High School: the Misery Years

Robert Strozier

The first girl I fell in love with was a horse.

Charlene Atkins, circa third grade, was a worshipper of anything equine, and, meeting me in the hallway, she’d rear and haughtily paw the air, whinny and snort, then gallop off—taking my heart with her.

Charlene and I attended a small, protective private school on the South Side of Chicago, and our class stayed together from kindergarten to graduation from high school (in 1957).  Although my crush on her never faded, I did explore other options over the years. In seventh grade, for instance, my best friend Keith Hudson and I worked up the nerve to ask the Korman twins, Harriet and Louise, to a movie at the Picadilly Theater. I don’t remember who made the call—perhaps we asked them out in unison. Because it wasn’t clear what pairings-off we had in mind, the twins ended up seated to Keith’s right, I to his left. I bought two bags of popcorn, and they shared one, he and I the other, and the only hand I touched that afternoon was his.

Finally I reached high school—The Big Time. Renewing my pursuit of Charlene, I managed to  (More…)