The Seniors’ Door
Back when I was in high school – which was either just yesterday or fifty years ago, I forget which – there was a tradition associated with a door.
The Seniors’ Door.
The high school was a low, 2-story sprawling structure. I don’t think it was all built at the same time. It looked to me like every time the city (Bristol, Connecticut) grew a bit, a new quadrangle was added. Certainly the classroom numbering was fairly odd – like someone made up numbers as necessary. It reminded me of adding a new exit on the highway, and instead of renumbering the whole slew, they just added some As and Bs… Exit 25A, Classroom 213D.
So it was a big school that never seemed crowded because of the long wide insane squares of hallways. But it was pretty big for a rather small city – there were 450 kids in my graduating class alone- and another couple of hundred at the crosstown rival school.
But back to the door.
A rambling structure like that – holding two thousand kids and maybe 100 teachers and staff – had a gazillion doors. Fire drills were chaos, but everyone got out fast. (Getting everyone back in was a different issue.)
But there was one door – facing the main parking lot – that was reserved.
Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors used mainly the other front-facing door. This lowly door (in status only; it was huge) was just a couple of dozen feet away from the Seniors’ door. But there was no honor in that door.
I think about it now.
How crazy and useless the separation of those doors was. And who in the world decided to give such designation to doors?
But when my time came, how I loved the Seniors’ Door. Even if a different door was more convenient, I would walk to the Seniors’ Door. Opening that door conferred my specialness. Well, mine and my 449 classmates. It was as if that door opened into the world of adulthood. And we Seniors were ready.
But I remember a day – a year before, when I was still a Junior. I was working on a project (I can’t for the life of me remember what it was. I hardly ever volunteered for anything) with two other girls who were seniors. And we were leaving to go to one of the girls’ homes to finish up, and they were heading out the Seniors’ Door.
I made a dead stop.
“What?” they asked.
“I can’t go out that door!” I said. “I will go around and meet you in the parking lot.”
“Are you kidding?” said the girl whose home were were going to. A girl who – in our very ordinary, very middle class community was considered ‘privileged’. I think her father had a print shop.
“It’s the Seniors’ Door!” I explained.
“It’s a DOOR!” she said.
And held it open for me and I held my breath and walked through.
Holy shit. I went through a door I was not allowed to go through.
And the world did not come to an end.
I did not get arrested. I did not even get detention. I did not even get noticed.
And it felt AWESOME.
I would recommend that we all go through all the forbidden doors more often.
Not the ones with the alarms though.
The ones with rules. The ones with stigmas. The ones that only allow certain people to go through.
Push the damn door open and run like hell – right through.
- Posted in: Advice ♦ Aging ♦ Humor ♦ Memories
- Tagged: breaking rules, Bristol Connecticut, High school
I love how you take ordinary (although HUGE at the time) events from your past and weave them into parables for life. You are right, we all need to push through more of those doors (even some that have alarms on them).
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I’m not at all brave, but maybe an alarm or two might be a good thing!
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Great analogy. And we should go through those imposing doors.
At this point in our lives…. why not?
No special door at my school but when I was high school there was a certain area that was for seniors only I think it was their study area but if there were no seniors there many other students would cut through the area
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I think we had a courtyard too…. I seem to remember that. Seniors had a lot of privileges. And now that I am a senior citizen, I wonder where my privileges are.
I can relate to the Senior door. Only our door led to the coveted Senior lounge. That boasted TV with cable, a pool table, a few microwaves, and the ONLY soda machines in the school without any type of diet soda. (On a few occasions we even had pizza delivered to the outside door…) To make it even more tempting, the lounge itself had huge glass doors on one side that looked out onto the hallway. The stares of eager underclassmen as they walked by, anxious to be able to go in.
However if you weren’t a Senior. Or dating a Senior. You were unanimously kicked out.
Well my graduating class was all a bit of hard asses, and despite our many cliques we stuck together in amazing unity. We decided that we would prank the current Seniors, our Junior year. For some reason they were our biggest “rivals”. After school one day, during homecoming/spirit week no less, we decided to put up signs throughout the entire lounge and even the windows facing out acknowledging how much better we were. We were surprised they left us the lounge upon graduation at all after that.
Sadly it seems since then, class rivalry is no longer an issue and everyone just comes and goes…. no more special privilege
I want privileges for seniors – senior citizens, that is.
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And I want privileges for seniors – those folk who are struggling to get through their days.
Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.
Great story to help make your point. 🙂
And I thought you were going to write about old people. Are you kidding me? I jest! Sure, open the damn door and walk in or out as long as it is not bolted. And if you are a woman just make sure it does not say “Men.”
Yes, an excellent parable here. Nicely written post that I enjoyed.
In contrast to your 450 graduating seniors, my graduating class had, I think 18 students. It was what one would call a country school since most of the students lived in the country and rode the bus to a school that was located in a town of about 400, give or take a few.
Wow. Growing up in London our whole school had only 450 girls. Yes, girls only. No Senior Door but an oak staircase to be used by only staff and prefects. Can you imagine the joy on the day they made me a prefect? But really, looking back, what nonsense. Also, I remember the many times we dared each other to use the “Staircase” and risked being caught and getting a detention. such very innocent days and yes, I choose not to remember just how long ago it all was.
You will appreciate this: my former Zumba teacher was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister last Friday. One of her requests for the ordination was that her Zumba students–as many as were willing and able–“dance” her down the aisle after the clergy VIPs processed. I live two hours away now, and had a great deal of trepidation about doing it. I told her only for her would this 72-year-old dance in front of a crowd. I drove the two hours, danced (along with a dozen or so others) and it was a total blast! No shame, no embarrassment, everyone clapping along. Dance through those doors!
Oh that is amazing, wonderful, fantastic! You made my day!