Yesteryears and Yearbook Memories by Mae Clair

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I love folklore and legend. You also know I’ve got a book coming out the end of April that features the Mothman, a famous creature from cryptozoology. That book, A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, is the first of a three novel series (although each book has a definitive ending).

Recently, while working on book two, A COLD TOMORROW, I had to draft a few messages from a high school yearbook for one of my characters to review. I thought I could do that fairly quickly if I looked at some of the notes classmates had written in my own yearbooks.

Turns out all those “yesteryears” were a surprise. One of the first things I noticed is that no one signs their last name in a yearbook. And seriously, why would they? When you’re in high school you expect those friendships to last forever. Sadly, many people who signed “AFA” (a friend always) I’ve forgotten. I’m ashamed to say that there are many people I can’t place at all. It makes me wonder if when others scan their yearbooks and read messages from me all these years decades later, if they wonder “who was she?”

That’s not to say there weren’t plenty of friends I remembered. So many of those scribbled notes now seem innocent and sweet. Friends wishing me the best for the future, telling me how successful I’d be as a writer (bless them), complimenting my gypsy-like clothing, or ribbing me about the fact I was “out there.” (Did I mention I was known as “Starchild” in high school?)

What really resonated was a long message from a close friend who passed away from cancer in her mid-thirties. Reading her note was hard. We were so young with bright ideas for the future, and she’s been gone for decades. The saddest part is I didn’t even know when she passed. We’d lost touch and I found out about her death several years after the fact.

All those yesteryears spelled out in pages…memories that seem like they happened only yesterday, but still resonate with echoes of a long-ago past. My high school years were spent in a time when disco ruled (I was a fan of classic rock), backward masking was a hot topic (anyone remember that?) and a fun night out amounted to a movie followed by a burger at the Red Barn. Senior skip day was spent at Hershey Park and girls wore wrist corsages when our guys took us to the prom.

When was the last time you looked at your high school yearbooks? What do you remember most about that time?