Hello hello hello and welcome to a new year of recording artists’ backstories and music plus a few tales of my own. I’m Bruce Hilliard and I thank you for being here.
It’s heading into even more short days and long nights in Aberdeen. The rain always lives up to its reputation at the foot of a national rain forest that gets up to 150 inches in the west side. Roughly 90% of that crashed down on the kids without their jackets on in the elementary school playgrounds during recess.
Since it’s a new year I grabbed my high school yearbook, 1972. New year, old yearbook, makes sense but I can’t explain it.
The first thing you notice is the black and white photos. All the zeitgeist plus some really revealing words from my friends. The time capsule we call the High School yearbook and the friends that get to sign your yearbook. Sometimes you’d hand your book to a buddy to sign and it went off on its own meet and greet…off on its own tour getting thoughts and autographs for us all to reflect in years to come.
I sat down with a cup of coffee and started reading through one of them this morning. Priceless. Kids this age are where the term special needs comes from. Here we are entering the second half of our teenage years. Our bodies are looking grown up but we’re kids--our undeveloped prefrontal cortexes are being blitzkrieged by surges of raging hormones…rendering us helpless morons.
How can this be? We look and sound old enough to make sane decisions but somehow we just are not.
We have learned to read and write reasonably well but we have the social skills of a toddler. Please know, we were kids, and good ones. I am about to delve into my investigative journalism skills and read from the Aberdeen High School ‘72 yearbook. I flat changed the names and maybe took a few poetic edits but for the most part, this is my sophomore year experience hand written in balloony longhand.
Here’s one from my girlfriend Gorcon (I used a Klingon name because her real name was Cinderella). And pretend this is a teenage girl’s voice:
Dear Brooster the Rooster,
This year really has ended fantastically, and it's all because of you. I am sorry for all the griping I have done about certain people. But you know how it is. I guess it’s because I’ve been hurt so many times before and I couldn’t stand it another time.
I really like your family. I just wish they could feel the same about me. It hurts Bruce. I hate to be compared to someone, especially someone with certain advantages. Maybe someday.
I hope you will never hesitate to tell me anything because I feel that I have let you in a great deal. I’ll never forget the party when we kissed for the first time. Then there was the kegger at Alice’s Restaurant (it was actually a cow pasture a few miles out of town). The all nighter in the bleachers.
You have been so good to me. So understanding. But most of all, so much fun. Camping until 5:00 a.m. in a bush, dropping me on the floor, crashing my mom’s car while sun burning my boobs, trips to the beach, Harborena dances, track season and the naked lady in the Safeway parking lot.
It seems impossible for so much to happen in only one month. You are the greatest person I have ever known. I don’t say things I don’t mean unless I’m just kidding. I meant everything I said and I always will.
She broke up with me that June.
So how can that be? We’re at the height of our sex drive, we’ve been down Heartbreak Road and pretty much know everything there is to know about love.
This excerpt is from my senior yearbook. It was written by my buddy’s girlfriend, both seniors. She wrote on the opening page:
Gol, it’s almost all over! It gets kind of sad at the end. Enough emotion.
Bruce, I’m so glad we got to know each other. You’re a great guy with a lot of talent. I know you’re not the kind of person that would let that talent go to waste. Get out there in the world and make a name for yourself so I can tell everyone I know you!
Good luck, friends always…
Her name was Cheri. She and my buddy got married. She died of a brain aneurysm just a few years after graduation.