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Cherie Siebert 'artsfish'

Cherie Siebert 'artsfish'
Location
DC metro area, Maryland, USA
Birthday
March 09
Title
artist
Company
artsfish studio
Bio
Artist, traveler to distant and obscure places, seeker of knowledge, lover of all things creative, explorer of all things of interest, partner, mama of 2 little ones adopted from China, activist on a mission to right all things wrong, fixer of all things broken and .... a truly horrible cook. I grew up in a little town in Ohio but left due to a chronic case of boredom.

JULY 6, 2009 11:28PM

Facebook & Spite; The Ex (High School) Boyfriend's Wife

Rate: 26 Flag

Well, my 30th high school reunion is approaching, and I find myself....curious. It's been a long time since 1979, disco dance, Pink Floyd,  Star Wars - and, of course, the ubiquitous Farrah cut.  At the core, I suppose I'm the same person I was then, but my attitude and ideals have shifted 180. I've been away from Ohio these past 25 years or so, after leaving (with extreme relief) at the age 23 in search of an adventurous life and a greatly expanded universe.  I had no family ties in Ohio and no possible way to finish my university degree, but ultimately I left because I was.....

Well , there's really no other wat to put it; I was, in fact, hopelessly and desperately bored. Yep. Bored. That pretty much sums it up. Gah, it was awful. I just knew that there just had to be more to life than Ohio had to offer, and I was going to find it. 

But, for now, let's go back to high school, unpleasant though that may be. Surrounded by farmland, my small-town high school lay smack on route 40, the original east-west wagon train of the U S of A. Despite its rural setting , my high school was likely not too different from any other of that period. High school was adolescent angst. High school was fun. High school was emotional torture at the hands of those deemed by clique status quo standards as better than you. High school was good times with good friends. Summing up the final equation equaled this;  the day that I graduated from high school was an even bigger relief than the day when I finally left Ohio altogether. However, over the years I have often wondered  - what happened to those friends? 

At that stage of life I was (as I'm sure many were) horrifically lacking in any smidgen of confidence when it came to dealing with the "cool kids"  or the even more terrifying prospect of  a romantic relationship of any type. This may leave some of you who know me as the "me" I am now, slack-jawed with incomprehension,  but it is a verifiably true fact.  Back in those teenage years, the most terrifying thing I could possibly imagine was the idea of actually going out on a date.  I strategically avoided any hint of "the question"  like the plague, and I always had some quasi-plausible excuse at hand for not accepting any date or (horrors!) the invitation to go to a school dance. When I think back, I have to kick myself - I said no to some prime dating opportunities! Ah , well.....20-20 hindsight, and guys, if you're out there - my sincere apologies for adding my bit to your own dose high school angst. 

 It didn't make it any easier that my first real dating experience AND my first kiss happened with someone I'd developed a comfortable friendship with - a friendship that slowly veered towards romantic and then somehow mysteriously slid past my dating alert radar. Before I knew it, BAM! Andy and I were on a date.  Eek! How did THAT happen?! It's not that I wasn't attracted to him, no, it was just the opposite - and that was the worst problem of all.  Extreme attraction served only to aggravate my already over-the-top, acute terror. 

The span of time involved during that incomprehensible shift from friendship, to dating, to kissing in the front seat of my '68 Mustang was a laughably short one.  (Andy had a car too, a '68 olds but my 'stang was the car of choice that fateful night.)

Was there one date? Or two or more? I honestly don't remember. What I do remember was that my teenage hormones were waging a battle with my Flight or Fight response. What a quandary! I REALLY liked this guy, sweet, funny, kind, captain of the football team - but kissing? KISSING? I hadn't a clue what to do. He leaned forward. I leaned forward.  Lips touched. Our tongues came together ........and at that moment Flight won, hands down. Panic ensued. 

Pulling back, I said a hasty red-faced (unseeable in the dark) shaky goodnight. Andy was left standing by his parent's front door with the understandable impression that he had just been unequivocally rejected. 

I did nothing to correct that impression. It was so much safer that way.

Once I left high school for college I happily experienced a complete and rapid loss of insecurity, and in fact, became for the most part a fearless wild child. Why? I haven't a clue, though losing all that fear and that choking insecurity was quite liberating. There are many tales to tell of those days - but those tales are for another day.

