A few months back, I (alongside my friend Mike), went back to my old Junior High School for a day of wondering the halls, checking out our old classrooms and doing a great deal of "Remember When...". And what was the special occasion, you might ask? Ramay Junior High School was having a special Open House Day in honor of the school's Fiftieth Anniversary.
So, the school had a celebration and invited any and all past alumni to drop in for the festivities! I decided to go and so did my friend Mike(regular readers of my column will remember Mike as the one who drove us into a ditch the day before Thanksgiving back in 1986). The Open House was to last until 5 P.M. with the special ceremony taking place at 3 P.M. in the gym. The principal and previous principals were to give speeches, remembering their time at Ramay. Several others spoke, but the only one that I recognized was ex-coach Edmonson, who had taught my various PE classes back in the day (1982 - 1984! Waaayy back when). The whole experience was surreal! It had been 32 years since I had set foot in my old Junior High and here I was back again. This time, it seemed like I was walking into a time warp! With the exception of computers being omnipresent in each and every classroom and touring the new addition to the building (built a couple of decades ago) absolutely NOTHING had changed! Nothing!! In 32 years! The Home Ec room, the library, the shop class even the main office -- EVERYTHING was exactly the SAME! It was as if we had stepped back in time to the 1980s!
Mike and I wondered around for hours, just taking it all in again (we did manage to get to the gym at 3 P.M. to see and hear the speeches. That was a main attraction for me. I was having a good time, even if I DID have to sit on the bleachers (those UNCOMFORTABLE things had not changed either)! After the reunion had finished, Mike and I went exploring again. We went into the old PE changing room, which HAD changed somewhat (they had moved the lockers to the OTHER side of the room). We had a good time with the exception of when we went to the lunchroom. They had some snacks set out, so Mike and I grabbed a quick bite. Someone had left an empty plate on the table beside us and the current principal (I recognized him from his speech) griped at us for leaving it there! Mike told him that it wasn't ours. I just completely ignored him. What was he going to do -- give me a detention?!?! But outside of that idiot, we had a very fun time and I was sorry to leave.
At this point, my readers are probably thinking -- "say, this trip down memory lane sounds great and all, but what does all of this have to do with pop culture!?" My answer? EVERYTHING!! Pop culture has always been and always WILL be a huge part of my life! I have even named myself (and my column for ENR) after that particular era! Pop culture memories abounded all throughout the day! It was at Ramay where I met one of my best comic book reading friends. His name was Cully and he was a HUGE fan of the Amazing Spider- Man, and while that was his main interest, he bought/collected other comics as well (he was exclusively a Marvel Guy, however! I was always a fan of ALL the heroes)! Cully would come over and we would go to the comics shop and spend most of the night either reading comics or watching movies on Showtime. It was at Ramay that I first decided that I wanted to be a writer!
It was thanks to a class assignment in my English class one day. I wrote a very short story and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The next day our teacher, Ms. Cloud, called upon some of us to read our stories aloud (no, she didn't call upon me). As I listened to the other kids stories, I decided right then and there that I would continue to write and make a career out of writing! I stood in my old English classroom, where it all began and remembered the mystery story that started it all! I had nineteen notebooks full of continuing stories featuring mostly my friends as characters, by the time that I graduated from Ramay in 1984.
It was at Ramay that I avidly read the Secret Wars comic book and tie-in books. It was at Ramay that I read about Spider-Man's new costume and his more adult relationship with the Black Cat (he revealed his true identity to her). It was at Ramay that I continued my Batman collection on the route to #400. I absolutely LOVED the whole involved "Return Of Rupert Thorne" story line, which ran throughout my time at Ramay. It had everything that a reader could want -- super heroics, political intrigue, detective work, suspense, old characters returning, twisting plot lines, villains that you hate and heroes that you love!
I read of Tony Stark's falling off of the wagon and losing his company to Obadiah Stane the Hulk gaining Bruce Banner's brain and a full pardon for his actions as the Hulk and the Elektra Saga in Daredevil! I read John Byrne's excellent work on on the Fantastic Four! I enjoyed "Assistant Editor's Month" and the weird, wild, and fun stories therein ! I collected the first few issues of the New Mutants comic as it came out back in the day (Cully told me that they might be valuable some day. He advised me to keep them. I needed no such encouragement).
All of these milestones happened during my time at Ramay! Everywhere I went in the school I was confronted by memories, both good and bad, of my time there. Those comics (and movies, books, magazines and TV shows) were and are an integral part of my youth. Those items went a LONG ways to making me Mr. Bronze Age!