I know what a blasted railroad siding is, fer Kee-reist! Grrr.

pixelatedpunk.jpgMan oh man, I had better get used to switching back and forth between Windows and Mac OS or I’m gonna start losing data…

Now, where was I? As so many of you figgered out, that NPR story on Valentine’s Day was indeed about our own beloved Community (Commie) High School here on the Planet Ann Arbor. I heard part of it but I had a little pre-HL errand at the liqwire store and missed the tail end. Priorities, y’know. But yes, that was our school and both of beach urchins were lucky enough to win the lottery to get to go there. The school is so popular that lottery has been decreed as the only fair way to decide who gets to attend. There are usually around 100 spots and two or three times that many kids apply. Lizard Breath was number 51 or thereabouts. That meant she was in like Flynn*. It was touch and go for a month or two with Mouse. Her lottery number put her at something like 16th on the wait list and so we had to go through the painful process of enrolling her at Pioneer and I’ll probably blahg about that whole experience someday but not today. Lottery winners do often decide to go to the comprehensives after all (“all my friends are going to Pioneer”, etc., remember, these are 8th graders) so wait-list kids do get in and, about a week after the end of 8th grade, we got the call that Mouse was in! I think I screamed loud enough to be heard downtown. I don’t remember but I’m sure Mouse was a bit calmer. But what a relief! It was one of those moments that I was glad I didn’t have any more kids. I didn’t want to have to go through that ever again. Three out of four of my friend Sari’s kids got to go to Commie. The fourth was second to *last* in the lottery. And Sari was on the school board! No perks, folks.

So, what’s so great about Commie? First I have to make a disclaimer here. It isn’t for every kid. There are plenty of kids who are very happy at the “comprehensives” (big schools) and do well. And the comprehensives are big here, I think both of them are well over 2000 students and we’re building a third. Don’t ask me about that. I’m a NIMBY. ‘nother story, ‘nother entry. A lot of people have a lot to say about Commie and why it’s so great. The freedom, the bonding, yada yada. I dunno. It is a school where you don’t get lost in the shuffle. If you aren’t a star football player or head cheerleader or taking college level rocket science classes in 9th grade or star of the school musical you don’t just fade into the woodwork at Commie. And that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a star football player or any of those other things and be a Commie student. Commie kids don’t have their own teams et al but they can play on PiHi or Huron teams et al. And come to think of it, it’s probably *easier* to be taking college level rocket science classes at Commie because the schedule is (arguably) more flexible. [Lots of complicated stuff here about mouse’s senior year and the two language classes and the on-line math class and several other classes and working at the yarn store and acting and directing and I forget what else. Knitting, I guess.]

Yeah, there’s forum, the home-room style class where kids purportedly stay with the same teacher and core group throughout high school (it’s multi-age so there are leavers and joiners every year). It’s a wonderful idea and I think it does actually work better at Commie than home room does at the comprehensives. It definitely works better than when I had Ot McNaught for homeroom back when *I* went to high school in the crappy old high school we had in Sault Ste. Siberia! But it isn’t perfect. Lizard Breath had what I can only describe as an odyssey through various forums. I remember being at a PTO meeting the year she was in Spain (college junior) and a Commie High freshman parent was fussing about whether her kid was getting a good “bonding” experience in forum. I spoke up a bit about Liz’s experiences and concluded with something about how good even a less than wonderful forum experience was for her and how it helped enable her to handle college life and living with a host family in Spain, yada yada.

And just because you have 13 holes in each of your ears and a few in other interesting places and color your hair pink or green or dark black and wear black lipstick or whatever doesn’t mean that you are a perfect fit for Commie. It is still school and you have to do your work.

Probably the best thing was that the kids learned to travel around the city. There was no cafeteria at the school. You either bagged a lunch (yeah, roight) or ate downtown. My kids and their friends were not wealthy and they learned where to eat for cheap! I loved Commie for my kids and I miss those days sometimes but after working all day and driving to HL, I’m running out of steam. It was a great place and I’m not in favor of the new school but I’m going to have to live near it anyway. I just hope it doesn’t spell the downfall of Commie High.

We *are* here at HL and it is spotless here and that can only mean that The Beautiful Gay was the last person here. I certainly never leave this place that clean. Love.

* Another very smart kid who managed to be cool too. No crush here either.

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