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Posts Tagged ‘Homecoming Queen’

I’ve told this story on other forums, but given the gloom surrounding us today, it’s a story I want to share again – a story that begins in October 2008, just as we are beginning to realize the significance of the economic crash.

It is precisely at this time that my next-door neighbor, Annie Jennings, comes home from high school bearing an orange rose. She presents this flower to her mother, Ellen, with the announcement that she is one of the “Sweet 16,” a member of the high school’s Homecoming Court.

Annie is not quite 18 years old, a high school senior with stick-straight, sandy blond hair, glasses and a big smile. We hire her to feed our cat whenever we head out of town and we leave knowing our cat is in very good hands. So when I learn of her selection as a member of the homecoming court, I am intrigued. This is the girl who watches my cat, after all.

Ellen is curious about what it means to be a member of the “Sweet 16.” Turns out that the senior class has voted, and Annie is one of a select group of girls to be considered for the Homecoming Queen. Within a week, the entire student population will choose one girl from this group to be the queen. Usually, the Homecoming Court has 16 girls; this year there is a tie, which means there are 17 girls being considered for this honor.

Ellen is a practical woman, a librarian who drives a Honda Fit economy car. The desire to be a homecoming queen has never been hers. Still, she is happy for Annie and vaguely proud that her daughter has been plucked from obscurity in this way.

She becomes concerned, however, when Annie assures her that she will win the title.

And, frankly, when Ellen tells me this, I’m also concerned. As much as I like Annie, she doesn’t at all fit in with my preconceived notions of what a Homecoming Queen is. I just assume that this is an honor that the pretty girl wins, the popular girl, the cheerleader. Not girls like Annie.

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