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A TIme When It All Went Wrong by Colin Kelly

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I empathize with Tony because I got yanked out of my high school at the beginning of 11th grade to spend a year at a different high school on the other side of the country, and then yanked back at the beginning of 12th grade to return to my earlier school. It was weird because during 11th grade I knew I would be going back, and so couldn't really put down roots there, but when I got back to my original school in 12th grade the world had kind of passed me by and I felt somewhat like an outsider.

Many years later my mother read a comment I had made about this, and she apologized for the wrenching transitions.

I actually thought about doing something like Tony is planning in order to stay in my original stomping ground, but it was not to be.

R

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I purposefully transitioned from a Catholic school (at the end of 5th grade) to public middle school (the start of 6th grade). I didn't have any problems, probably because it had been my decision, and because every kid starting 6th grade was a newbie. Granted, I knew very few kids when I started at Walnut Creek Intermediate, but they were friendly and that made the transition easy.

What Tony faces at the end of the semester moving from Wilson High School to Davis Senior High School is DSHS ends the first semester on December 19 and starts the second semester on January 6; Wilson end the first semester on January 23 and starts the second semester on January 27. Wilson has finals week from January 20 thru 23. So Tony has to complete his first semester at Wilson, then arrives at Davis three weeks late (January 26 instead of January 6) and has to catch up. The part that he definitely doesn't like is he's in the 9th grade at Wilson High School, and is a high school freshman. At Davis he'll go to the 9th grade in junior high school, and he won't be a high school student (again) until 10th grade the following school year.

Don't you just love what I'm doing to poor Tony? He's learning that life sucks when you're young!

Colin :icon_geek:

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There are solutions to this being as bad as it is. Tony's parents have to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. I don't have any expectation that that will be the case. So many parents are like that, more into their own lives than what they're doing to their children's.

High school is a traumatic time for many, perhaps most teens. Their parents can be a tremendous source of support, or just another of the sets of shoals that need to be successfully navigated.

C

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I feel especially sorry for the military kids that end up moving around every few years. It's no doubt compounded by the fact that their friends in school and on base housing are also moving all the time, so even if they stay in one place for a while their friends are passing in and out all the time.

R

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What's interesting is that this information is accurate. While I've changed the name of Tony's high school to Wilson High, it's based on a real high school, Las Lomas High in Walnut Creek, California. And Davis Senior High is the real high school in Davis, California. The semester calendars are current and exactly as I've described them. Wilson High (Las Lomas) is a four-year high school. Davis Senior High is a three-year high school with 9th grade kids going to one of the three junior high schools that have 7th thru 9th grades.

As I was sitting at the keyboard working on this chapter, it made my fingertips tingle just thinking about how I could stick some young innocent (a.k.a. Tony McKinley) in this mess and see how he gets out of it.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Thanks for posting another chapter.

I had never heard of a pantoum. I thought the one Tony wrote in the story was quite clever, actually.

Cheers,

R

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Thanks for posting another chapter.

I had never heard of a pantoum. I thought the one Tony wrote in the story was quite clever, actually.

Cheers,

R

Tony sends his thanks. But he still says, "I’m so not a poet!"

Based on my experience with the poetry part of my creative writing class in high school, I can understand his point of view.

Colin :icon_geek:

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I feel especially sorry for the military kids that end up moving around every few years.

BRAT == Born Raised And Transferred.

I have talked to a lot of them over the years. I was so young I don't remember much.

The military tried to put people in duty stations for at least six months but depending on MOS and where they needed you, it could be 90 days.

It's rough on those kids. I dated one in college. The #1 thing he was looking for was stability. Unfortunately I wasn't that at the time.

They get really bummed out because to them, nothing seems to last.

Think I'll throw it in the hat of interesting things to write about at some point.

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Vote for Todd and Tony: They're smart, they're fast and they're good looking.

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Vote for Todd and Tony: They're smart, they're fast and they're good looking.

Poor Tony. I can empathize with the way he felt on that tour.

