First of all, you must know that it wasn't JUST that it was Homecoming. Or our senior year in high school. It was that my BFF Jason was student body president and I was treasurer, and we pretty much put the whole homecoming show on by ourselves. Not that no one else would help......we were just control freaks. Jason was a perfectionist on top of it all, and he was convinced that no one else could do anything as well as he could. In most cases he was right.
I didn't have my own car yet, and it was one of those rare occasions when Mom let me take hers to school. I was under strict orders NOT to drive it to the huge metropolis of.......Athens, Georgia. I could drive it to school and home, but not to Athens. But Jason and I had to pick up decorations. In Athens. And he didn't have his car that day either. So naturally we drove to Athens to pick up the decorations and whatever else we needed to pull off a Homecoming event.
Naturally the car picked that day to blow a hose. Or a gasket. Or something. Whatever. It ran hot, we had to call to have someone pick us up, yada, yada, yada.
I don't remember if this was one of those occasions when Mom "beat me half to death" or not. (I never could figure out that expression......why just half? But it was one of Mom's favorites.) I am certain, however, that she cursed and screamed and then declared that I could not go to Homecoming.
In her defense, let me interject here that Mom had a lot on her plate at this time. My stepfather was dying of cancer, and they had only been married four years. As it turned out, he would die the next week on their fourth anniversary. Life pretty much sucked for her then.
Not only had I been instrumental in putting together the Homecoming activities, I also marched in the band as a member of the drill team. It was a small drill team -- I was 10% of it. And it was our last home game. Of our senior year. And I couldn't go.
So I was slightly upset when I called Jason to tell him I couldn't go to the game, couldn't march, couldn't go to the dance, nothing. No......upset does not do it justice. I was hysterical. Life as I knew it had come to an end. Jason could barely understand what I was saying. In fact, he grossly MISUNDERSTOOD.
Brave soul that he was, and being almost a member of the family, Jason took the desperate measure of coming over to my house to plead with my mother. You don't understand what nerve that took. NO ONE pleaded with my mother. My friends avoided SPEAKING to her if they could. There is a judge in our hometown who is still TO THIS DAY terrified of our mother, and he's now in his 50's. All because of an incident involving Katydid when SHE was in high school. You'll have to ask her about that one.
So here's Jason pleading and me squalling (squawling?) and Mom dealing with a dying husband and my grandmother sitting on the couch pretty much clueless about anything that was going on. And that was BEFORE she had Alzheimer's.
In pretty much a miraculous occurrence, Jason convinces Mom to let me go to Homecoming. But by this time I have been crying for HOURS, my eyes are swollen SHUT, and I don't have time to make myself presentable to perform in front of the tens of people who would be at the game. All right, maybe hundreds. I refuse to go and head off down the hallway to my bedroom. Jason is now pleading with ME, at which point I say, "Look at me!" Meaning that I look so bad that I can't possibly be seen in public.
Let me back up just a tad. Remember when I called Jason and I was hysterical? See, he thought only one thing could have made me that upset. Nothing so trivial as not being allowed to go to Homecoming. He thought my stepfather had died. So before he came to my house he went by the school and told everyone there that Daddy had died. Wait, this gets even worse.
Jason gets to my house, and I'm crying, but I'm the only one. Mom is washing dishes, Grandmother is sitting on the sofa watching television, and no one else is there, not my sisters or my brother or any of my stepbrothers. When Jason follows me down the hall toward my room to try to talk me into going to Homecoming, and I say, "Look at me!" he thinks I said, "Look at him!" At which point he looks into my parents' bedroom and sees my stepfather lying there...............asleep.
In Jason's mind, my stepfather has died, we have left him in the bedroom, and NO ONE HAS BEEN CALLED. Grandmother is watching television, Mom is washing dishes, I'm crying, and the whole damn family has lost its collective mind.
Poor Jason. He had a lot of explaining to do that night. He had to go back to school and tell them that no, my stepfather had not really died, and try to explain why he thought he had. The story became funnier through the years every time we told it. I can still see the look on Jason's face when I said, "Look at me!" and he thought he was looking at a corpse in the bedroom.
But I still didn't get to go to Homecoming.