By Tim Mollen
Journal entry: July 7, 1984 (age 15)
Most kids only buy a yearbook for the year they are graduating. But I love looking at all the pictures and having friends write messages, so I’ve bought a yearbook every year since fifth grade. This was my first year at Seton Catholic Central High School, and I’ve been looking forward to the big, hardcover 1984 yearbook. (At St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary and St. Patrick’s Middle School, they had slim, paperback volumes with stupid pictures of a spaceship or a sunset on the cover.)
Unfortunately, publication was delayed this year, and the high school yearbook wasn’t available for purchase until after the last day of school. We all missed out on signing each other’s books during lunch or study hall. So I’ve decided that I’ll bring the yearbook to my friend’s houses this summer, and try to get as many signatures as I can that way.
Today, I brought my completely fresh, unmarked book to Jim Root’s house. I only met Jim this year, but he has quickly become one of my best buddies. I like to kid him that he is on friendship probation on account of being an Episcopalian, which is kinda like being “Catholic Lite.” (Same great theism, but with half the guilt!) By asking Jim to be the first to sign my yearbook, I was entrusting him with the expensive real estate of the book’s opening pages, which were slated for amusing anecdotes, pithy comments, and recollections of all the cool things other readers would wish they had been a part of this year. With a smile, Jim left me by the side of his backyard pool while he went inside to craft the all-important opening message.
Alone by the pool, I devoted the next 20 minutes to applying a thick, protective coat of SPF-3 billion sunscreen to my ghostly, 120-pound frame. Then I took a swim. Then I applied a second coat of sunscreen. As I finished my second Fresca and a perfunctory flip through a TV Guide with Knight Rider on the cover, I looked at my digital watch. Jim had been gone for over 40 minutes.
When he finally emerged from the house with my yearbook in hand, he looked very pleased with himself. I eagerly grabbed the book and opened it. To my shock and dismay, I saw that Jim had filled the ENTIRE opening page of my yearbook with drawings of Saturday morning cartoon characters. In place of fond reminiscences and expressions of friendship, he had drawn a series of sketches, loosely tied together by bastardized lyrics from The Jetsons. In part, the captions read, “Meet George Jetson; his moose Bullwinkle; his close friend Commander McBragg; his smart dog Mr. Peabody; and his black superhero The Brown Hornet.”
The drawings are actually pretty good. But now I can’t hand my yearbook to any of the girls in my class. It’s wicked eighth-grade.