By Anna Catherine Rutledge
According to our parents, Lisa and I were terrible influences on each other. They were so convinced that at one point they thought it would be a good idea to separate us, which involved lots of hysterical crying. I guess eventually they realized keeping us apart was futile, since we went to school together and saw each other every day.
Maybe we were bad influences but looking back on it, we were high school girls. We didn’t really do drugs or sneak out of the house or steal things or go too far with boys. We usually had a job, tons of after school activities, watched Dirty Dancing and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure about 800 times and 21 Jump Street religiously every Sunday night. We did spend an inordinate amount of time on the phone (but which high school girl doesn’t? and what parents of high school girls aren’t annoyed by this?) and at her house (her parents preferred that she stay close to home, which was fine with me).
Our biggest issue was that we liked to ditch school. Not just class. The whole day of school. It started probably in 10th grade, when we realized we could just walk out the back door after our early morning dance class. We would sneak back to my house and get McDonalds and play board games. We soon learned we could take the bus to the subway, get to Manhattan and kick around for two hours before having to head home. We were hooked. To this day I’m not entirely sure how I explained all those absences to my parents. Maybe in my mind there were more of those skipped days than there actually were.
From Queens we had to take the 7 train to Times Square, which in the late 80′s was still a pretty surly place. I remember standing on a street corner and some guy coming over and asking if we were models. Lisa was tall and glamorous and always held some modeling dreams and it was all I could do to convince her to not walk off with this guy who promised to make her famous. We were daring explorers, hitting the streets of the East Village, Fulton fish market, Chinatown, Central Park. We never had much money or did anything of importance, just walked around, skirting around any cops we saw, convinced they would haul us directly to the paddy wagon. We just were. Young. Free. And while we lost touch years ago, I will always treasure those high school memories.
Anna Catherine Rutledge lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two boys and no pets. She is considering getting a fish. She runs Fit4 Mom Brooklyn, helping women develop the strength they need for motherhood, and blogs about random happenings.