Traverse City Record-Eagle


October 14, 2012

Kathy Gibbons: From memory to history in just a week

It's not something I talk about, or really even think about very often.

But knowing that I was homecoming queen in high school is one of those things I kept tucked away in the corner of my mind. It would pop up at times like when my kids turned on me. When my teenage son told me I was psycho, or my teenage daughter told me I needed to get a life, I'd think, "But, I used to be cool. People liked me. I was HOMECOMING QUEEN." I never said it. But like Sally Field at the Oscars, it gave me solace somehow.

It could prop up my ego when I needed it — like at times when my weight has been higher than I like, as it is now. Whether due to sitting way too much, to the point of feeling like one of those chickens they put in a confined space so it can't move and will just keep fattening up, or getting older, it's been an intermittent source of frustration. At some point, I pick myself up by my homecoming queen bootstraps and decide it's not over yet, and lose a few pounds, and feel better. So far.

But that's all ruined now. Because my brother, bless him, sent me a text the other day. It seems our hometown weekly newspaper, in its version of a regular so-many-years-ago-in-history column, ran an item this week that xx years ago (I will not say), Karen Hopp, Heidi Ringlstetter, Gayna Perry, Sue Krause, Carol Faulker, Beth Evely, Marianne Merritt, Kathy Bliemeister, Kathy Knechtel, Melissa Robertson, Sue Hoehn, Janelle Pierce and yours truly were nominated for the homecoming court.

My brother was put out on my behalf because the item didn't tell who won. He figures they'll have that part next week. If they don't, he's going to write a letter to the editor and complain.

I wish he'd let it die. It got me to remembering that night. I'd worn a red velvet coat, which I bought because I thought it was beautiful and it was going to be cold, but when I won, seemed premeditated, like I thought I was going to win and so dressed the queenly red part just in case. That coat ended up on stage on my daughter during a show at Traverse City Central. I don't know where it is now, not that it would fit the same anyway.

It also caused the breakup between my boyfriend at the time and me. It seems he felt emasculated being the guy who accompanied the homecoming queen to the dance. He didn't like that they called him the homecoming king, even though he wasn't. Apparently he didn't study history and realize that Jack Kennedy was perfectly comfortable being the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and this was the next best thing.

Anyway, I've been licking my wounds over having my happy memory of popularity and youth turned into "This Week in History."

On the other hand, I realized that I have one thing that still fits.

The crown.

Kathy Gibbons can be reached at

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