Friday, September 19, 2008

The 11th Ward - Coda

Here are photos of Shawna M______ (left) and Sue A______ (right); I'm pretty sure I don't have a photo of Barbara T______. Out of curiosity, I googled Shawna's name and found that, indeed, she lives in the Seattle area. I also found a recent photo of her that strongly suggests that she is of a different "orientation" now, which is both surprising and, well, not surprising, given that she always swam against the stream. (One wonders to what extent jerk-y boyfriends -- obsessively clingy, insufferably priggish, and unable to accept rejection [describes me to a tee] -- figured in that change.) Sue is no longer listed in the phone directory as a lawyer, at least under her maiden name; thus I don't know if she and her husband still live in the Albuquerque area.

And -- I can't resist it -- here is the full set of lyrics to the song I mentioned in my earlier post: 

Journal (sung to "Diary"; words by D.R. Watkins III and R.A. Lenberg II [with tongues firmly in cheek])

I found the bishop's journal in a drawer,
And started reading of our ward,
Of all the sinful things that they'd confessed
Unto the bishop and the Lord.
I read of all the sick, perverted things they'd done.
Couldn't believe it --
Wish I had seen it!

I read where Patty after her first date
Went home and told her mom, "Steve's great!"
Displayed the marks he gave her at the Crest;
She even has one on her...arm.
And who would ever think Bill Steagall has a whip?
Couldn't believe it --
Wish I had seen it!

And as I looked through the book,
How my testimony shook,
But I liked it just the same.

I read how Ron went on a date with Pam;
They went out cycling by the Tram.
They hit a rock, both fell, Ron would be dead --
Pam amply cushioned up his head.
And Kevin Kartchner's got a new girl half his age.
Who's dating Sue now?
If Lowell only knew now.

And as Craig goes through his life,
All he thinks of is a wife,
And whose home teaching is done.

I put the journal back inside the drawer.
I didn't need to read much more.
I'd read enough sins in one afternoon
To make a filthy movie soon.
And all these marriages,
I now know why they're rushed:
They just can't wait now --
She's two weeks late now. 

As I go to church of late,
I now know which girls to date
For the best time I can have...
For the best time I can have.

(Well, I said we were pretty irreverent....)

["Patty" was Patty McGraw, a nice girl with a great sense of humor. "Steve" was Steve Schulte, Patty'
s then-future husband. "Ron" was Ron Wiser, who eventually married Cindy Shupe and is now the stake president in Roswell, NM. "Pam" was Pam Aguilar, who, as the lyrics suggest, was both well-endowed and fitness-minded. "Sue," of course, was Sue A______, and "Lowell" was Lowell Huber, who dated Sue before I did. "Craig" was Craig Mortensen, who, in addition to being elders quorum president, was well-known for hitting on all the new girls in the ward. (Craig married a girl named Cissy Reazin in the summer of 1981, but by the time I came back from BYU in May 1982, he was already divorced and back doggin' the girls in 11th Ward.) Bill Steagall was a very strait-laced fellow from Brazil (his slave-holding forbears moved there after the American Civil War, and he spoke native-level English and Portuguese), who eventually married Melissa Maw.]

[Update 1/4/2011: Sue's senior annual from Highland HS has been uploaded to, and here is a bad copy (taken from a screen shot) of her school photo from it.  I didn't know Sue until years later, but she obviously was ├╝bercute as a teenager -- very pretty eyes and exotic good looks.  (I'd also say that straight[er] hair suited her better than the perm she wore in 1983.)  Reportedly, she dated a fellow named Randy G______ for a long time before deciding to serve a church mission; in fact, more than one person later expressed surprise to me that the two of them had not gotten married, but of course not all long-term dating relationships result in marriage.  I'm glad things have apparently turned out well for her -- she had a lot on the ball, certainly more than I ever did.]

[Update 1/5/2011: Here's what I seriously doubt is Barbara T_____'s favorite photo of herself -- her ninth-grade school picture from the 1976 West Mesa HS yearbook.  (It's amazing what one can dredge up on these days; "Gold" membership indeed has its privileges.)  I met Barbara five-plus years later, when she was twenty and had blossomed significantly.  She was working as a legal secretary and was bright enough to steer clear of me for the most part; she could see, at a time when she had me fairly bedazzled, that our respective neuroses weren't a good combination.  I have to assume she married a lawyer at some point, and I hope she found happiness.  (I once wrote a song for her, which I still sometimes play now, called "If You Want Me" -- to pose the condition was to respond to it in the negative)]

[Update 2/27/2011: Here's Shawna M______'s ninth-grade school picture from the 1980 Eldorado HS yearbook.  It's interesting to me for the fact that she appears to have affected something of a "mannish" look as a high-school freshman that she didn't have at age eighteen when I knew her (see her senior [twelfth-grade] picture above).  I would never have pegged her as having same-sex attraction during the short time that we dated -- and neither would her friends from that era [her best friend at the time is now one of my "friends" on Facebook] -- but now I'm wondering if there were signs of it earlier in her life. I guess one never knows.]

[Update 3/14/11: Here is a photo of Barbara T______ from roughly the period in which I was interested in her.  It came from an upload to the Facebook group that people created for 11th Ward Alumni.  Barbara doesn't look as attractive here as she remains in my memory, but she did start wearing contact lenses at one point, revealing pretty eyes.

Here is a photo that someone had from Sue A_____'s mission in Argentina; Sue (L) is standing here with a missionary companion.  This would have been around 1981.

"I wouldn't touch you with a ten-foot pole"
[Update 7/28/11: I found this photo on Facebook, too.  It didn't mean much when I first looked at it -- just another photo from a ward activity in 1981 -- but when I examined it more closely, it made me laugh out loud.  I'm in the yellow shirt on the left, playing my guitar and hoping to impress Barbara T_____, who's standing on the right and is purposely keeping her distance from me (while looking like she might be having second thoughts -- either that, or she's annoyed at her sister Penny, to my immediate right, for standing so close to me).  What a perfect illustration for me of that summer's frustrations!  I can't really understand now my attraction to Barbara then, although I'm not sure I ever quite got over her rejecting me; however, I'm guessing I would finally let it go if I saw a recent photo of her.  (Not that I look any better after the ravages of thirty years.)]  

 [Update 7/3/14: There have been quite a few more yearbooks posted recently on from Albuquerque-area high schools, including Barbara T______'s 1979 senior annual from West Mesa HS.  It contains this picture of Barbara -- a much-better photo than her 9th-grade school picture, I must say.  It's funny how some high schools continued, in the late 70s and beyond, to make girls bare their shoulders, and boys to wear tuxedos (with bow ties, no less), for their senior pictures.  I still haven't seen a recent photo of Barbara, although I did meet up with her sister Penny, who still lives in the Albuquerque area but no longer attends the LDS Church, at last year's 11th Ward reunion.  I think I've finally exorcised my 11th Ward "ghosts."  Lyle and Wilma Porter's A History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Mexico notes both the creation of the 11th Ward on September 24, 1978 (from what had previously been the student branch/ward) and its dissolution on August 3, 1986.  Somehow I'd had it in my head that the ward had lasted a few years longer than that, but it sort of makes sense now that I know.]

[Update 4/19/16: Here it is -- the "recent" photo of Barbara (alongside her husband Kary Simcox) that I've been wanting to see for years.  Time appears to have treated her fairly gently, although the pic still represents a species of "resolution" for me.]