#38 – Guest Posting: Adventures in Beth-Friending, volume 1 (the early years)

OK, so it looks like we are full on into nostalgia mode!   Hot off the heels of my regaling you with tales of my life in westward movement, I now give you another guest post by Sarah!  And since I can’t resist putting my 2 cents in, my comments shall appear inside [square brackets], in italics

This post has nothing to do with books, but everything to do with Beth. It’s a record of some of my favourite Beth memories, tied to the years in which they occurred. Since I’ve known Beth for several decades, I’m going to break it up. In the later volume, Dave will likely chime in.

20 years ago: Sarah and Beth meet (at one of the week-long nerdfests for gifted kids in the HRCSB). They spend these weeks bonding over their mutual love of the Toronto Blue Jays.

1991: Beth and Sarah start grade 9. The only class they have together is gym. Needless to say, neither excels. Beth is *particularly* adept at jumping rope while Sarah sucks even more than Beth at basketball. [You may not have caught the sarcasm them with the “*particularly*… but man did I suck at jumping rope in grade 9.  I wasn’t uncoordinated in any other way, but was absolute shit at trying to jump rope.  I can do it now just fine, but then – well, let’s say that if you saw my trying to jump rope, you’d expect that you’d see me later in the cafeteria putting a fork into my eye.  Also, Sarah rocked at badminton!  Me – I could not serve to save my life.  Also: shuttlecock].

Early 1992: Still in 9th grade, Sarah and Beth become closer. Due to paternal illness, the two are forced to attend a Jays game with Grandpa Snow and cousin Andy (rather than Ray and Maria). Both learn that rhythm should be spelled “b*l*a*c*k”. [LOL!] Another highlight – while swimming in Sarah’s just-shocked pool, Beth’s brand new black swimsuit fades to chocolate brown.

Late 1992: In the months before 10th grade, Sarah and Beth were led to believe that they’d have 7 classes and both lunches together over both semesters (since they were taking the exact same courses). In reality – they have NO classes and lunch first semester. Woot. Happily, Hilroy has manufactured enough notepaper to capture all the inconsequential stuff they wrote to each other on notes hastily scrawled during class time. [I’m *sure* I still have some of those kicking around. Must find.] At this time, Sarah is dating a rep hockey player (named Fabio [Seriously. His name was *Fabio*]; he has classes with Beth) and Beth is dating her first long-term boyfriend, Stupid, whose real name is actually too stupid to report [LOL!!  that is so true!]. Stupid is rather possessive, but he is happy enough to double date with Sarah and some of his random friends/his brother. Oh, to be 15 and stuck in the suburbs. So many trips to bowling alleys. And plotting ways to get to the Blue Jays World Series victory parade (spoiler: does not happen).

Early 1993: Sarah starts dating a guy named Paul, causing a huge rift between her and her then-best friend (with whom she subsequently mends fences). Beth is one of the few friends who actually listens to Sarah’s side of the story (aka reason), a fact Sarah appreciates more than Beth knows. Beth also gets her driver’s license and access to the Jeep. This means FREEDOM. In a limited sense, but still – no more relying on parents or jackass boyfriends! They also go to ball games (yeah, MacDonald season tickets).

Summer 1993: Beth and Sarah take their first trip together, to Kingston with Sarah’s Aunt Flo. They stay at Sarah’s Nonna’s place. They swim in Lake Ontario, get checked out by Queen’s students, and make assess of themselves in front of Sarah’s Uncle Sergio [It’s true!  We did!  We didn’t know he was in the house, as we’d gone, I believe, to the corner store, and he had come home and gone to bed while we were out, and we got home and were singing at the top of our freaking lungs. I believe we were singing songs from Joseph & the Technocolour Dreamcoat.  Until he yelled at us to STHU.  So. Embarassing!] . They spend hours amusing Rachel, Sarah’s one-year old cousin (daughter of Aunt Pat). It should be noted that this cousin is now 17 and got her G2 yesterday [For my BC readers, a G2 is the equivalent of the “N” license here.  I.e., Rachel is now old!].

Late 1993: Sarah and Beth have actual classes together during semester one. Three of four, plus lunch. Shockingly, they don’t get sick of each other at all. Plus, they audition for the school play (not the musical; Beth hates them though Sarah takes part) [For the record, I didn’t hate musicals – I just can’t sing to save my life!  I did make-up for the musicals and left the singing to the talented people, like Sarah!] and Beth gets the leading role while Sarah is in a comical supporting one. Beth breaks up with Stupid (hooray!); Sarah spends an inordinate amount of time mooning over idiots (that she dates. Bad scene). They spend hours overloading the Jeep with passengers, driving around Milton and Georgetown visiting Tim Hortons and other fast food establishments. They also spend weekends sleeping over at each other’s homes and endless hours on the phone. The life of the suburban teen in the 90s = glamourous. Once again, they do not skip class to go to the Jays’ victory parade. Skipping class to plan conferences and do other extracurriculars, however, is fair game and happens often.

