Kate is packing to go on an overnight choir trip. This created some raised eyebrows from her father and some questions about chaperones. "Oh, stop that, Dave," I scolded. "Not every boy these days is like you were in high school." Kate's boyfriend will also be going on this choir trip and I am convinced this fine young man is a perfect gentleman. I can't say the same for my testosterone charged, still-acts-like-an-adolescent hubby whose younger days were like a slightly more hillbilly version of Summer of '42, I'm sure.
I started thinking about my own high school days. The first experience that springs to mind is a Lutheran church retreat for middle and high schoolers in which (1) the pastor's son smoked an entire box of cigars while rowing a boat, lost an oar and became violently ill as the boat made small circles, and (2) a "snipe hunt" that involved a great deal of inappropriate groping in the bushes.
Just what was it about church-related activities and naughty teenage behavior?
I won't even go into what went on during a Young Life ski trip bus ride across three states. But these rites of passage weren't isolated to just my classmates. My friend Carol went pale at the mere mention of the phrase "Young Life Ski Trip" and emphatically swore (with a sly smile, nonetheless) that her daughter would "NEVER be going on one of those," based on her own similar experiences.
Kate peered over my shoulder as I was typing this. She gave a disgusted laugh.
"Ewwww, Mom! That was the sleazy 70s!"
Were we really sleazier? I don't know. You can't change the past, but you can look back on it with a mix of nostalgia, wonderment and revulsion. I'm finding you're never too old to outgrow the classically useful phrases, "Ewww" and "Whatever."
And the universal threats to our own kids that they'd BETTER NOT be up to the things we used to do!