Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Claim my bowling ball: An open letter to the Tolt High School Class of 1986

When I graduated from high school years ago, I took with me more than a world class education. I also took with me at least 15 pounds of spherical urethane.

Our class was among the first crop of classes that participated in organized group parties following graduation.  Apparently the fast and loose living of those who graduated in the late 70's and early 80's brought on the need for more safe and sane celebrations. 

For our graduation party we spent the night at a bowling alley and then had breakfast at the Space Needle in Seattle.

We didn't just bowl, we were entertained by a David Lee Roth impersonator and various other distractions.  It was the 80's after all.  I enjoyed spending one last block of quality time with people I had known most of my life. 

Then there was the door prize.  Remember that?  Of course you don't...but I do.  After all, it was my ticket that was called.   Everyone cheered and I remembered walking up to claim my prize:   A bowling ball.

When the party was over the next morning, the school bus dropped off many of us in Duvall.  It was there where I disembarked still wearing the clothes I wore to graduation twelve hours earlier.  I discovered that after waiting about thirty minutes that no one was going to come pick me up and take me home.  I reached into my pocket and got out my cell phone only to discover that I would not have a cell phone for another twelve years.

I learned later that my family was with my sister who had just gone to the hospital with a medical emergency.  Rightly so, picking me up from my graduation party was rather low on their list of priorities.

So, I began walking.

From Main Street in Duvall just about every destination is uphill.  My plan was to mostly walk back roads to my house as I was sure it was some kind of short cut.  I climbed the first of a series of hills crossing 3rd Avenue when I heard a pop sound coming from my feet.  The leather stitching on my right shoe broke free causing the shoe to dangle loosely.   I had worn those dress shoes exactly once before at some other event and one uphill half-mile climb had done them in.  I only had about five or six more miles to go, carrying a bowling ball while walking with a broken shoe…having not slept in over a day.  So far this wasn't a good start to the "freedom" I had been wanting so much after graduation.

I should have just dumped the bowling ball off along side the road, or even better yet...I should have just rolled it down the steep hill from the top of Stella Street and watched with glee as it left a path of devastation.   I didn't dump it though.  I continued to carry it like a well-dressed zombie, dragging one foot the rest of the way.  I hate that bowling ball.

Here is a photo representing how I imagine the ball as it finally came to rest after rolling downhill leaving a path of devastation and mayhem.

For years my mom and dad reminded me that I should get that bowling ball drilled and take it bowling.  I never intended to use it for anything and when I moved out I left it at their house.

Just recently I was cleaning out stuff in a back room at my parent's house and I came across the bowling ball.  It is still undrilled and in the same shape it was in when I hauled it all those miles years ago.

I'm sure I could write volumes on the symbolism.  I could outline the blessing of the prize that was coupled with the burden of responsibility.  The appropriate symbolism is there for sure but those volumes will never be written.  I'm going to get rid of that bowling ball.  How is that for symbolism?

It could easily go in a garage sale but I'm sure through a trick of providence the bowling ball was meant for someone else from the Tolt Class of 1986.

One of you needs to claim it. 

If somehow your life was cheated by not having this bowling ball then email me, reply to this blog or contact me through various social media.  Pass this along as I’m sure I’ve lost touch with dozens over the years. Let me know why the bowling ball should be yours.  If convinced then I'll make sure you get it.

If more than one of you reply then I'll make a judgment, or you can all possibly work out a custody agreement on your own.  I'm no Solomon, so don't expect to get your share in pieces.


Jen Edwards said...

You, sir, are an amazing writer. Before reading this blog entry, I could have honestly said, "I don't want to read some sap's opine to an undrilled door prize bowling ball." I could have honestly also said, "I didn't realize that bowling balls didn't already come with fingerholes."

You have forced my interest. Do report back on the circumstances of this bowling ball's re-homing. I totally want to read it.

Anonymous said...

Does it say 'Homer' on it?