It was my freshman year in high school that Anthony first appeared in my life. Anthony is a haunting relationship that has ties to me to this very day. My mother predicted that I would end up married to Anthony. Thank God that never happened. I will go into depth later as to my reasons why, for now we will concentrate on my high school years with Anthony.
I met Anthony at a teen night at his brother’s bar Cagney’s. My friends and I were always up for dancing. So it was every Sunday night that my friends and I went to Cagney’s. It was a good time. Anthony was behind the bar serving the cola, juice and water. One day I decided I was going to meet him and hang out with him. There was a screen where you could post messages. It was a big screen television if I am not mistaken. So I had them write “Anthony is it true that bartenders do it better?” I do not remember if I signed it or not. Well it was enough to get things started. Years later I would ask why I wanted to be involved with him.
Anthony was different than me. He came from a family of fourteen. He was the tenth child. The rules or lack of them was much different from my own upbringing. I was required to call in to report my whereabouts, he was not . He had a history of problems. His family was known by the police. They all had red hair. The police would always be on the lookout for one of the O’Connell children when there was a disturbance. Actually the only thing Anthony ever admitted was, accidentally breaking a picture window at a house in his neighborhood.
He would ride his bicycle over to my house. We chatted, nothing too exciting. Then I rode my bicycle over to his neighborhood; it was not far, we lived in the same town, just different parishes. It was watermelon time. I learned to appreciate hard liquor in a sweet form, watermelons. He had a whole crew of guys he had been hanging around since kindergarten. I became acquainted with all of them. Okay, Anthony’s nickname from his family was weasel. Do you think I should have taken this as a clue? Probably but I did not even take heed. I was not really interested in Anthony. He was fun but it was not a long-term thing in my mind. I think I kissed him and that is where it ended, that year. Things faded out for a short time.
That summer a friend from school convinced me to try out for the color guard. She assured me it would be a lot more fun than the marching band. I was already scheduled to be in the Brother Rice Band. I had played the flute since seventh grade. I took Woodwind Ensemble my freshman year. I signed up for Brother Rice’s band my sophomore year. I made it into the color guard. For those not familiar with the term color guard, that is the flag and/or rifle ensemble that marches with the band. I had a great time in band. I met Beth. We roomed together that summer at Flag camp. She was a freshman. Her two older brothers were also in the band. Her oldest brother was one of the Drum Majors and her other brother was in the drum section. We had some of the best times in band together. Her brother would drive me home after practice and it was a good time. We would all be in the car singing. I recall one time Chaka Khan came on the radio. We were in the Dodge Dart, and he was rocking out singing the rap lines.
Band was a great learning experience. It all looks so easy. It is not as easy as it looks. Hours and hours of practice are required. It is truly a team activity.
I had been dating this guy they called Absolut. I was not interested in him and broke up with him. One day after band practice a couple of band mates came up to me and asked me what I thought of Lou. I was like I do not even know him. They told me it would be great if I went to Homecoming with him. I said I really do not care if I go to Brother Rice’s homecoming. I just broke up with Absolut. They convinced me to go. Maybe I should have had those two select all my dates. I wonder how my life would have turned out if that were possible.
I dated Lou who was also in the band and he played the drums. I really had a lot of respect for him as a person. He was the epitome of a perfect gentleman. He had a very nice family and I enjoyed his company. We went to homecoming together. It was a really good time. I look at those pictures and I see that I was really enjoying myself at that time. I think we just drifted. I started to hang around other people and we just parted ways. It is a very pleasant memory.
After that summer I dated other guys and moved on to other pastures. I was dating a guy that was an honor roll student, hockey goalie, and cross country star. Glen had blonde hair, blue eyes, he was a dream. He later graduated from Notre Dame with a Political Science degree. We went to my sophomore Valentines dance together. We had a great time together. I got bored one day and told him I needed space. What prompted this to this day I could not tell you?
The weird part about my relationship with Glen was my mother had hung around his father in her high school years. So in ancient history my mother hung around in his father’s crowd. It was freaky. My mother was into the whole thing too deep. Maybe I sensed the creepy feeling and cut my losses. That is my only explanation for the end of that relationship.
I always had a good time when we went out. Albeit we did not drive yet but we were always doing something at someone’s house. I recall one time in particular when I had been drinking a lot of black berry brandy. I was not in good shape when it was time to go home. Glen walked me to the door unlocked it and pushed me in the house. I staggered in and the bathroom door was straight ahead. I went into the bathroom and tried to pull it together. I came out of the bathroom to talk to my parents before going to bed. I could not speak without slurring. I was a mess. I asked what they were watching on television. They had been watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I said “Oh Butch Sundance and the Kid its and excellent movie” I knew I blew my cover. Oh as if the staggering was not a telltale sign I was intoxicated. I do not think I was punished for that incident.
