My 2 oldest kids wanted to purchase school yearbooks this year. ElemenoB is in middle school and Coolister is in his first year of high school. And yearbooks are so darn expensive! I told them that they were welcome to purchase yearbooks with their own money if they wanted, but we were not shelling out the cash for such a purchase. ElemenoB ended up getting one, but Coolister did not.
I spent time explaining to them what an unwise purchase yearbooks are. Sure, while you're attending the school they are kind of fun. And it's fun to have people sign them. But you could also bring a notebook to school and ask people to sign that and it would save you a whole lot of cash. I argued that there were plenty of other ways they could spend their money - like on clothes or shoes or music downloads. I told them how my yearbooks have been stashed at the bottom of my hope chest since graduating from high school. I did concede that it would maybe be nice to have a yearbook from their Senior year of high school, just as a memento, but that was even debatable.
Then it happened.
ElemenoB has talked about boys at her school, the ones that all the girls like. I'll call them Thomas and Jeff and whatshisname. At ElemenoB's honors night last week, I got to see these boys. They were decent looking and all, but they didn't compare to the boys of my time...I mean, they were no Aaron or Jeremy!
But how can you judge, I reasoned, when you haven't seen them? I am talking about Jeremy-who-was-in-a-Poptart-commercial and Aaron-surfer-boy-extraordinaire!!
You guessed it - out came the yearbooks. They prompted all kinds of fun conversations with the kids:
Kids: What does "scamming" mean?
Adults: What? You don't use the word scamming? What do you call it when you're checking out the opposite sex?
Kids: "Hitting on someone"?
Adults: No! That requires actual face-to-face contact! Scamming was more like checking someone out, seeing what's available...
Kids: Who are Michael and Joe and Spencer?
Me: I have no idea.
Kids: Then why do they say you are good-looking?
Me: What?! Someone said I was good-looking in high school?! I don't remember that...
Kids: Who is KIT?
Me: Let me see... oh, that's just an abbreviation for Keep In Touch.
Kids: Oh, like HAGS.
Me: What is HAGS?
Kids: An abbreviation for Have A Good Summer...
And on and on. And you know what? My old yearbooks are still out, being read and looked at and "Check out the tall bangs!" and "Look at those nerdy shorts!" Even I have been reading messages from old friends and pictures I had long forgotten.
Maybe I was wrong. Maybe yearbooks can be a really worthwhile investment.
About 20 years after-the-fact.