Last Year of High School ~ Losing My Way and Finding It Again

High school…was sooo long ago, some memories fade into the background, but some stay vivid. There were a few of those vivid memories, for me it was that last year of high school.

Do you remember being a senior? Feeling like you finally made it to the top of the food chain. You were almost done, ready to be an adult. You had all the answers and you just couldn’t wait to do what you wanted, with no one else telling you what to do.

senior pic

What a feeling….stretching your wings… about ready to fly the nest… out into the great wide open. Okay… I’m being a bit dramatic here… Let’s hold up for a minute,  I need to put on the brakes. Because, if you want to read how I got to this point in my seriously disfunctional life… you might want to start from the beginning.

Here are the links to each one:

A Child of the 60s &70s
Life in Hawaii ~ Vacation Turned Staycation
The Jr. High Years ~The Good, Bad and The Ugly
High School ~ Flags, Driving and A Boyfriend

Whew! I’ve got a lot of my life story under my belt. We’ve come a long way, baby!

You know, it’s much different writing about life that “happened” to you, versus the life that I began to choose for myself, very different indeed. Some things in my life, I didn’t have any control over. But now we’re coming to the part, where I'm growing up and starting to make decisions for my own life.  I’ve been extremely transparent so far, yet this is where I’m tempted to “gloss over” some of the poor choices I made. Tempted, but I won’t. Will it be embarrassing… probably. But it’s me. It’s those poor choices I made in my life, that brought me to the place I am today. Everything I've gone through has formed and shaped who I am, and who Christ transformed me into. The way He takes something so broken and misshapen and creates beauty out of it is extraordinary! That’s the business God’s into, taking people from the bottom of their pit and bringing life to something that was thought to be dead.

Every person needs to get to that place, where they see their need for a Savior, but during my senior year of high school….I was at the top of my game, I didn’t need anything or anyone, at least I didn’t think so at the time.

It was probably the summer before my senior year that I got my first car… Oh yeah! What a feeling! My very own wheels. I could go where I want, and when I want. It didn’t matter what it looked like….even if it was a sickly beige color…

Tan bug 1

And again like my mom’s car, it wasn’t that shiny and not that clean. I’d have to say mine was a bit more beat up, too. But I didn’t care it was awesome! I loved it! Never mind that I didn’t have a driver’s license or insurance for that matter. It was mine! Now I could drive to school, drive to work, drive to practice. Anyways, if you didn't know... in So. California, beat up old VW Bugs were very cool. I was on top of the world!

So, it was time for a new job.  I somehow got a waitressing job at a restaurant called, Marie Callendars. No experience, but I learned quickly. I remember once spilling an entire tray of glasses filled with water all over the table, broken glass and water everywhere… poor people. I got better and the tips got better. It was a job and I needed gas money now, too!

It was a busy summer before my senior year…. I even moved out and then back again…
As you can imagine, I didn’t have the greatest relationship with my mother. It was always ‘do as I say’, ‘not as I do’. I’m sure you’ve got the picture from my childhood that she wasn’t going to get any awards for her exemplary example of how to be an awesome mother. I know at that age, I definitely wasn’t any help. I was almost 17, I had all the answers, and I’m pretty sure I was obnoxious about it. I don’t think I was all that rebellious… it was just those few moments that mom decided to be a mom, that always got me in trouble. Most of the time she was too busy with her own life to keep tabs on me. I know it may sound like I'm really 'hitting' my mom hard. Don't get me wrong, I loved her. She just had more issues in her own life... I'll just leave it there... What can I say it is, what it is.

Remember my boyfriend? Yep, I still had the same one, we’d been together for about 3 years at this point. That summer, he was going to the beach on vacation with some friends for the week.  I wanted to go along too. Well, for some reason, that didn’t sit well with my mom. What? Seriously? We’ve had men living with us on and off all my life and she was now having an affair with a married man and she didn’t want me spending the week with my boyfriend at the beach? That was ridiculous! Mom and I had it out.  It was ugly. She went to work the next day, and I packed up all of my stuff. Crammed every bit of it in my VW Bug and I was gone! I headed down to the beach. Freedom!

Well…my boyfriend wasn’t thrilled that I moved out. I guess I hadn’t thought everything through…He was actually pretty mad at me and told me to go back home, that I wasn’t staying there for the week. I was LIVID! I ended up back at home… somehow worked things out with my mom. I don’t remember. That was the quickest move I ever made. Things with the boyfriend slowly started going downhill after that episode.

It was the fall of 1982, it was different this last year of school… I was a senior, my boyfriend wasn’t there, he already graduated. I was more on my own, trying to figure life out. I had no clue what I was doing. For some reason a friend of mine talked me into signing up for a beauty pageant. What? Why? I have no idea why I did that! I’m looking back on these pictures, and I remember thinking I was fat!? Ha! I'd love to be that 'fat' again!! I’m the third one from the right.


Here's a picture of me in the newspaper… I look so sad. I don’t remember being sad, but I wonder…was there more going on inside my heart than I realized. Probably… I didn’t win or even come close, but it was a good experience.


While working at the restaurant, I started getting more attention from other guys…hmmm. A little flirting here an there. That was definitely felt better than all the fighting I was doing with my boyfriend. Then one day without much thought process, I just decided to break up with him. He picked me up from school and we were sitting in the school parking lot. I just said it was over and I wanted to break up. We had been going together for almost 4 years. I hurt him….deeply. I look back and I am embarrassed and ashamed at how flippantly I handled that. I was so immature and treated him so disrespectfully. Yeah, I thought I had it all going on…. not! It just breaks my heart that I did something so cruel like that.