Once, during my university years following graduation, Andy stopped by my place - the reason for the visit escapes me now - but I felt the occasion was a perfect opportunity to tell the poor guy the real story - that he wasn't rejected - in fact he had been TOO appealing, and impossibly intimidating. I was a band geek.  I certainly wasn't cool or popular. He was the popular guy everyone liked. It was a good thing, that talk. We had a good laugh and happily went our separate ways. I think that's the last time I saw him. 

Earlier this year, in anticipation of the reunion, I started  to dig on the internet for a few those people I once knew. Many were found, but Andy eluded me. Then, a few days ago I saw  a someone with his last name on the list of my high school's Facebook page. Thinking that it must be his sister (whose name I couldn't recall) I sent the note; 

Hi! 

If you're Andy's sister, please tell him I'd love to hear from him. We dated briefly at T------ . 

Thanks 

C 

I promptly received the reply; 

 

No, this is his wife. P--- , I know that you did not date in High School, he wanted your mustang. You look like you are as much of a freak now as you were in High School. 

 

 Huh? OH! Ow! Ok, my bad. It finally clicked with me that Andy had married the girl he started seeing shortly after our little kissing mishap. Another of our classmates. Still..... rorrw, hisss! Put your claws back in, girl! That response was beyond uncalled for. 

I have to say I had to re-read the message a couple of times before I did admit to myself, "yes, duh, she IS insulting you". I just couldn't wrap my mind around the idea that someone our age would reply in such a way....and then I had a good laugh at myself for not "getting" it on the first read.

I suppose that I  just couldn't imagine that those words could truly be an adult response, but there it was, in black and white and looking exactly like the high school Hell I left behind - that spiteful arsenal of words the kids would use to elevate themselves  - and to hurt and humiliate their target.   In those dismal days I was often the target, and a big day-glo target at that. Being awkward and socially inept in high school is somewhat akin to being the weakest animal in a herd on the Serengeti  -  the one that the predators single out for the kill. 

But that was long ago, and such words no longer move me in any emotional way, except to resonate a faint sadness that such words should be used at all. I considered a reply, (hoping to smooth her seemingly frayed nerves) and finally decided on; 

 

Hi P---, 

Urm,that's a rather harsh reply. Why the nastiness? 

Sorry about the misunderstanding - I seem to remember that Andy had a sister but couldn't recall her name. I just wanted to say hi, that's all, no need to feel the need to be defensive. 

I'd also send a hello to his father if he's still living. Mr Stallard was always very kind to me. 

Andy and I did have fun, and it is true, as I said - that we did date briefly. Lol, as I recall, once we went to Cassano's in Fairborn and he spilled his coke in his lap. However, I was very shy and he got the impression I wasn't interested. He was actually my first kiss - which I admittedly wasn't quite ready for. A few years later when I was going to Wright State and he had stopped by my place for a visit, we talked about my kiss stress-out and had a good laugh. Likely these are things you're not interested in hearing - but you say I wasn't telling the truth about dating Andy so I thought it important to set the record straight. 

My Mustang? Andy and I would drive to school together in the mornings with J---our senior year and occasionally we'd trade cars. His was a '68 Olds Rocket '88 as I recall. J--- was a fun nice guy too. 

Anyway, please relax. There are no intentions other than a friendly hello. I've exchanged emails with several other classmates as well since I'll be in Dayton for the reunion later this month. 

Cheers & best wishes to you and your family, 

Cherie 

 The cars. Sigh. I wish I still had that '68 mustang, a magnificently glorious street legal racing machine that was purchased in '68 by my mom.  By lucky happenstance it was the extra car that fell to me my senior year. I do remember quite clearly one of those days that Andy and I exchanged cars. I drove his Olds Rocket 88 to my favorite "private" drag strip - a deserted stretch of unfinished expressway that was soon to become a bypass around the larger town nearby. It was night. No one else was anywhere around -  just me, the road, and the Olds. Flooring it, I sped off into the night air, feeling the pulse of the pistons and the race and the roar of the engine. Behind the wheel I was the queen of confidence.  But, sorry... Andy, yes it was fun - but nothing could possibly measure up to what was under the hood of that old 'stang. Which is one of the reasons why, on that night, you were out driving my car. 

