Thursday, October 8, 2009
I Was A Teenage Bride & Mother
Yes, it's true. I got married my senior year of high school and my husband and I had a very healthy baby boy. Like most high school marriages, ours did not last and I'm honestly not sure what happened to our son. Most likely, he ended up lining a cat litter box somewhere.
What? You're confused? Okay, let me back up a bit.
Two fantastic teachers at John Hersey High School developed a class for seniors designed to teach them about life in the real world called "Marriage & Family." It was a semester-long class and a major part of our grade was based upon our ability to work well with our spouse, who we got married to in a wedding ceremony, complete with cake. We got to choose our spouses and mine was my friend Mark. A few weeks after the "wedding," every couple had a baby - either a 5 lb. sack of flour or a 10 lb. sack of cat litter. Mark was a pretty tall and well built soccer player and I'll never forget Mr. Hannon handing me that sack of cat litter and saying "your husband is a bigger boy, so you get a bigger baby." Ugh.
We had to dress these "babies" up to look human and carry them to each and every class, equally sharing the parenting responsibilities. Gym class was no excuse to stick the kid in our locker. In fact, we had to find a babysitter. Parenting responsibilities didn't end when the school bell rang either. We were required to take our child everywhere (or find a babysitter) and if we got caught without it, we would fail the class. Mark was a soccer player and I was a cheerleader, both with after-school practices, and I have no idea what we did with our "son" during that time.
Other class assignments included finding & furnishing an apartment, grocery shopping, making a budget, etc. No money actually exchanged hands, but we had to go learn about what things really cost. It was eye opening, although not nearly as eye opening as the video we watched of a woman giving birth.
Years earlier, when the program was still in its infancy, the Today Show had done a feature on this revolutionary class. In 1988, the Today Show came back, wanting to talk to high school seniors about their views on what love, relationships, and marriage would be like in the year 2000. I was one of the lucky students to sit in front of the Today Show cameras all day long answering questions.
As I recall, Mark was a good husband and father. He treated me well and was not afraid of carrying our "son" around and doing other fatherly duties. That said, at the end of the semester, Mark and I were unceremoniously divorced and our son was taken away, but in our defense, every couple faced the same fate.
In honor of our 20th high school reunion this weekend, I thought it would be fun to revisit this video to see just how big our hair was, how skinny we were, how incredibly youthful we all were, and to see if any of our predictions panned out.
Enjoy! (I'm at the end.)
One note: Please do not make fun of my big ass hair. You had it too. It was 1988 after all. And for the record, I stand by my statement in the video about money and happiness.