The Aging Effect: Canton South Wildcat Class Of 2000; I Hardly Knew Ye…

Over the last month I’ve been kicking around writing this non-music related post because, well, it’s the old guy effect. Classic and everlasting is the idea that you eventually get old enough where you reminisce fondly and miss your youth. I don’t know for sure why this has hit me so much lately, but hey, I can share a little stuff for my stalkers right? (Bwaahaha)

So, I threw it right into the title; I graduated Canton South class of 2000. Out of the blue, I got the itch one day to look back. I moved out of South almost immediately after I graduated, simply because the apartment I had found was elsewhere. I truly never had a reason to travel down that way again so I didn’t. I’ve hardly been down there in all these years now. Being that I don’t read newspapers and stream rather than have local television service, I had no idea until too late that they were tearing down my old school and building a new one in it’s place. The real killer is that they even had a final touring open to the public, and I wish so sincerely I had known. So, I drove down that way recently to see the new building and at that moment, when I saw that my old building was truly gone, the football field completely tore up, all the dirt and construction crapola….it was just weird. It honestly broke my heart, and I mean really just bummed me right out. I started thinking back and just recalling countless memories of places in the building, things I used to do, etc. They also tore down Jack’s Quik Shake which was right across from the school. It was there long before I was in high school and still stood, the ultimate teenagers hangout for coneys and shakes. It’s kind of a local legend. Moving on.

I went inside the new building and talked to them in the office about old yearbooks. I had lost mine ages and ages ago, but long story short, they were able to find copies of my sophomore, junior, and senior years in storage. My mother still has my cap and gown, and I have my old diploma, so at least I’ve got that. Anyway, looking back thru those books made this nostalgia drive even worse. So as I said earlier, the aging effect is still very alive and well. Life and this individual leading it has changed so much it shares practically nothing with the one I was in back then. People will always hit that age when they realize they are in fact getting old and miss their youth more and more. All you have in this is memories, and just physically being at that site I swear I could honestly feel it in the air and coming from the ground itself. The memories and the feelings, like I was simply just “home.”

It’s crazy to me particularly because I remember just wanting out of school. Indeed, there is no way to ever convey to a kid exactly how and why those years are likely the best years of their life. I remember hearing this frequently myself, and I’m sure most kids do still. But making them truly understand? You can tell stories and explain all day but in the end, they will never truly absorb it until they’re in that spot. Nothing like regret huh? So yeah, I wanted out. I was a B and C student for the most part, I didn’t participate in any clubs or events, I did not make the best of my high school years. I wasn’t a hoodlum or an asshole, I was always one of the weird kids. I never had a use for confidence, and I am just absolutely an introverted person. Take teenage minds and try to get them to understand how an introvert really works….it’s not happening. I still can’t understand why I never stood up for myself, I don’t even know that kid. Of all things, I’m the last person that’ll keep my mouth shut and let someone trample on me nor am I scared of a fight, as opposed to back then I just kept to myself and projected the “whatever” attitude, it was the only way I could hang on to any self-esteem whatsoever. I’m not saying I was picked on a hell of alot either, but I had few friends and those that were truly friends to me were not popular. I always thought the popular kids were such shitheads, and in many ways they were. With their concept of power comes arrogance, but this is all normal teenage stuff. But back to the matter, I wish desperately I had made more of my high school years and that alone will always be very high on my list of regrets.

As I said in the beginning, classic and everlasting. This nostalgia is so normal for most people, and yes, getting older sucks. I wouldn’t trade my daughter or my experiences for anything because all of these years post high school has made me exactly who I am today. Still, so many regrets and things I would have done differently (and that right there is the sentence I’ve been referring to this whole time, the aging effect, where almost every human at the planet will at some point think that same thought to themselves.)

As for Canton South itself? The new building looks fantastic, way snappier than anything we had going on. Thinking back though, our old floors, walls, and classrooms had a certain character that is gone in the modern day. No, we weren’t in woodsheds or tiny houses like some Little House On The Prairie type of backhills nonsense. It’s hard to explain and I’m sorry, but all I can say is that all of that stonework, the colors and patterns, it just had character. I remember just a handful of my teachers and only fleeting images even then. I remember most of the hallways and where things were. I managed to find a couple videos people have posted on YouTube streaming their walkthrough on the final day tour, and I was watching those remembering most of the places they were filming, and associated memories with it. If I could tell myself back then that I would miss that building and remember even odd and small details in the layout and different aesthetics around the building with such sincerity, I know I wouldn’t have believed it.

Nonetheless, in retrospect, it was a good school. We never had school shootings, we never had real gang violence though there were those few dipshits that thought they were street tough, nothing ever really happened. There was rarely fights in that place, at least I don’t remember any. It was somewhat rare that we ever had police dog searches for weed in the lockers though I think I remember it was either my junior or senior year when they were setting up an office for a police officer station, and we did have some ceiling cameras though not lots. No, for the most part, it was all just teenage politics. I could write all day about random memories and experiences of my own, but nah, this is already long enough.

To end this though, I’m just going to repeat myself for an umpteenth time and say how much I do indeed miss my youth and miss those years. I had it far better than I could ever have realized. It was nice to come home to my room, have my computer handy, and my worries for the day generally involved getting my homework done (which I sometimes didn’t do), what chores I might have, and then how else I feel like burning up my day. I remember my friends, some parties I had went to, and lots of online gaming (fire up ICQ and AIM, get onto some Quake via…good times.) I mean really, so these are my worries for the day, what am I going to do today? I had the fortune of not having abusive parents, so that’s a plus. Also, while I was not popular, it’s not like I was so trodden that it had me mentally scarred or something, so all in all as I was told over and over throughout those years, it was indeed some of the best years of my life and I will always miss it just as much as I will miss attending that school. I’m very grateful that I was able to get my yearbooks. Somehow to my own surprise in hearing myself say it, in my heart I guess part of me will forever and always be a Wildcat. (I know there are countless schools in this country whose mascot is also the wildcat, but there’s them and then there’s MY Wildcats, nobody else matters.) The new building, the new mascot design, all the new teachers and new everything….I of course hope for the best for the future students from there, and short of the name I don’t know what legacy if any will remain from what was my school. I hope truly there’s something. Still, Rest In Peace Moderians…. old CSHS, you’ll never be forgotten. Neither will Mr. Nagle, Mr. Eckinger, Ms. Brothers, Mrs. Krajeck, Mr. Cairns, Mrs. Weaver, Mr. Knight, Mr. Casper. These people were good to me and I have fond memories of them.


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