Hah! Perhaps you were after my car .......!?  But that's not likely, I think, since it was me that you kissed, not my car.......

 

 I honestly don't expect to hear back from P----, which is a sad thing, and it's a damn shame that after all these years I'll miss the the chance to catch up with old Andy-from-Ohio.  

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I raise a glass to the travesty of teenage angst! Off to the feed with you, Facebook fluff!

...........Ok now I can get back to my WWII Dad series. Part 2 is (finally) almost done. Really.
Crazy how some people never change. You must have been a real threat and apparently, you still are! Good for you! Although it is pathetic you can't simply say "Hello!" After all, you are going to see him at the reunion, right? What the heck will that woman do then? You have to wear something VERY sexy now!
Wow! Someone peaked in their senior year and has been bitter ever since!
What an over-the-top response! You must make her feel very insecure.
I toast your teenage angst . . . and MAWB has it right. Knock 'em dead!
Well sadly, I won't have the chance to see Andy at the high reunion since he graduated the year after I did. So did his now-wife, which I suppose I should be grateful for if she's going to toe that line.....

I have to wonder , though , what Andy told her. He may have not mentioned our brief dating spree in order to avoid any possible unpleasantness.....!
I attended my 20th hs reunion this past year. The people who act like that are in EVERY high school across the land. It is like they stay forever stunted in time. There is also that same gaggle of mean girls who talk to no one else but themselves -Still! I was once one of them and let me tell you, BORING, juvenile and catty in their itty bitty world that is completely contained within a 15 mile radius.

I haven't look back except to catch looking at me out of corner of their eyes that night and have had to remind myself of a saying that Wayne Dyer the self-help guru once said as a reminder to ourselves: "What you think about me is none of my business."

Sometimes easier said than done, but liberating nonetheless. So go to that reunion and let us know how it goes. We will be cheering you on! :)
Ouch. Someone's insecurities certainly rose to the top. Perhaps ol' Andy spoke fondly of you - the one that got away?
I wouldn't have been as nice as you were! All I can think of is "WTF"? I went back for my 30th, having left for good (but with annul trips home for family and a few friends, but none from my class.) It was very strange. Good luck!
HE was my bestest buddy from freshman orientation throughout 4 years of HS and 2 years beyond...endless phone hours of my being his "Anne Landers" to his equivalent "Dr.Phil," for our loves and losses and heartache and joys.
I sang at his wedding. He celebrated at mine. 42 years later, his wife of 39 years still keeps an eagle-eye on the two of us at class reunions. Astounding, since that is the only contact we've had in all those intervening years.
And...I was supposedly one of the HS, "In Crowd "... Always felt like an outsider, somehow.
You've brought up the past so vividly and made me so grateful for the present and the years that brought me to maturity and gratitude for the wisdom that comes of age. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, artsfish. May it ease each of us to a more serene future.
--rated--
That was uncalled for! Great reply on your part.
Sometimes it looks like a rock and it's really just a turd. Oh well. Way to clean off the boots and head on down the road.