The movie that defines my generation from that time was “The Breakfast Club”. One Sunday I went with him, his mom his sister and his mom’s husband to see that movie. It really made an impression on me. I think the fact that we all have problems whether we are popular or not was the main draw for me. I think even today that it is very relevant in my life. I think that when we take the time to see that we all have problems we are much more sympathetic. I think that it is amazing to apply it to life today. The fact is that money, popularity, intelligence or beauty are just factors in ones life. Maybe these factors make certain areas of our lives easier but it does not guarantee anything. We can all end up on the bottom. It is up to us to make a choice as to where we want to be in life. It is up to us to make a choice and to act on our own behalf. I see that we are all equal and we must take the time to get to know people to really make a decision about them as people. It was a very powerful message at a very important time in my life.
Glen and I went to my first dance at my high school. It was the Valentines Day dance. We had a great time. We met at one of my girlfriend’s house. We had a bunch of couples and we rented a limousine to take us to the dance and the restaurant afterwards. It was a very magical time for me. I felt as if there was nothing that could hurt me. I was very much in love with him and he was very in love with me.
I would go to his hockey games and we would go back to my house and watch television and hang out. He was very athletic and very intelligent. He always had this cockeyed grin and his big blue eyes always made me melt. I look back so very fondly of that time in my life. He will always have a place in my heart. I hope that wherever he is he is very happy.
One time I was over at his father’s house and my mother was talking to his stepmother. I have no clue where this came from but I must have been pretty bitchy. The conversation went to what if someone threw acid on my face, what would I do. I would no longer be pretty and would people like me? I was torn up over this conversation. Why would someone throw acid on my face? Why would they even use this as an example? Why would my mother partake in such a discussion about me her child? It was weird. It is just another instance where, I felt that my personality and looks intimidated my mother. It always made me sad.
The concert band season is the winter and spring months. I started to meet people from the St Laurence Band. The band director for Brother Rice was the director of St. Laurence as well. St. Laurence always had a stronger marching band whereas we had a better concert band. I met a very big influence on my life at State of the Art the Catholic High School band competition for the Chicago area. I met Steve. He was lovingly referred to as Tiny. He was not tiny by any means. He was a very tall and very large fellow. We became friends. He was so kind and giving to me. I think I really learned what unconditional love was from him. We never became anything more than friends. We did hang out together and we enjoyed a lot of good times.
Steve had a huge crush on me. He left flowers at my house for me. He would leave thoughtful notes as well. He was the one I should have fallen in love with and would have been quite happy. I think of that Cher song ”Next time I Fall in Love” and I think of our friendship. I used to tell him that all the time. I really enjoyed his company. He was such a kind and gentle, person. I could never understand why I could not fall in love with him. I really would analyze our relationship and try to figure out why love did not work so rationally.
We hung out together all the time. We would go places and do things. We would sneak into bars and just hang out. He was a reporter for the local newspaper in town. He covered sports. I used to go to the games with him and keep him company. Best of all he was one of the few Cub fans on the south side of Chicago. Cub fans need to stick together on the south side. I really miss him to this day. I lost him over a girl of all things. I was very protective of him and he had finally found the woman for him. I never could accept her because she had hurt him so badly before I would not let it go. We did not have the falling out until I was a senior in high school. I lost him in the end, but he gave me something he never knew. He gave me self-worth when he least expected it. He is a truly inspiring individual and I will always be cheering him on even from the distance.
Well low and behold Anthony appeared in my life once again. I was the only girl he ever took to a dance. I do not even remember where I ran into him for him to ask me. Well I went to his spring dance our sophomore year. It was always obvious how smitten he was with me. I liked him and enjoyed hanging out in his crowd. He was the perfect gentleman. He got his brothers Lincoln to take us to the dance. He brought me a huge nosegay of roses. He really tried to make an impression on me. I look back and see that he obviously accomplished that over time. I knew that this was not going to go anywhere but I went anyhow. He was a nice guy but I did not see any chemistry. He always had a car and drove like a maniac. I do not know if he was trying to impress me or scare the crap out of me. We went out a couple of times after the dance and that was about it. He faded out of my life once again. It would not be the last I saw of Anthony.