This week on Author2Author, we're reliving some of our favorite teen experiences. I saw the delightful Sara Zarr at the Rochester Teen Book Festival yesterday, and she said that almost all adults hold their teenage selves close to their hearts. What do you think? I think she's right.
So, teen self, you're in 10th grade. Where were you on Saturday night? I can tell you where I was: babysitting.
My friend Jackie and I had gigs all over town. It started as one job and I was just her sub when she couldn't make it. Jana was the easiest, cutest toddler and she loved us, so much so that her parents told all their friends about us. Soon we had more jobs than we could handle. Besides that, my youngest brother is nine years younger than me and my parents love to go out to dinner. It was very rare for me to have a Friday or Saturday night out. On the other hand, when I could get away, I always had cash for a movie ticket or ice cream at Friendly's.
I was pretty boy crazy, but I never had boys visit me at my babysitting jobs. I probably would have, though, if I could have figured out how to get the right boy to come over! I think my absolute favorite part of hanging out with my friends in 10th grade was that my group of friends started including boys.
With some extra money in my pocket, my brothers and I could pool our cash and buy the latest CDs and video games. My favorite hangout nights were when the boys I was friends with came over to play video games. I'd tell you which ones but it would totally age me. Oh, well, here's a hint.
Oh, man, drinking Coke Classic from gas station glasses with Jets and Giants logos and playing Nintendo for hours, listening to U2 ... that was the life! Unfortunately, by 11th grade, my friends and I spent most Saturday nights on the search for alcohol. If I could go back in time, I'd tell my teenage self that the partying was never going to be as fun as the times in 1oth grade when I finally felt like I belonged. I'd tell my teenage self that part of my friends wanted to pull back too, that we'd all regret egging each other on. And also that I may have been making less than minimum wage babysitting, but after taxes, Burger King was a much worse deal.
Sophmore year will always have a special golden glow for me. I'm sure I was filled with insecurity, but I remember being happy and having a great time. Junior year, not so much. How about you?
-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages