The summer I turned fifteen was the summer when Darla and I were best friends. She went to Shuswap Junior High and I went to J L Jackson, back when there were two Junior High schools in town and long before they tore down Jackson to make way for an empty lot. Gone, now, is the original first High School in town.
I remember the wide wooden stairs with the thick, curved balustrades that went from the first floor to the second floor, the basement lockers along the dark, dungeon-like hallway, the second story double-hung windows along the front of the school that opened wide to let the air flow in and let the students hang out. We were just beginning to use seat-belts in cars so no one much thought about how someone might jump out of a second story school window, even when that window was really three stories high.
The summer I turned fifteen I had my first real full-time job working as a car-hop at the A&W Drive-In just outside of town along the two lane Trans-Canada highway. I couldn’t work for Parks and Rec like all of my other friends because they’d just introduced a new rule that limited the hiring of siblings to two, and my older brother and sister were already lifeguards at Fletcher pool. I think someone got tired of the monopoly the Johnson, Davidson and the Taylor families had on the local lifeguarding and swimming teacher jobs and decided it was time to do something before we took over the world. Either that or they saw me coming. I took it personally.