Early 1994: The two have only one class together – 11th grade chemistry, along with Jen. The teacher is a jackass [SUCH a jackass!]; he tells Sarah that she is not smart enough to study this subject (!??!) [See what we mean about him being a jackass?  Did we mention: jackass?], while he disciplines Beth and Jen in lieu of punishing Sarah (he tells Beth that her ego is too fragile for punishment) [It’s true!  He actually said “Sarah’s ego is too fragile to handle being moved from one seat to another]. WTF? Sarah’s chemist Dad is not amused. Neither is Sarah; both she and Beth end up with 90s in the course and go on to study Science in Uni. Suck it, EKIM YLLEK. Science bitches always win the day. [Yay science bitches!]

Summer 1994: Sarah and Beth attend several concerts, including Depeche Mode (Dave is there) and the BNL (Dave is also there). Beth dates randoms, Sarah dates a nice guy who gets psycho later. In retrospect – why so much drama?

Late 1994: In twelfth grade, Sarah and Beth have two classes together – Chemistry and Algebra & Geometry; the latter SUCKS. They are once again in a play together [This time Sarah is the lead and Beth, at first, isn’t even cast at all. Over which she throws a bit of a hissy fit. Later the director comes with his tail between his legs to ask her to take a part when another actress drops out.  And she takes it and it’s great fun and at one point they even pile the *entire cast of the play* into her Jeep and drive all the way to freakin’ Toronto (as in on the 401!) to see a professional group perform the play they are do.  It was awesomeness.]. This semester, Beth starts dating the man who will one day become her ex-husband (TMwwodbhEX).

Early 1995: Things start to go downhill for B&S. They have one night school class together (OAC Geography; good god, did the teacher have BO [We used to joke that he loved the environment so much that he never showered. You know, to save water]). They spend less and less time together. They barely spend any time together. [Boo us!]

Summer 1995: Beth graduates early and prepares to head off to McMaster. Sarah breaks up with first long-term boyfriend; she calls Beth to let her know, but leaves a message with Jack [my dad]. Jack does not pass on this message, adding to their estrangement. Sarah begins dating Dave (round one).

Late 1995: Beth starts Mac while Sarah starts her last year of high school. Beth writes to Sarah, who callously ignores the letters. She’s classy like that. The two stop talking. [We sucked!  Teenagers are so lame!]

Early 1996: To his credit, TMwwodbhEX attempts to reconcile S&B. They talk, but it doesn’t really take. Sarah graduates and heads off to Guelph.

Late 1996: While reflecting on a Violent Femmes concert, Sarah decides to contact Beth (who loves the band). After exchanging guarded emails, the two hash it out and realize that they’ve been total idiots (well, Sarah does) [Beth does too!]. The two make plans to get together over the holidays with Dave and TMwwodbhEX. This meeting goes exceptionally well – the 4 spend 14 hours talking and having fun. This is a theme over the next few years.

1997: Beth gets hitched in a tiny ceremony. Sarah is not there [I’m sorry you weren’t there! I’m a total asshole for not having you there.  Although, with the way things turned out in the end, maybe you didn’t want to be there anyway! lol!], but she co-hosts a wedding shower for her later in the year [Yay! That was awesome!]. The two are attending different schools, but they chat often and see each other frequently.

1998: Sarah breaks up with Dave; Beth is one of the first to express regret and reiterate how much she likes Dave. The two continue to hang out when they can, Beth having moved back to Milton and commuting to Hamilton.

1999: Beth graduates Mac and starts a grad program at Guelph. While great in theory, in practice, she and Sarah have COMPLETELY opposite schedules and rarely see each other during the first semester. Boo! [That was soo disappointing! I really thought we would see each other *all the time* I did get to see your dad give an expert guest lecture in one of your classes though. That was cool].

2000: Sarah and Dave reconcile; Beth is thrilled. Beth and TMwwodbhEX confirm plans to move to Vancouver. Sarah and Beth start hanging out as much as is humanly possible. They both remark on the irony – they spent a year and a half not talking…what a waste! Sarah (and Dave) help Beth and TMwwodbhEX pack up and head to Vancouver [omg, you guys were *such* a godsend for that. TMwwodbmEX was being so… let’s say, difficult, during that move]; Sarah waits until the car ride back to start bawling. [Awww! I didn’t know I made you bawl!  I’m sorry!!] The two, however, stay in close contact despite the distance.

Whew! There’s round one. And Beth – it can be an aide-memoire for you if you need to orient yourself in time (as in – ‘what the heck was going on in1993?’) Ben always joked that he didn’t need a memory for high school/University – he had me. You do, too!

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