High school. The fall of 1987 was my first year in high school: 10th grade. I didn’t got to my local high school. I was part of the magnet program in Los Angeles and went to Cleveland Humanities Magnet in Reseda, California. (At the time, my local high school would have been Kennedy High School).) It was very early in my first year of high school that I met and became friends with people with whom I am still friends today, some 22 years later. In fact, I talked to some of them on the phone this very afternoon.
And now here is where my timeline gets a little messed up. I always associate the start of high school with the beginnings of Pirate Radio 100.3 in Los Angeles, but a quick check tells me that while I started high school in 1987, Pirate radio didn’t start until 1989. Nevertheless, I still associate Pirate Radio with high school and will continue to do so no matter what the real timeline says. Pirate radio’s staple was Guns ‘n’ Roses, but the song that I think of when I think of the early years in high school is Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford’s “Close My Eyes Forever.”
My first year in high school we were still living in Granada Hills and I had this routine. Wake up early, eat breakfast, then fall asleep on the couch for a little while. At some point, I’d wake up and catch the bus to school. Those bus rides–on the order of an hour long–I’d listen to music and the kind of music I’d listen to was the kind of music that was played on Pirate Radio. “Close My Eyes Forever” was just one of those songs, and even if the timeline is off, that song reminds me very much of those early times in high school.
We had a bit of an unusual high school program. Whereas most kids had English and History, those of us in the humanities magnet program did not. We had an evenly divided course of philosophy, literature, social institutions, and art history. Every test we took was an essay test and I give complete credit to that program for my ability to “write on my feet” as I can do today. And whenever I hear “Close My Eyes Forever” I am back in the early days of those classes, hanging out with the people who would eventually become lifelong friends. We were just kids back then, and now we all have kids of our own and it is a bit disconcerting to think of it that way. But the hormones had left the system and my mind was being challenged in ways that it had never before been challenged. Life was good and I even think I knew it at the time.
And it would get even better as I moved from tenth to eleventh grade. Eleventh grade was unique in several respects, one of which provided an extremely rare opportunity to a group of friends. But you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out about that. In the meantime, some Ozzy and Lita: