Secretary: Lisa Kline, Marshall Middle School, Class of ’02
3:04 – First order of business: The writing of the acronym “T.E.A.M.” on the chalkboard by Mrs. Karmann. Acronym is underlined. Twice. Explanation that it stands for “Together Everyone Achieves More.” Nods of assent by the yearbook staff but an overall feeling that what we are doing here, however great, will probably be underappreciated by our fellow students.
3:08 – Mary Holt suggests that the frontispiece be a collage of particularly relevant action shots she has taken, to be entitled “Scenes From A Hallway.” The suggestion is roundly accepted. Erika Yan proclaims, “What a great idea, Mary!” Awkward high-fives ensue.
3:11 – Mrs. Karmann reminds us that if we don’t start going out there and doing the legwork, namely selling ads, this undertaking will never get off the ground. She asks us how we would feel being the first eighth-grade class in school history not to produce a yearbook. She also asks how we would feel if all the work we’ve done so far was for nothing. General agreement that, no, that would not be good.
3:12 – Responding to several muffled sobs, Mrs. Karmann assuages our fears of failure by reminding us that yearbook staffs are the future leaders of America. Back pats and shoulder rubs for all. The anticipatory euphoria of facing our bright futures leaves us with butterflies in our stomachs and distant, longing looks in our eyes.
3:15 – Several 2-liters of RC Cola are opened. The Dixie cups make us feel as though we are being treated as children, but God is it good. General hubbub as we sip our drinks. Mark Roth fidgets in his seat and appears to be attempting to conceal something in his lap.
3:23 – Back to business. As one, we express our concern that our fellow students aren’t taking what we do seriously. Erika Yan claims that it’s exactly how the staff of the school paper, “The Paper Pamphlet,” has always felt. Other “Paper Pamphlet” journalists agree. Their tears beget our tears and Amir Sirijul stands up and proclaims that he “has never felt closer to a group of people in his life.” He explains that in his native country, if your fellow students didn’t appreciate the work done by newspaper and yearbook writing staffs, they’d… he trails off into a silence fraught with horrifying implications. Resolved: This is the greatest country on the planet.
3:29 – We are once again ready to take on the world. The ideas come like wildfire. We talk about doing questionnaires, polls and surveys. Favorite foods, favorite bands, favorite teachers—it’s all happening so fast I can barely write it down! We decide we are going to give everyone the chance to put a quote under their name that adequately describes their feelings about our great school. James Bakersfield suggests that the theme of the yearbook should be “A Celebration of Musical Theater.” Complete and total silence.
3:37 – Our exhilarating high from 8 minutes ago has given way to a crushing low. James Bakersfield is on the ground in the fetal position absolutely beside himself, smacking at the top of his head yelling, “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” I think we all just want to know why we are not being taken seriously by the school. Jessica Chabot says that she’s sick of notes getting taped to her back and getting locked in lockers. She says she gets enough of that at home. She then runs out of the room crying with her jacket tied around her waist. She is a woman now.
3:41 – Mrs. Karmann implores us to calm down and focus on the task ahead. In order to make us feel better, she tells us an uplifting story about a set of footprints on the beach. We remind her that that’s just the sort of story that facilitated her “leave of absence” earlier in the semester. The tears well in her eyes and she becomes inconsolable. When Amir Sirijul attempts to comfort her, she screams, “Don’t look at me! Get away from me!” It becomes clear that I, as the most mature, physically developed, and clear-minded staff member, must save the sinking ship. My den mother instinct kicks in.
3:42 – I requisition Mrs. Karmann’s retractable pointer and set to work rebuilding our shattered egos. I know there’s only one thing in the world right now that’s going to cure this royal case of the uglies: a rondolet. I start up with the first verse of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and point to the left side of the room in anticipation. When nothing comes, I start thinking, “Is this really the end? Are we giving up?” I won’t believe that. I refuse to accept that. Luckily, I’ve got a Plan B.
3:46 – After getting the TV and VCR from across the hall, I plug it in and pop in The Tape. Sensing this breakdown in confidence weeks ago, I have been working on a moving montage of images and video clips set to the tune of Van Halen’s “Right Now.” The tape includes shots of us working, playing, and laughing. Above all, laughing. Smiles abound. I tell them that we will forever remember this time in our lives and that the bonds we make here will perhaps never be broken. Sean Bradley says, “God, what were we so upset about?” He’s right to ask that.
3:53 – Our good cheer is shattered both literally and figuratively when a brick comes crashing through the streetside window. We huddle around the brick and the shards of glass. There is a note tied to it that has been partially ripped on the way in, but is nonetheless legible. We can all see that it reads “YEARBOOK FAGGETS!!!” but some of us read it aloud anyway, as if naming it will somehow bring sense to the whole awful spectacle. James Bakersfield runs weeping out of the room.
3:57 – Something fantastic happens. As we huddle still around the glass and the brick, a hand is placed in our collective center. It is the pale, sinewy hand of Jessica Chabot. Another hand goes in, then another, and another until we are a tentacled mass of junior achievers. We look deeply into each other’s eyes as if to say, “Is this really happening?” We know it is. We know we’re going to be all right. Somewhere in the distance, a dog barks. This is our life and we are leading it.
4:00 – Pizza Party!!!