R

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Don't you just love what I'm doing to poor Tony? He's learning that life sucks when you're young!

Note that I like happy endings. So most of my stories have happy endings. But only most.

Colin :icon_geek:

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OK.

Spoiler alert. Don't click on "Show" unless you don't care.

Let's just say that if I was Tony I would be really pissed at my parents. Where are they? Did they get abducted by aliens? Maybe they're busy looking after his brothers and sisters. Oh wait, he doesn't have any brothers and sisters. He is their only child. He has just started high school. He has joined the freshman football team after an incredible amount of hanky-twisting about whether he will be turned into a vegetable due to brain damage when he starts playing. And Friday is his first game. Not only did he survive, but he played very well and was written up in the local newspaper's sports section.

So, OK, his dad can't figure out any way whatsoever to schedule his training of a successor to allow him to attend the game. And his mom, who earlier in the story is normally at home in the afternoon to greet him when he comes home from school, can't get away this Friday to see her son play. (I seem dimly to remember a comment that she was going to take some time off right then because of the visit of Uncle Phil and Aunt Betty from San Diego. I wouldn't swear to this.)

Regrettably, it seems, all telephone service in the local area must have catastrophically failed, because neither parent can even take a moment to call Tony and find out how he did in his game. Not on Friday. Not the entire day Saturday. Indeed, there is no call until Sunday afternoon, and then the subject is them dragging him off to Davis to look at a house. Still no mention of his football game.

Uncle Phil -- who is apparently staying at Tony's house -- brought his video equipment with him to record Tony's game. He shows the video footage on Saturday. Where are Tony's parents? They're still working at their local jobs (dad at the community college, mom at the local hospital). Did they suddenly move out of their house? Have they already taken up residence in Davis, requiring each one to make a very long commute each day? That would be crazy.

So where are they?

Are they pissed off at Tony for his bad reaction to the sudden announcement of a move? That certainly would be totally inconsistent with their acknowledgment to him that they had mishandled the issue, and wanted to make it up to him. Or are they too guilty to even talk to him? That doesn't seem plausible, because they have no hesitation to grab him on Sunday for a trip to Davis.

So where did they disappear to? How come they suddenly have tuned themselves out of Tony's life? Keep in mind that this entire story is a flashback from the first few paragraphs of chapter 1, where Tony is found by him mom crying in his bedroom three months after the beginning of the school year. Since roughly two weeks have elapsed in the story since the beginning of the school year (if my sense of the story time is correct), that means his mom is still around 2-1/2 months after the start of the school year to find him crying in his bedroom. And unless something truly major has happened in the interim, Tony is still at Wilson High School three months into the semester, staying with Aunt Nora and Uncle Dennis per the agreement worked out when the move to Davis was announced. Or did that whole arrangement fall apart by the three-month mark?

Inquiring minds want to know.

R

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Sadly, it wouldn't work. "Rama" isn't a DOS game, it's Windows 95. It won't run on a 64-bit PC; 32-bit only. I even tried an emulator that claimed to let old Win95 games run in compatibility mode on a 64-bit PC / 64-bit Windows. Didn't work.

Colin :icon_geek:

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I still find myself bewildered by the massive change in the dynamic between Tony and his parents, especially his mother. I can't imagine how they could have pushed him so far out of their lives.

R

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I have also been struck by how estranged Tony has become from his parents. I fault both sides of the relationship: the parents, who have always apparently been caught up in their work, and now in their resettlement undertaking, who gave Tony license to drift apart when they agreed for him to move out and live elsewhere; but equally Tony, who has fallen victim not only to his own angst but also has been captured within that world teens so easily can build around themselves where almost every moment awake is spent with their peers and within their own concerns. By abdicating as a family member Tony has in effect emancipated himself and is so seldom exposed to the concerns of his true family that they have disappeared from his horizon of awareness. I think 'a good teen goes adrift' is the true focus of Colin's story, and I find it fascinating.

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