Madam Editor

Madam Editor©

Averyell A. Kessler

In the olden, golden days at Murrah High School, I was editor the Hoofbeat during my senior year. Sadly, I was forced to choose between prancing across the football field in a short white skirt, boots, and cowboy hat and editing the school newspaper. Words won, as they always do with me. So, my dreams of Murrah Miss glory vanished in the foggy mist of halftime and I learned to love ink on my fingers, the five W’s, and basic headline writing.

The toughest part of the job was coming up with an editorial for each edition. Looking back, most were a mediocre combination of simpler times, ruthless faculty supervision, and teenage idiocy. Sneaking a cigarette in the upstairs bathroom was a serious crime, as was a speeding ticket resulting from the after school drag race on Riverside Drive. Graffiti was an unknown concept. I was once called to the principal’s office when a photo picturing a misplaced Budweiser can appeared on page 3. My bad!

I’ve often wondered what I’d say now with years under my belt and a bit of life experience. Instead of addressing  the debacle at the debate team’s concession stand, maybe I should have said….

Do not wear a black dress to the homecoming dance. Coco Channel was a genius and her little black dress looked great on Audrey Hepburn, but its hard to be sophisticated at sixteen. And, a low neckline may cause trouble.

Algebra and Geometry are critical components on a college application, but you’ll not use them in the vegetable section of the grocery store. The words protractor and compass may appear in the  Sunday crossword puzzle, but they won’t be must-haves in your kitchen tool drawer. No one will ask you “If a train departs Jackson for a 185-mile trip to New Orleans at 45 MPH, and a second train leaves New Orleans traveling to Jackson……………..” You know the drill.

 Be careful in the backseat of anybody’s car.

Congrats to those of you in typing class. You will not wind up taking dictation in the boss’s office or chained to a Remington Rand as big as a sea turtle.  In the future, the typewriter will be a white elephant relic, but you will be a wiz on something called a laptop.

 Do not allow lipstick to melt in an evening purse, sit idly by when a coach tries to produce chlorine gas in chemistry class, or allow your eye glasses to drop into a toilet. (You know who you are!)

Take you gym clothes home to be washed at least every six weeks or you can just wait until they become gray, stiff and smell like sour milk.

Be wary of eating a mustard drenched pronto pup at the fair before riding the mouse.  

The assassination of JFK was life changing, a “where were you when” moment that never goes away. Unfortunately, it will be the first of many. Buckle up.

Our teachers are just as anxious as we are for summer vacation. They are happy when we learn, and unhappy when we do not. Only the worst of them don’t care. Step around then as you would a foaming puddle of sludge.

High school has a lot in common with Wordsworth’s There was a Little Girl.  When she was good, she was very, very good. But when she was bad, she was horrid. High school years are a time in life when we know everything and nothing. The horrid part is short. It will end. The very good part lasts forever.  

Some friends last for a lifetime, but not many.

Find you passion. Kiss it, rock it like a newborn, and hold it in your heart. Some dreams are not fulfilled until later in life. Much later.

As Shakespeare said love all, trust few, do wrong to no one.

2 thoughts on “Madam Editor

  1. Great advice and well written as always !! I remember (YEARS AGO !) when you weren’t supposed to wear black before age 30 !! Or diamonds … except your wedding rings. Pearls were ok. And of course, girls could NOT wear pants to class — not even culottes ! I remember the time at MHS when we all wore culottes to school thinking the wouldn’t/couldn’t send all of us home. (They could and they did !!)


  2. Oh for what we now see as “the good times’. I suppose when children look back on today, they will think these are “the good times”. I just don’t see how. Thanks as always…


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