Later on, after I realized that these guys giving me ‘all this attention’, were just shallow and just wanted some fun. I finally saw that what I had with my ex boyfriend was deeper and more meaningful.

Today, I can look back, and see that I was only following the example given to me by my mother. Not that she was responsible for my actions, but it explained to me why I acted that way. There were quite a few men in and out of her life, none of them stayed. She always told me and my sister that ‘we better take care of ourselves, that we don’t need a man in our lives’. I didn’t have a dad. So, I never knew what it was like to be taken care of and loved by a father figure. I didn’t know how handle a relationship. I only knew how to be selfish. Kinda like my mom.

I did try several times to mend the relationship with my ex boyfriend and get back together, but he wouldn’t have any part of it.  We were able to be friends, but nothing more. I hurt myself more in the long run.

After that, I started partying more and hitting all of the nightclubs dancing the night away! I quit flags even though I was co-captain and my sister was even on the team, another selfish decision. I had ‘senioritis’ (you know the disease seniors get as they are getting ready to graduate, and fly from the nest) really bad, and was sick and tired of all the rules and just wanted to be on my own.


Graduation came, I made it! I graduated with 3.67 grade point average.  Not bad.
Graduation day

I had plans to go to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. It was located in downtown Los Angeles. I went for about 4 months. Then I made another immature decision and quit. Well, that didn’t last too long. Wow! I just couldn’t keep it together!

I look back now and just shake my head.  Maybe it would have been different if I had some sort of support system.  I can’t ever recall any pep talks from my mom, encouraging me not to give up. Telling me to ‘Stay with it! You can do this! We’re not quitters!’ Nope, nothing. I was on my own and not making the greatest decisions. I wasn’t alone…

We found out around that summer that my sister was pregnant. Well, with my mom’s 'in depth birds and the bees talks', it’s no wonder! (I'm being EXTREMELY sarcastic here, if you couldn't tell...) So here we are! I'm 18, just quit school and my sister’s pregnant. Now, what was I going to do with myself? Here’s a picture of the family, on my 18th birthday.  Mom had a new boyfriend, he was nice, at least he wasn’t married.

18th birthday

Before we move on... I have a funny/not so funny at the time, story to tell you… I was driving my VW Bug down the road, probably a bit too fast and guess what!? Yep, red and blue lights flashing behind me. Ugh! My stomach sank! You know that feeling, right? I was dreading and praying this day wouldn’t happen. I pulled over, rolled down my window.  FYI… just thought you’d want to know there was nothing electric on my Bug, nothing automatic. Stick shift, manual locks, crank windows, I don’t even think I had a seat belt for the passenger side, yep I had the works!

Anyway…The nice officer stepped up and asked, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” I said, “ I was probably speeding”. Yep! Then he asked for my drivers license and registration. Uhhhh…… I told him, “ I don’t have one”. He said, “Oh, you mean you don’t have it on you”.  I said, “No, I don’t have one”. He looked at me… I explained that I  lived right down the street and that I was so close to my 18th birthday and that I was going to go down and get my license then. Well, he wasn’t too impressed with my plan. He gave me a ‘Fix It’ ticket and followed me home. So, since I didn’t want to take driver’s training during high school, I got to pay $200 to take it after. Great idea! ;P So, I paid it, took the classes and got my driver’s license and “fixed” my ticket.

So, this little episode happened during all the other ‘great’ things that were happening in my life.  The only stability in my life was my grandma…my dear sweet grandma… Thank God for her.  She still came over from time to time. And she always, I mean ALWAYS, talked about Jesus and how we needed Him in our life.

I’ll never forget the one day she came over and for some reason, I actually listened to her. Normally, I would just tune her out and go do something else, but that day was different.  Maybe I was tired of my life, I don’t know.  I spent most of my nights out with friends at nightclubs dancing, and being a bit promiscuous. But that day… I was listening, really listening, and God was doing something in my heart.

Grandma loved cooking for holidays.

And she loved her Bible. I truly miss her…She impacted my life so much. I didn’t realize how much til I was older.
grandma bible

It was a Sunday night and I usually went dancing with my friend. So, I called up my friend and asked her if she wanted to go to church with me instead of hitting the nightclub. She said she was thinking of the same thing that day and yes she definitely wanted to go! What? Wow! Let me tell you, God works in mysterious ways! Well, that’s not the end of it. I stopped by her house and picked her up. We had no idea where to go. We saw a phone booth and pulled over to check the yellow pages. Just incase you are a 'millennial' and have never seen a phone booth, this is what we all used before cell phones. The door even closed. And again incase you don't know what Yellow Pages are... They were huge books in phone booths that listed people and business in the area, a much smaller version of google. haha...

phone booth

Anyway, this particular phone booth just happen to have a Bible in it. We also flipped open the Yellow Pages to churches and a certain Assembly of God Church jumped right out at us.  That’s were we went.
Covina Assembly of God

We walked in, service had just started. I don’t remember a lot of what was said that night, I just know when I went down to the alter, my life was never going to be the same again. Looks like I might have finally found my way....

This one turned out WAY longer than I intended.  Thanks for sticking it out with me!



  1. I have so loved hearing about your growing up pains and triumphs - thank you for sharing. xx

  2. You had so much going on in your young life, but I liked the ending of this chapter, Lori!

    1. Thanks, Kitty! Yeah, I wouldn't want to do high school over again... I appreciate you taking the time to read! :) Blessings!!


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