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My future husband was there, too.

BY zsuzsu on September 17, 2018
10 | 8 Favorites
High schools in the 1960’s were filled to the max with teenage “baby-boomers.” There were only three graduating classes in San Francisco high schools at the time: tenth, eleventh and twelfth with 700-800 kids in each. So the total population averaged 2,500 students for each of the 20 high schools in the City alone. Many mini-cities within a city. You could hardly know a quarter of the students, unless you ran for office or were in plays or football or music groups.

Now, an interesting oddity about San Franciscans which I’ll throw in here, is when one meets another SF’er for the first time, this question ALWAYS begins the conversation:

“What high school did you go to?”
Not “what do you do for a living,” or “what restaurants do you like,” or “what music do you listen to,” or “who’s your favorite team, etc.?” No. It’s always, “what high school did you go to?” !

It doesn’t matter how old one is, it’s always an important identifier, a conversation-starter that would explain in a second that person’s whereabouts and upbringing, before any further words are spoken. Believe me, there was an article written once about this unique style of long-standing, San Francisco social-identifying interaction. Must be a tribal thing, or maybe it’s the fog.

So ten years after I graduated, I met a guy in an organization in town we both belonged to. The conversation started this way:

Me: Somebody here I knew from A.L. High School said you went there.
He: Yeah. Class of '68.
Me: Oh, so you were a year ahead of me. So you probably didn’t know (names of this or that person).
He: Yeah, I did. I knew a lot of kids in your class.
Me: Really? I knew some in yours too. In fact (some girl’s name) lived up the block from me.
He: Oh. I went out with her a few times.
Me: Aha. She went out with a lotta guys I knew too. Did you know (some guy)?
He: Yeah, but I knew his brother better. Did you know…?
Me: Sure did. Strange you and I never crossed paths in high school, but we knew the same people.
He: Not so strange. It was a big place. But I think I may have passed by you in the hall there once. You look vaguely familiar…

And this is how the conversation went on for some time. Our reference point wasn’t the organization where we just met, it was where we went to high school. We eventually got together, got married, have a family. The rest is history. But there have been times when we’ve run into old classmates whom each of us knew separately. They stop dead in their tracks and say, “you two got together? Never would’ve thought! Did you know each other then? You weren’t high school sweethearts, were you?!”

Hell, no. We definitely “didn’t learn” about each other in school. So we certainly weren’t high school sweethearts. Our marriage probably wouldn’t have lasted this long.

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