- Nickname in high school?
pALLLLmer, with a sharply rising and falling intonation -- my voice broke very, very hard during the fall term of our freshman year, and I was teased unmercifully for it.
- Sport you were into?
Sailing... but we were up in the Berkshires, and sailing was a spring-only sport, and I got cut from the sailing team sophomore year and they discontinued it after that to make way for crew. Sports were mandatory at D.A. -- we did sports instead of having gym class. In the fall, I played soccer freshman, sophomore, and junior years, and coached the local elementary school team for the second half of my junior fall season. Senior year, I started karate (Isshin-Ryu) in the fall, and am still at it. All four winters, I took Rec (i.e. non-competitive) Cross-Country Skiing. Freshman spring, I was on the sailing team, sophomore spring, I took Rec Tennis after getting cut from the sailing team, and junior spring, I took Outdoor Skills -- camping, rock climbing, hiking, and the like. Senior spring, I was off-campus doing an alternate studies project.
- Had a circle of friends?
Several, actually. Our freshman year corridor was very close-knit until it all started to drift apart in the middle of sophomore year. I was a "CJ" (computer jock) -- heck, I still am -- and the CJs were sort of their own circle. We did some pretty amazing things with our school PDP-11/44, and I should have known to stick with it when college application time came around, rather than figuring it out halfway through college and having to transfer. Late junior year, and into senior year, I had decided to go into politics rather than computers, and much of the central "CJ" circle graduated with the class of 1985, so I sort of fell away from the CJs, and towards a new group centered around the S.T.O.P. Nuclear War chapter.
- Best subject?
AP Computer Science, naturally. :-)
- Worst subject?
Anything senior year after I got in to Georgetown. My work ethic really struggled, to the point where I was essentially sent home for the spring term with orders to find some meaningful volunteer work to do. Also, I got sick during October of my sophomore year, when I was taking Algebra II-A (with the current dean of students). It was a very fast-paced course, and the week and a half that I lost put me far enough behind that I struggled with math for the rest of my tenure at Deerfield.
- A teacher you owe life lessons to?
Tim Engelland, who was my corridor master sophomore year, definitely changed my life. My father is rather conservative, so I was raised on right-wing Republican dogma, which I didn't really question. In fact, I was a member of the campus chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom (far-right campus Republican group) during my freshman year. My sophomore dorm was Hitchcock, a small old colonial-era saltbox with just six students and two proctors, and Tim, our corridor master, had the upstairs as his apartment. We used to hang out in his living room a lot, and he constantly challenged me about why I held the beliefs I did. When I took a hard look at my politics, I wound up doing more or less a 180, and wound up running the campus chapter of S.T.O.P. Nuclear War.
The other big influence was my junior and senior year English teacher, and freshman and sophomore year soccer coach, Joe Medlicott. I'm still in contact with him, actually -- he and my father have become great friends due to their shared contacts with Dartmouth. He taught me how to write (I can envision him making lots of corrections to this, given the sloppy and stream-of-consciousness way that I'm writing this), and wasn't afraid to give me a kick in the butt when I needed it.
- A teacher you wanna kick in the ass?
Not really. Mr. Graney, my junior year Pre-Calc teacher, always seemed to have a low opinion of me, but I don't have to deal with him any more. I would, however, like to win a major sailing championship at some point so I can wave it in Mr. Harcourt's face for having cut me from the sailing team....
- Freshman year
I was such an incomparably over-the-top dork that there was a "Palmer Davis fan club" among some of the class of 1983. Our dorm was very close-knit, and fairly dorky until everyone else started to get less dorky later in the year. We played a lot of Star Fleet Battles, and I wrote for solarbird's science fiction magazine.
- Sophomore year
Sophomore year was a year of transition. Late in the fall, some classmates pulled me aside one evening and got me drunk, I ditched the bowl cut that I had worn all my life to that point, and I developed a clue about politics.
- Junior year
Deerfield has a tradition of the Junior Year History Term Paper -- a very long (mine topped 100 pages, with five all-nighters, three in a row, in the final stretch) research paper on American history, and I was in the honors section. Junior year is also the time when the college pressure cooker turned itself up to full blast. We had a major interscholastic conference on nuclear disarmament on campus, and I somehow managed to squeeze in a little time for some activism.
- Senior year
Senior year was wildly uneven -- it was another massive sprint with lots of all-nighters right up to the point when I got in to Georgetown early decision, at which point I decided to take it easy. (College advising, by the way, was treated as essentially a sixth course.) My grades suffered to the point that I was sent home for the spring to do refugee assistance instead of academics -- other than the AP's, of course.
- Your best friend was?
John Bennett. We had a radio show together, were on the same corridors, and I wound up pulling a Felicity to follow him to Georgetown, where we even wound up as roommates sophomore year. He left in the middle of the spring, and no one I know has heard from him since.
- Your worst friend was?
Several -- but that's not important at this point.
- Cafeteria food sucked?
No, actually, it was quite good, though we complained about it anyway. Occasionally, when the dining hall had spent it's budget for the week? month?, we'd have a meal that really sucked, especially for "walk-through" dinners on weekends. (Most of our meals were "sit-down", family style, in coat and tie; "walk-through" meals were cafeteria style and informal.)
- Most hilarious school rule?
Parietals, perhaps? The rules for opposite sex visits in dorm rooms specified that three of the four feet involved had to remain on the floor at all times. There was another rule that jackets had to be worn at all times in the dining hall, even on very hot days, unless an announcement was made that it was okay to remove them.
- Wore uniforms?
Coat-and-tie. However, the rules were written rather laxly, and we took great pride in pushing them to their utmost limits -- i.e. polo shirts, one inch wide neon leather ties, and unconstructed linen blazers (it was, after all, the 1980s), or the worst possible clashes we could create.
- How was the prom?
Innnnnnteresting. I had been off campus all term, so Mara (who I later married) and I flew to Deerfield for just the prom, with me sticking around afterwards for graduation. We had a nice formal dinner in the dining hall, everyone danced a few dances, and then all the couples vanished to various secluded spots around campus, including us.
- Who was prom king and queen?
I don't recall that we had that particular tradition.
- Any achievements?
I was the president of the campus chapter of S.T.O.P. Nuclear War, did a lot of really interesting PDP-11 hacking, won the Deerfield Debate junior year, and won some Model UN awards. I also had my weekend privileges suspended for sneaking off to a disarmament rally in D.C. (this was during the Reagan administration, remember) and handcuffing myself to the White House fence. (Helen Caldicott put me up to it.)
- Were you popular?
Not really, although I can now say without fear of contradiction that I'm the most popular girl in the class. :-)
- Best song that reminds you of high school?
Anything that John and I used to play on our radio show. linuxspice put Who's Next on the CD changer in the Aztek on our last trip to Boston, and the whole album really took me back; I remember a Scroll poll during the '83-'84 school year (*wave* to solarbird) in which the Who took the #1 spot for most popular band.
The high school meme
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