The senior year of high school, what a pivotal time in a persons life. Jim Swarthow was a senior as average as any other of his time. He grew up in an average sized town in Tennessee, and attended a high school with the population of 1,200 students. As a student he made fair grades, yet never cracked a book when he left the doors of school heading home. School was not very important to Jim because his father had him helping the family business at a very young age. Although he never failed any courses in his school career, he never excelled either.
Jim ran with the popular crowd at his high school. He was an in guy that was more of follower than he was a leader. Ridgemont High School was a typical high school that had its typical social divisions. Its classrooms consisted of the cool guys, the nerds, the jocks, and the normal kids. The school was considered to be more middle class, with a fair share of upper class and lower class students. Jim was a middle class kid that wanted to have the appearance of a rich kid. Already making a fair amount of money helping run his fathers Heating and Air Company, Jim would spend much of his money improving his appearance. Jim spent most his free time in the garage, working feverishly to ensure that he had the cool car on campus. He spent many hours and funds fixing up a 1976 Chevrolet Impala. The car was in fair shape when Jim bought it from his father, but a new paint job was needed. Jim immediately delivered his new prized possession to the local paint shop. Jim had a new shade of pearl white paint put on the car to give it a remarkable shine. Along with the paint job, Jim had many other revisions made to his baby such as new tires, tinted windows, and a booming audio system. You name it and Jim had it done to the car. He had fun fixing up the new car. Owning his own car and being able to put time and money into it gave Jim a great since of identity and freedom. By fixing the old car up, Jim knew he would be able to obtain any goal he had to overcome in his life.
Fixing up an old car was not the only exciting event that took place for Jim during his senior year. Although Jim did not participate on any athletics teams during his senior year, he was an avid supporter of all the teams. During the fall he would attend all the football games, no matter if they were at home or away. His younger brother played on the football team and he loved to go watch and support him. His brother was three years younger than Jim, and they were very close. When the football season would end, Jim could be found in the gymnasium supporting the basketball team. He had played basketball from the eighth grade until the tenth grade, but he realized the sport was not for him so he decided to reverse the role and become a fan instead. All of his friends attended the games as well; it was a cool and fun thing for Jim to engage in. After the games Jim and all of his friends would pack in their cars and head to the local Taco Bell. Many of which would pack into Jims car so they could hear that great audio system that he had spent so many hours and paychecks repairing. Jim felt many of his classmates were fair weather friends who used him and his car for a ride, but he really did not mind because it was all in good fun. After the basketball season was over, Jim was in the stands at the baseball field. He loved watching sports, although he had little athletic ability. Jim realized athletics were not for him at an early age, although he had fun goofing around when he could. Baseball season was big at Jims high school because the team was always great and his best friend was on the team. After the baseball games, Jim and his friends would gather at the local Taco Bell to goof off and to talk about where their lives were heading. Jims best friend Fletch, who was on the baseball team, was like a brother to both Jim and his younger brother. Jim and Fletch had been friends since the third grade, and they had been through a lot together in all those years.
Girls were important in the eyes of Jim as well, although he did not have a girlfriend. He was a big flirter throughout his whole high school career. Not only did Jim like flirting with the ladies, he loved looking at the ladies as well. Jims father knew all too well about his penchant for looking at the ladies, because someway or another, he discovered that Jim had been making trips to the local strip joint. Jim was just as curious as any other guy; he wanted to see what a lady looked like from point blank range. Jim had made several trips with friends to the local strip joint, The Toy Box. Obviously no toys stayed in the box at this establishment. When Jims father found out about him visiting this entertaining venue he had a very long talk with his son. To this day, Jim still has no clue how his father found out that he was visiting The Toy Box. It was possible that Jims father had a toy collection of his own, but who knows?
The prom was a very eventful activity for the seniors and juniors at Jims high school. Jim really never had a high school sweetheart, but he did have a girl he enjoyed being great friends with. Elisabeth was one of Jims friends, and they had planned to go to the prom together. Jim and his best friend Fletch had planned to eat dinner together with their dates at a nice restaurant before their senior prom. They had dinner together as a group at the luxurious Soup Kitchen. Jim had high hopes for this night. He was a virgin and had planned to try to cross the lines of friendship with Elisabeth. The dinner had gone as planned, and dancing was even more enticing. The night was coming to a close and it was nearing time for Jim to take Elisabeth home. Was Jim to make the move to get a little bit of loving from his friend, or was he going to be the gentleman that he was? He drove Elisabeth to her house, and walked her up to the door where he gave her a nice goodnight kiss. Jim did the smart thing by not making a move on the girl who had always been a true friend to him. He had no regrets on his decision and Elisabeth is still a dear friend to him to this day.
Jims senior year of high school was a time of great growth in his life. He learned a lot about what he could accomplish by fixing up that old car, attending school functions, and cherishing the friendships around him. Jim could see that some people just come and go through your life, but it is important to realize who a friend really is and to be even a better friend in return.