detention once for hopping on with a friend before the doors could close.
But it also feels, very literally, like a homecoming. I’ll get to help promote my own 20th reunion. I can go to plays and football games professionally. My office overlooks the courtyard where I ate lunch every day from August 1994 to May 1998, and when I found myself locked in on my first day of work because I didn’t yet have a security code for the gate, I knew well enough how to sneak out through a side entrance.
I am the kind of person who thrives on routine and really doesn’t do well with change, but in this case, it feels less like change and more like relaxing into something I’ve always loved.
When where you went to high school is also where you work, it’s the ultimate New Orleans dream.
So where did you go to high school? Would you love or hate going back?