More Arabi Park memories
My post earlier this week about Arabi Park Middle School was well received by my former classmates.
However, names continue to come back to me, and I would be remiss if I did not mention them.
One I feel terrible about omitting was that of a beautiful young lady who joined our classes for the seventh grade.
Michelle Woodland came to Arabi Park from Houston. She immediately showed she was bright and kind, and she took a real liking to me. Of course, I brushed her off because I stupidly continued to crush on Stacie Dauterive (Seube).
Looking back, Michelle obviously did not mean any harm. I felt bad when I left for Brother Martin that I wouldn’t see her anymore. I should have been nicer to her. I’d give anything to find out where she is today.
One young lady who was on the receiving end of my volatile temper was Lori King. I spilled red drink on a white shirt she was wearing the afternoon of May 13, 1988, and I was suspended for one day.
I wanted to crawl into a hole. I cried all weekend and the day of my suspension. My homeroom teacher, Mrs. Robichaux, saw me with my parents and brother in the parking lot of the old K-Mart in Chalmette the day after the incident and tried to make sense of it. She thought being suspended was too harsh.
Lori never mentioned it again. We danced together at one of the school dances the next year.
Another young lady I omitted was Jennifer Cancienne, who played saxophone in the band with Jack Bastoe and Allison Richardson (White). Rest in Peace, Allison.
Jenny lived a couple of blocks south of Judge Perez Drive, the main thoroughfare of St. Bernard Parish. The busy highway separated her house from Carolyn Park and the Dauterive house, which was two houses down from St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic school and church, where I attended school from kindergarten through fifth grade.
I recall Jenny undergoing a horrific ordeal. It was either kidnapping or assault; I’m not sure. I hope she has recovered and is living a happy life.
During seventh grade, Aimee Roniger, who was in my fifth grade class at St. Robert’s, transferred to Arabi Park. She and her neighbor, Nicole Lowery, who was also in our classes at APM, once came to my house and played football with Jason Malasovich and I. It was Jason’s birthday, the day after mine.
There are a couple of things from my seventh grade year at Arabi Park which are hilarious looking back upon them 30 years ago.
The first was after our trip to the Stennis Space Center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast on February 16, 1989. We got back to school in time for seventh period, but instead of forcing us to go to class, Shelly Schumacher, our science teacher who led the field trip, let us stay in the school’s planetarium, where we had science class during sixth period.
She turned the radio on, and invited anyone who wanted to sing along to do so.
George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” came on WEZB (B-97), the top-rated FM station in the New Orleans area.
Yours truly took the mike and proceeded to sing along terribly with Mr. Michael. Mrs. Schumacher and many of my classmates were amused. Some weren’t.
Two more notes on WEZB.
Mrs. Schumacher let us do karaoke one day in December. Eddie Money’s “Walk on Water” came on. I asked Nicole would you believe in me if I walked on water. She said no.
In 1989, WEZB’s Walton & Johnson, who were on the air from 0530 to 1000 each weekday, had a birthday contest. If your birthday was called and you were the first to call the station, you won cash, usually $20.
On May 18, 1989, the prize was $10,000.
The birthday Walton & Johnson announced was November 6.
The birthday of Roy Steinle, aka my father.
I called Air Products trying to get dad on the phone so he could call. Unfortunately I was too late.
Jason (my brother) or I should have called and told them I was Roy. If he would have been disqualified because one of his sons called on his behalf, so what? It wouldn’t have cost us anything, and I’m sure WEZB would not have pressed criminal charges.
Back to Arabi Park.
I was obsessed with sex during my seventh grade year. I was only 12, and I was way, way, WAY too young to even be considering it. That unnerved the girls in my classes, except for Rosemarie, who knew me too well, and Michelle, who thought I was endearing.
This leads to my next escapade from APM.
In the fourth quarter of my seventh grade year, the boys and girls were separated for sex education. Mrs. Schumacher taught the girls and Susan Buras taught the boys.
Shoulder pads were a big fad among women in the 1980s, and at the time, I had a very misguided idea as to why women were wearing shoulder pads.
To satisfy my curiosity, I asked Mrs. Buras if women carried their sanitary napkins (maxi-pads) in their bra straps around their shoulders.
That cracked everyone up. I was teased the rest of the year for it.
Turns out the pads were nothing more than a fashion statement.
I’m laughing so hard thinking about it as I type.
It’s been 30 years, but I’ll never forget all of you. Nor the good times we had.