Pining for memories that never came

Cathy Berner’s 1971 Continuation High School graduation photo.

In the ninth grade, in 1967, I dropped out of Libby Junior High School, because a girlfriend said I could get out of school sooner if I went to her school. So I faked being pregnant to drop out.

My dad had died when I was nearly 5 years old.  My mom was still alive, but no adults even questioned my pregnancy story or asked if I needed follow-up care.

My girlfriend and I both moved out of our houses and moved in together. We spent the next year and a half driving around the streets drinking and drugging. I eventually told my mom I lost the baby.

When I did get back into school at Continuation High School on Spokane’s North Side (later known as Havermale and now called the Community School) I also worked full time at a factory, so I dropped in and out of Continuation three times before finally graduating.

My life turned out OK, and I’ve always been a hard worker because I realized that I had to take care of myself and not rely on others to take care of me.

But I still feel shorted for never having a prom or old school chums or the memorable moments that are part of high school. I feel shorted for not having any reunions to go to now.

So one moment in life I wish I could redo? I would stay at Libby Junior High.

Write it out

• Cathy Berner answered this writing prompt posed last week: “One moment in life I wish I could redo.”

• Here are two more prompts to ponder:

“I wish I understood at 20 what I know now about …”

“Things my parents said that were true, after all …”

• Keep your essays between 200 and 400 words. Email them to rebeccan@ Include a daytime phone number for verification.

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