I really loved being in high school during the 1970′s. It was a great time. I went to Brooke High School in Wellsburg, West Virginia. The school had a large population for our area, so the school was divided into four smaller schools under one roof. They were called centers. I was in center 4.
There were many clubs and activities one could join at Brooke High School. Some of them included Future Teachers of America, Student Council, Ski Club, Chemistry Club and Spanish Club just to name a few. I tried to be active and joined a lot of clubs, but none were as fun as the Drama Club. And it was when I was in the Drama Club that I decided to try out for a play.
To tell you the truth, I can’t remember what the hell part I tried out for. The play, Up the Down Staircase, was made from a best-selling book about an inner city high school English teacher.
I just remember that it was a large cast. I did play one of the high school students, but that is all I can remember about the part. And I don’t remember the cast party that was held after the play ran its course, because, um, someone spiked the punch.
I was a sophmore in high school at the time of my very first night of punch drinking. The cast party was held at the home of one of the girls who was in the play. Glenda also happened to be a relative of some sort. She was a senior at Brooke High and was two years older than me. When doing some genealogy work this past year, I was finally able to see how one of the branches in our family tree swung over to her family. I guess we were cousins, after all. I don’t remember ever talking to her.
Since I was only fifteen at the time, I wasn’t a driver. And to tell you the truth, I have no idea who dropped me off at the party or if our parents did the drop off and pick up routine. All I know for sure is that I don’t know much about that evening. I got there, I drank a bunch of glasses of the best punch in the whole world, and the next thing you know I’m at home, unloading the dishwasher while my head is pounding.
I guess I was having so much fun that I told my friend I came with that I had another ride home and that I was going to stay a bit later. That part was true, I guess. I was having fun. I have no idea if I had another ride home or not.
The only visual that I can remember is a large punch bowl sitting on what appeared to be a pool table that was covered with a huge table cloth or sheet. The punch had floating ice in it and it was a pinkish color. There was food on plates on the pool table, and that’s where we all hung out. The food was delicious, and director of the play was happy because everyone who attended the play was giving great compliments. Well, they had to, most of the people who attended the play were our parents and grandparents. Bravo.
Well, I was eating and drinking and having a good old time. I didn’t know that someone had spiked the punch. I was lucky if I only weighed 90 pounds at the time, so I didn’t have much meat on my bones. So, I imagine just one glass of the stuff would have knocked me down. I was told that I had at least three, because I kept telling people how great it tasted. Oh, there had to be a sinsiter high school boy who was snickering right about now.
Now, I have to admit that it is a bit strange to write about something that you don’t remember. That would make for a very short story. But, my mom was able to fill in most of the hazy memories of that night. And she reminded me of it for days, weeks, and months after wards. I guess I was the life of the party.
I still don’t remember who drove me home that night, but my mom was standing at the door with her hands on her hips. I vaguely remember that, but I have no idea who drove me home, other than it was a car load full of people. A guy and his girlfriend were in the front seat, and I am pretty sure I kissed a guy that I was sitting in the backseat with right before I got out of the car. I don’t know for sure. I was a tramp. Or I was going to be a tramp. My mom used that word a lot after that night.
I have to depend on my mom about the rest of the night. I guess I gave her a big hug when I finally made it to the top of the outside steps that led to the front door. The kids in the car couldn’t get away fast enough. I guess my mom was furious, but I was too happy to notice that. My mom said that I kept hugging her and telling her what a great time I had and how they had the BEST dog in the world. My mom said it was useless to reprimand me that night because I was, as she repeated over and over and over again, “Two sheets to the wind.” I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. I had a feeling that my mom was drunk that night, because what the hell did a couple of sheets in the wind have anything to do with the fabulous cast party?
Ok, so no, she wasn’t drinking. I guess I was the one who had been drinking. I wish someone would have told me that. My mom said that I could not quit laughing and I was talking a mile a minute, ALL about what a great job I did in the play, sitting there in the “classroom,” remembering my lines and delivering them loud and clear. I was a great actress. She said that I was messing with my little sister, who I shared a room with. My parents were in the process of remodeling the basement and adding a bedroom down there for me. I guess this was one of the last nights that I would be spending with her and I just had to tell her what a fantastic sister she has been to me.
I guess my mom was so pissed at me that she just guided me to my room and that was about all. She said that I took down the covers on my bed, and plopped myself in my bed to go to sleep. I guess I then remembered that I was still wearing my clothes. I guess one shouldn’t go to sleep in their jeans and flip flops. I was still talking and laughing when the first flip flop came flying at my mom. I was still having so much fun. The other flip flop hit her in the leg. I guess I thought that was the funniest thing in the world. The last thing my mom saw before she said, “Good-night, Vickie,” and turned off my lights, was me taking off my jeans and swinging them in the air. When she checked on me ten minutes later, she said I had one foot on the floor and was out cold.
I DO remember my mom coming into my room the next morning at 7:30.
“Vickie, get up. I need you to take the dishes out of the dishwasher.” I opened my eyes, but that’s all I could do. My head was pounding. Wow, I must have the flu or something. I sat up slowly, and my mom was just standing at the doorway, staring at me. What? Why was she staring at me? I was getting up. I looked down and there was a pair of jeans lying on my chest. I was wearing a top and not pajamas.
“Vickie, did you have any idea that the punch you were drinking was spiked with booze last night?” My mom looked at me and told me that if I did that again I would end up being a ”lady of ill repute.” What? First of all, mom, I have a freaking headache the size of a….large guinea pig. That’s what I told her. A guinea pig. Ok. Second of all, I had no idea what she was talking about. She told me to get up and unload the newly fixed dishwasher.
I got up and tried to put the jeans on that were lying on my bed. “Don’t put those back on Vickie. I think you vomited on them.” What? I didn’t vomit. I went to a cast party and came home and went to bed. And all of a sudden I was being called a lady of ill repute and a vomiter. The rest of the weekend was just going to suck.
Well, I finally got to my bedroom door, tripped over some flip flops that my sister was stupid enough to leave in the hallway, and made it to the kitchen. My dad was sitting at the kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee, wearing a huge smile. ” Good morning, Drunky.” He burst out laughing. What?
I guess my mom didn’t really want me to get up that early to unload the dishwasher. She wanted to put me under the light and question me like the police do on those police shows. I was so confused. My brain was not wanting to work. She hounded me and asked me a million questions:
”Who brought the booze for the punch?” What booze?
”Who drove you home and who did you kiss in the backseat?” What? I kissed someone?
“What are their phone numbers?” Who? I don’t know who drove me home. Wait. I kissed someone?
The questions did not stop. My mom had called my cousin’s mother who hosted the cast party and she repeatedly told my mother that she and her husband and a few other adults chaperoned the cast party and she had no idea that the punch was spiked. She said no one was drunk. No one. My mom didn’t believe her.
“….and she said no one was drunk or acting drunk. But when you got home, Vickie, you kissed whoever you were sitting with in the back seat as you got out of the car and you were swinging your jeans. You were as drunk as a skunk.” God, settle down, Mom. Besides, when have you EVER seen a skunk that was drunk. I mean, really. Who is the drunk one here?
Well, my mom finally was able to recreate the whole evening because I think she talked to everyone who was there. Everyone. I was grounded until I was thirty. Or until I went to her the next night.
“Mom, I didn’t get drunk on purpose. Someone spiked the punch and I found out from Cindy that I was with her most of the night and I only had two glasses of punch.” My mom ungrounded me.
I can’t look at a punch bowl without thinking it should only be for a spiked beverage. That cast party was a great time.
Or so I have been told.
photo via LIFE