Thursday, November 3, 2011

Memories of High School You - Featuring Lori Parker

As a young adult writer, the foundation for most of my writing starts with my own teenage experience.  Times, fashion, and music have changed but that overall quest for self is still the same.  So in that spirt, I am starting a new bi-monthly interview format:  Memories of High School You.  Fellow MG and YA authors will share their own spin on the hallowed halls.  If you're interested in participating just drop me  a line in the comments.

Our inaugural interview is with a Twitter friend of mine, @girlparker1, known in real life as Lori Parker.   She can be found at her GirlParker blog on typepad.

Tell us about your high school, public or private, size, demographic, location?
Phoenix High School.  My class was only about 125 kids.  And this is Phoenix, Oregon, so we’re talking verra small town.
Were there cliques at your high school?  What were they?  Who did you hang with?
All the usual culprits were there:  The pretties, the “I’m too cool to care” crowd, the band kids, the farmer/Ag boys, the “curb-suckers” (druggies and smokers), the athletes…  I was in the band kids.

(J.Ro here - curb-suckers is a new term to me!  And as a teacher, I love my band kids - figure they'll grow up to be interesting adults)
Did you have a memorable teacher?  Good or bad?  How did they influence you?
Mrs. Entinger, or Mrs. E.  She was sophomore English and Journalism.  I loved her enthusiasm and she sat me down once and explained why a story I’d written wasn’t “a story” because the point was never made.  That turned me around.
Our social sciences teacher was a joke.  Can’t remember his name, but we could get him off the subject with one well-executed question, and we all knew it.  I also don’t believe he knew the material at all.  Ugh.
The geometry teacher was a cop on weekends.  We lived in fear of being pulled over by Mr. Hines.
Did you have an inkling as a teenager that you would become a writer?
I hoped I would.  But I’ve always been practical, so to this day, writing comes after work.
What book had the biggest impact on you as a high school student?  How?
“The Mayor of Casterbridge” by Thomas Hardy is the first time I woke up to a theme and how a character plays a part in pushing the story.  I wrote an essay called “How Elizabeth was Used,” or something like that, and my teacher loved it.
What band could you not get enough of in high school?  Were you an album or a CD kid?  Cover art you remember?
Bon Jovi and Journey…  I still can’t get enough of them!  I loved the “danger” of Billy Idol.  Oh, and I remember how, at one school dance, the gym floor was empty until they played “Rock Me Amadeus.”  It packed out instantly.  

(Ha!  I had a senior kid telling me about the albums he was "archiving" in his basement - how old they were - there was even Rock Me Amadeus!)
What was the fashion rage - the one article of clothing you either got, or didn’t get that rocked your world?
Preppy and England Rocker were fighting it out in our hallways.  I generally went preppy, but one time I got a pair of black parachute pants.  (Good lord!)  And I believe I was dumb enough to wear them twice!  I also got a bang out of wearing my cheerleading uniform (in freshman year).  But then I got “too cool” to be a cheerleader.  Ha!

(Thank goodness for the demise of the parachute pant!)
What hobbies, activities, sports were you involved in that influence your writing today?
Journalism and band, for sure.  They were a place where you didn’t have to push yourself to be uber-cool.  Also, I worked after school all four years in child care and once at a retirement home.  Excellent story ideas in both places.
Good kid or wild child or a little of both?  Details? (Mwaahaa)
Hopelessly good kid, with a tendency towards being a tattle-tale.  I once watched my two-year-old sister eat an entire bottle of children’s aspirin, which I got down for her.  I waited till she was done before going to tell on her.  An emergency room stomach pumping ensued.  I was only four, but I felt terrible.
Once, I was 45 minutes late on my curfew.  Mom was waiting for me.  I tried to tell her they burned the pizza, which was a lie.  I was kissing a boy in the backseat.  Anyway, she didn’t buy it.  She ordered me to sit on the sofa.  She returned to her armchair, where she was watching JAWS on TV.  Every time there was a commercial break, she got up, walked behind me, whacked me in the head with a rolled up newspaper, then sat down.  For the next hour, I watched people dying by shark attack, waiting…  
It didn’t hurt, but it left an impression.  I wasn’t late after that.  And I’m scared to death of sharks.  Now I always stop and watch JAWS whenever it comes on.  Hilarious!!
(I'll never forget, the opening of JAWS was on my birthday - all those dark ominous previews with "Coming to a theatre near you on June 16th" - and I lived on the Gulf of Mexico)
Did you have a favorite phrase or slang word?
“Tubuler” happened in eighth grade.  After that, I think it was just “awesome.”
Who was your bestie?  Your frenemy?  Your sworn enemy?  Did you ever have one that switched to another?  Why?
Annie was my best friend for three years.  But when I got a boyfriend my junior year, she tried to block my becoming the next Flag Team Captain after her, telling everyone I wouldn’t “have time.”  And she was graduating, so what did she care?!  She also had a boyfriend all four years.  Anyways, I was still nominated and we won awards that year.  So there!

(ooooh, Bad Annie)
If you could say one thing to your high school you, what would you say?
I’d like to thank the teachers.  They worked much harder than I ever realized.  To the rest: “Read to your kids!”
How do we find you now? 
Twitter @girlparker1


  1. This is great, Lori! Love your Flag Team Captain story!

  2. Thanks for the interview, Jaye!! That was fun. Although I admit I read the last question incorrectly. My answer refers to what I'd say to classmates now. (better get my eyes checked!) To my high school self: Take Photography!!! =)

  3. Thanks for playing! It was fun to see the answers (and I really do love my band kid students).


Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'