I bet Andy turns up in Dayton.
Oh God, is it true? Our classmates from 1978 haven't changed? I found a few in the last few years. One is famous, one stopped emailing me back immediately (?!), one is being my friend again after 30 years via email, one is a harried teacher and mother of three and still lives in our old town. Very weird.
That woman's response to you was pure ignorant meanness.
What an insecure pathetic woman. Imagine getting venomous over such an innocent email. Forget seeing Andy, I want you to have a face-to-face with P.
It's amazing how easily some people slip back into high school mode, and how some people seem never to have left it. What a totally teenage response you got to your first email - I can see it coming from any number of the mean girls in my class of 1980. Go to that reunion looking your gorgeous self and don't look back!
I hope he shows up and that you are dressed like a vixen that has the men slobbering over. Note to self: NEVER send an e-mail on Facebook to someone other than the intended recipient. I don't do hate mail. Great post, Cherie! I have missed you!
It really does amaze me how some people never seem to get over the first 18 years of their life, even when more than 18 years have passed since then.
Loved your reply to her ugliness. Unfortunately, for some, high school never goes away. The insecurity stays. Sad. I too am faced with my high school reunion this month. The last one I went to was twenty years ago. I do remember that all of the "cool" clique sat together, leaving the outcasts and freaks to the other tables. The interesting thing was that, in general, the outcasts and freaks were some of the most highly successful people in the room, with a couple of millionaires or so and a trophy wife to boot. (Not that I condone for trophy wives or husbands.) Somehow, no matter how things change, they still stay the same. Good story! I would like to hear how the reunion goes.
It sounds to me as if your past 30 years have been better than hers. Perfect response.
OOh I just woke up (yep, we're late risers in the artsfish house) and I love each and every one of your very thoughtful and captivating comments. I'll be back later with a more considered response to all.
findyourinnerrockstar - I did go to my 20th and it was a rather surreal experience. Everyone was, of course, older and many were a few pounds north of shocking - but for most of those that never left the hometown, I was left with the bizarre impression that they were same old kids living in someone else's body.

Julie - perhaps! Our brief encounter ended with him feeling dumped, and it was completely my fault. I doubt he would have spoken badly of me, I don't remember ever hearing him speak badly of anyone.

Kellylark - ha! WTF exactly

JK - its funny the impression we have of ourselves, or lack thereof. I"m so completely comfortable now in my own skin - THAT is something I hope to pass along to my little ones. Unfortunately my own mom was lacking in any positive influence in that area...

Mothership - It's interesting you talk of this. My best friend was a guy as well. We were GREAT friends, often inseparable - but to have had any kind of romantic relationship would have felt incestuous! I was luck that his high school gf was also a good friend - and confident to know her own worth. Unfortunately I lost touch with him and have been so far unsuccessful finding him. I would LOVE to get in touch with him, but I would have to wonder how his wife might respond.

Thanks, benjamin

Lonnie - your comment is wonderfully irreverent and completely on target. It will be fun to see who turns up in Dayton. The reunion is being held in a biker bar. How cool is that? The 20th was in a rented event hall. Uck.

Deborah - ignorant meanness is always there waiting to poke its ugly head out. It's funny - just after I left Dayton for DC, I was standing overlooking the dance floor in Tracks (a huge nightclub that used to be in SE DC) when some random person approached me. We had some brief interchange that involved where I was from and then this person declared; "well, your looks may have made you a big fish in your little pond where you come from, but here you're nobody" I wasn't particularly hurt, but again - WTF?

Athena - yep, I thought the email was pretty innocent as well.

mamoore - I do hope it was a momentary slip. I would hate to think of Andy living with that these past 30 years!

cartouche - Patricia, I've missed you too! Smooch! I opened a can of Facebook worms, methinks! I've actually found the experience rather validating in an boy-amI-glad-Igot-the-hell-out-of-Ohio kinda way.

Liz - succinct! You summed up the perils of clinging to teen angst in one simple observation.

C Berg - the one reunion I went too, I was amaze by how much - and how many people - I had completely forgotten. I had even forgotten that I had won the competition for the design of our senior yearbook cover - a fact that I was reminded of by the person whose design didn't win.

Julie - astute as usual. The past 30 have been a wonderful, wild and unforgettable ride.
Artsfish: My guess is Andy has been telling P. for thirty years how cool you are. Thus unaware, you are now the target of her frustration. He may still love your Mustang, too! I thought your reply letter was very thoughtful; P. is composing a response...over and over, but it will never come. Rated
Ralph, thanks.

It just struck me that the Mustang is a perfect metaphor for my life after high school - pedal to the metal and full speed ahead! (Let's hope that I don't eventually rust out the way that old 'stang did........)
Thanks for this great story. It resurfaced many memories and gave me reason to have a good laugh. Dyer's dictum is correct. The corollary is you never can tell where another person's head is at. Another lesson in not taking stuff personally. Thanks for sharing these truths, I could relate.
I did go. it was fun and uneventful. Andy's brother was there- but he was the perfect embodiment of Switzerland - which I totally understand.

Thanks for reading! You as well, espritgui.