West Ladue, not-so-young love, political action & Me
Posted August 15, 2010on:
I think it’s pretty clear that I won’t be marrying any West Ladue Junior High School sweethearts.
I didn’t have any. However, at a couple high school reunions, this former boy turned man came up to me and told me he always wanted to ask me to dance at Camp Taum Salk and at West Ladue fortnightlies, as our dances were called. He was too scared to do so.
I am married, so it’s not an issue. But it came to mind when I saw and read a story about Karen Wilcox and Mike Wilson, who went together in junior high school, broke up before high school and married last Monday in their old junior high.
Wilcox, 60, and Wilson, 59, wed on 8/9/10 at 11:12 a.m. in the school courtyard. It occurred outside of the room at Southeast Junior High School in Iowa City, Iowa, where they had once danced. The music behind the two-minute wedding – the third for both of them – was Bobby Vinton’s “Blue Velvet.”
“Both of us wanted to have it in a place that meant something for both of us,” Wilcox was quoted as saying in an Iowa City Post-Citizen article. “Junior high’s important.”
Junior high important Really? If so, I missed it. It’s all fallen out of my ears, including where my homeroom was and who was in it.
Here’s what I remember from my junior high, grades 7 to 9. “East is least and West is Best.”
Of course my friend, Jean, might suggest that slogan is not true. The East referred to East Ladue Junior High, now Ladue Middle School – the only one in the Ladue School District.
It was also at West Ladue that a guidance counselor told me I would never be a brain surgeon, which was accurate but not the most inspiring words for a young person.
It also was where my brother Andy organized a food strike in the cafeteria. And because his memories are always much better than mine, I emailed him to get the details of what he called “certainly the highpoint of my political career and a moment of successful populist change in America.”
The strike was called because school officials in all their wisdom took salt and pepper off the table. It’s not clear why because before the emphasis on healthy eating in school cafeterias.
“I was, of course, outraged, righteously indignant (yeah, me, can you imagine?), and called to action,” Andy wrote me.
The next day only 13 meals were purchased at school; the rest of the nearly 400 students brought their lunches.
“An impromptu rally ended with me hoisted on the shoulders of a couple of guys. The people loved me,” Andy wrote. “Dad was waiting for me in the principal’s office. After the meeting, walking out to the car – I’d been suspended for three days – he told me he was proud of me.”
Upon Andy’s return from serving time for his crime at home, he was proud to find salt and pepper had returned to the lunch tables of West Ladue. “You’re welcome,” Andy concluded.
I love the story of Karen Wilcox and Mike Wilson, but with my own memories so lacking from junior high, I’ll just stick with my current husband rather than find another one from my youth.