I brought back several boxes of books and other old items from Kansas City two weeks ago and have slowly been working my way through them. Two absolute gems of finds were my sixth and eighth grade yearbooks (I don’t know if seventh grade is just located elsewhere or if it was destroyed thanks to an especially unfortunate picture of your favorite blogger that year). As you can imagine, each yearbook was good for quite a few laughs. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Sixth Grade, 1982-3:

We were new to yearbooks, being 12 year olds and all, so the comments people wrote in mine weren’t all that eloquent. Examples:
“To a good friend! – Robert”
“To a good friend! – Mike”
“To a good friend. See you next year. – Steve” Thanks to Steve for mixing it up a little.

Here’s a fun one: “Always watch the news because someday you’ll make a good politician. – Pam” Clearly Pam was predicting our modern media age where politics is practiced as much on the evening cable news shows as in Washington or any state capital.

“See you this summer. Stay out of jail. – Mike” Sixth grade was the year of my famous assault on an unmarked police car with snowballs, but I don’t recall there being real concern that I would end up in jail. Hmmm. Am I blocking out some important memory?

“Stay sweet! See you next year! – Krickett.”
“Stay sweet. – Jen.” So it wasn’t just the boys who were repetitive. Now I know I was pretty good friends with both of these girls back then, but rereading these makes me think perhaps they didn’t put much thought into what to enter into my yearbook.

Page 5. My picture. Not too bad. Glasses. Hair still pretty straight. Face still boyish rather than teenage-ish. Nothing to be embarrassed about (yet).

“To a nice boy and a good friend. – Mindy.” Smacks of “You’re ok but not cool enough that I’ll still be talking to you next year” doesn’t it?

And now for my favorite line. “Even though your (sic) a nice person, I’m not nice to you. That’s one of my faults. – Stuart.” Brilliant! My high school friends who might read this will know who wrote that and understand it fits his personality perfectly. A sixth grader writing about his faults in a yearbook. Good stuff.

Eighth grade, 1984-5:

Now things were really picking up. Almost everyone was in the throes of puberty. We were heading to high school, so assuming our “Class of ’89” collective personality. Also, I have a lot more signatures this time. I wasn’t terribly popular by any measure back then, so I can only assume it was the joy of getting out of middle school that caused this frenzy of yearbook signings.

“Have fun. Don’t die. – Chad.” Advise for a lifetime.
“Hi. Glad I got to know you after all. Hope to see you next year and over the summer. Stay sweet. – Teri.” Wow, that’s some statement. Did I miss an opportunity with Teri back in the day?
“Have a great summer. See you next year. Maybe we’ll have some classes together. – Cali.” Holy crap, girls wanted to be in the same class as me?

“You’re a big pain when you’re around Jeff. But you’re really, really cool. Really. – Sofia.” Sarcasm?

“You’re in GT. Why are you such a troublesome student? (Sound familiar?) Home Ec’s been cool. See you next year. – Blair.” Ahh, 8th grade Home Ec. I was in our school’s gifted program and was normally a pretty good student, but when I got around a couple of my friends (two of which were in Home Ec), I tended to act out. Our teacher called me out this way in front of class one day, trying to shame me into being good. I think we put powdered laundry soap in the sugar bowls as payback for her yelling at us that day.

“To a real nice guy. Maybe a little weird but nice. Have a good summer. Love – Amy.” Sounds about right. Love?!?!
“It was nice knowing you. Your (sic) a little weird but have a great summer! – Christi.” Another girl who saw me for what I was.
“You’re weird but a good lab partner in science. Have fun this summer but give the girls a break, ok. – Deana.” Ummm…..

“I wish you didn’t give up hoops. – Woody.” Wow, the best basketball player in our class telling me he needed me out there on the court with him next year. Note to self: begin exaggerating athletic accomplishments as a kid.

“Have a great summer. Work hard in BB. – Coach Jeffries.” I had my gym coach sign my yearbook? Pathetic. And he’s pretty much telling me to hang the hoops sneakers up, isn’t he?

“You’re a cool dude. – David.” David, too, is cool.

Page 8, picture. Ooof. Bad glasses (I believe I broke my regular pair playing football right before picture day, which meant I was sporting the dreaded Backup Pair, Bob Griese models from two years earlier. Hair now much wavier, barely under control. I have the visage of a kid struggling with puberty, a lack of confidence, and uncertainty of who he is (Sure, I can see all that just from looking at the picture!). I was just trying to stay out of the way and not make any waves.

“A real trippin’ actor. Stay cool. Have a nice summer. – Rick.” We made some rather impressive movies regarding issues like time travel in our gifted classes. I really should explore converting those to digital and posting them online, don’t you think?

“You are a tough guy, Jeff told me. See you next year. – Mark.” Translation: I don’t know you very well, but my buddy says you’re cool. Maybe if we have class together next year I can decide for myself.

“Tuff Guy. Have a great summer. See ya next year. Your friend – Steve.” I was about 6’1” 130 or so in 8th grade and two people have called me tough. Were they being ironic? Or was that a put down in ’85 and I just didn’t know it?

“You are an outstanding student (I know this because that’s the rumor among all the teachers). Have a good summer and a really good time at RHS. – Ms. Sterner.” Apparently I didn’t perform all that well in her class if she had to judge me based on what she heard in the teacher’s lounge.

“Start your summer off with a job! – Nestor.” Double-entendre in middle school? I’m shocked!

“Thanks for the good time. You’re a good softball player. Have a supreme summer. – Candy.” I gave Candy a good time in 8th grade? You’d think I would remember. Supreme summer smacks of someone trying to coin a term, doesn’t it?

“You are a nice student to have in class. – Mrs. Bailey.” Translation: You were in my class but did not make enough of an impression on me that I can determine if you’ll win a Nobel Prize or shoot people from a bell tower.

“To a cool brain. Stay a brain. – Jeff.” Ok, Jeff, I will.

“You’re really sweet – stay that way! It’s been great knowing you! Maybe we’ll have a class or 2 together next year! – Mindy.” The same Mindy from sixth grade. And until I looked at her picture, I could not remember who she was. I still can barely place her. She clearly had it bad for me back then. Memo to self: If I ever attend a reunion again, avoid her, or have wife with me at all times for protection.

And my personal favorite: “Your (sic) really cool. I’m glad we are friends. I’ll write you. – John.” This comes from a long-time reader of the blog who moved away after our 8th grade year. The proof we wrote each other was sadly put on public display at my wedding two years ago.

There’s your look back at two of my middle school yearbooks. I know I have my two high school yearbooks (thanks to moving around, that’s all I got) here in the house and there are some epic comments in them that probably need to be shared in the future.