The Yearbook

My only yearbook (my senior picture in the backdrop)

I only have one high school yearbook because my husband accidentally tossed all the others ones away, including his.

When UMAS was an innocent organization

While perusing through the yearbook, my mind went back to my youth and how I was always trying to be a goody-two-shoes. In my high school days, I never drank alcohol, smoked pot or got into any awkward situation with boys. This was a transitioning stage of my life. In my Junior year I was involved the Spanish Club and UMAS (United Mexican American Students). UMAS claimed to be for everyone, but in reality it was just for Mexican/Latino kids. UMAS later became MECHA, which was much more radical.

I was almost squeaky clean, with the exception of me being a bully to one person. I bullied a popular dark- skinned Latina girl because she did not hang out with the other Latinas, and refused to join UMAS. She was a mean girl, not for the reasons I mentioned, but her bad behavior of entitlement. I don’t really know why, but I started to call her “Oreo.”

Back when everyone’s race was falling into order, we all took our position. If you were not part of our Mexican/Latino group you were referred to as coconut (brown on the outside and white on the inside). If you were black and did not identify with those of your race, your were considered an Oreo (black on the outside and white on the inside). In an atrocious behavior, I gave this poor girl the nickname of Oreo, and I got others to do the same. I had developed thick skin, because my brothers bullied us on a daily basis. I am not trying to make an excuse for this shameful behavior, but truly I did not really understand how mean-spirited this was. I had no idea of the adverse effect this had on that girl either. Years later, while I was working at a retail store, one of that same girl’s cousins was my co-workers. The subject of high school came up and the fact that the girl (the one we called “Oreo”) was her cousin. The cousin told me that it hurt her cousin deeply. I felt so bad for what we made this girl go through, that this episode caused me to profoundly regret my actions.

I can recall that during this period, most sixteen year-olds at my school considered driving and having a car as the most important thing. I never had those desires. Only a handful of my friends had drivers license’s and fewer had cars. I can’t remember which friend had a sign on the glove box which read, “This car runs on gas, not friendship.” I always wondered about this sign, and though I enjoyed riding in the car, I never felt comfortable. My friend Cindy had the best car, as her parents bought her a VW Bug. Cindy gained great notoriety with her cute ride; she was my good friend (and still is) as she always included me in her ridesharing.

Later that year I was selected and appointed team leader of a conference representing Colton High School. This conference was held at Chaffey College. Believe me, I was shocked at being given this title, because I was on the main panel of students from other high schools in Southern California. These students were scholars, with high academic scores, I, on there other hand, was average in the world of academia. A good friend, Fred, was also representing our school, and asked me, “How did you get on the panel?” My reply was, “I have no clue.”

How I conducted my role as a panel leader was beyond me, God must have taken over, because He gave me the confidence to fulfill the role. The questions were all about the war in Viet Nam. This subject was near to my heart because my brother Mike was in the front lines fighting for our country. I, like most kids my age, opposed the war. This conference changed a lot of my thoughts, It built enough inner courage, and determination for me to get more involved with other passionate groups. I represented the youth at city council meetings and was brave enough to be talked into running for Miss Colton. I lost that competition, but gained more personal confidence. I made my rounds until I found the path that God had so long ago paved for me.

My yearbook is filled with how nice and sweet I was, and one of my friends even wrote that I should learn to drink, I never mastered that.  A young man poured out his heart, professing his love for me, but I did not reciprocate.  However, I’ll never forget those sweet words. Others wrote of my sarcasm and how I would get away with things. Sarcasm is part of my personality, I use it to make light of things. So to most of my high school friends I was, “the funny, cute, sweet, girl” and I have one yearbook to prove it.

We never get away with bad behavior; it always catches up with us, because God wants us to be loving.


Junior year yearbook
Page from my yearbook

Romans 12:2 New King James Version (NKJV)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.






Related Posts