Dee Burgess DePriest

Profile Updated: August 30, 2015
Dee Burgess
Residing In: Longview, WA USA
Occupation: retired - paraprofessional reading specialist
Children: Ed Lincoln, born 1975, Stephanie Denson-Bjerke, born 1979, James Denson, born 1984, Natalie Denson, More…born 1987
Yes! Attending Reunion
School Story:

Not just one story, but glimpses...

I remember Burroughs’ parking lot with all the bitchin' cars that had fat tires the seniors drove...8 tracks tapes and Wolfman Jack on radios that were dialed in with a knob. People would hang out in the quad with the cliques spreading the day’s gossip. I loved the snack bar and bought those peanut butter/chocolate balls. What exactly was in them?

P.E. classes with Ms. Gulick and Ms. Peck were my greatest memories. Oh yes, those group showers after classes with our tiny "checked in and checked out" towels! Remember those exceptionally cool gym uniforms, folded-down socks and white Keds?

I did love playing tennis. My gym shoes' soles would get soft and sticky from the courts heating up. No water was available for drinking until we went into the locker room. Then it was that small stream that you almost had to suck out of the faucet! I'm surprised we all didn't die from heat strokes!

Gymnastics was great even though I about broke my neck doing a running somersault. Attempting the unparallel bars was cool but I got huge bruises on my hip bones. I also picked up righteous bruises from my elbow to wrist from a bent arm in archery. I remember the President's Physical Fitness tests. I still have my patches. I did 65 full sit-ups in a minute, unattended, on the gym floor. No pad. Ouch. There was free-exercise, avant-garde, that I preformed to "The Days of Wine and Roses." Ms. Peck loved it.

Remembering a girl's noon-intramural basketball game between the sophomores and juniors...it was a BIG deal for the sophomores hadn't won the juniors, yet. In the last two seconds of the game, I was fouled. If I made both of the free throws, we, the sophomores, would win. I should have been nervous and screwed it up, but didn’t. I made them both. That came to be one of the greater moments in my life! Did anyone notice?

I blew out my ankle so badly in gym class one day that I couldn’t walk and had to hop to my next class. The pain was humongous and the whole time I was wishing I could die. It was ugly and sore, but, 3 days later, after many hot/cold compresses, I danced in the stage production, “The Gaslighter”. During the portion that I had choreographed, I jumped off the stage into the audience, which was to portray something about freeing the slaves, if memory serves me. (As an added footnote, memory is a challenge these days of 2010!) I’d do anything for the show to go on, right? Whatever!

I remember, after football and basketball home games, the huge ruckus coming out from the boy's locker room. (I never heard such cussing until the Marine Corps days of my life!) The wrestling matches made me nervous and always have, even as my own son won medals decades later.

I remember Lauri Neil throwing her flaming baton 50 feet into the air, spinning around twice, maybe three times, and then catching it. She was my BF. I still wonder why she loved to run track. Running the mile was a real test of my endurance, but a breeze for her.

I worked in the library as a clerk. There was a group of senior guys that just couldn't keep it together in there. They were the same ones that lost it in study hall. What WAS so funny?

I still have nightmares about my school locker not opening. One day it made me terribly late and, as I ran to geometry class, I tripped on a crack on the diagonal sidewalk, totally wiped out...books and notebook papers flying...I got a huge hole in my stocking with a 3 inch gash in my knee. I sat in Geometry class, bled and wept.

I remember coming back to school after Christmas break and biology's Ms. Westbrook, was tearful as she informed me she'd boiled my polliwogs that had been left in the classroom over the holidays. It was a bad thermostat that did it. She made us prick our fingers for blood typing and taught us DNA dominate and recessive traits.

I remember the Beatles' "Hey, Jude and Let It Be" and the Doors...black and strobe lights and little love songs like Jet Plane. Guys didn’t have hair styles; mostly “high and tights” because you can’t look like “those hippies!” Twiggy, mini-skirts with matching shorts and shifts came in, along with shag haircuts. We had straightened bangs that we taped to our foreheads at night. Some girls actually used their clothes iron and ironing board at home to straighten theirs. We’d put Sun-In highlighter in our hair in the summers to make blond hair blonder. Streaks weren’t in. (Though, actual “streaking naked” was!) We slathered on the Baby Oil and Cocoa Butter for tanning and some wore zinc oxide on their noses to "keep it from burning!" We wore lots of eyeliner with angel wings, along with extremely light pink, frosted lipsticks. We also wore a ton of hair spray on our ratted sweet-heart cuts. We'd wear boldly sweet perfumes like Emeraude and Tigress! While the guys perfumed up as much as we did wearing English Leather and Brut. I'm surprised the whole English hall girls' bathroom didn't explode from the hairspray/perfumed choked air igniting as girls lit up cigarettes in the stalls. The male smokers got slammed by some of the jocks between the lockers. That was ugly.

We girls got sent home if our skirts were too short…two inches above the knees…right. Santa Anna winds sandblasted our legs. Panty hose were invented. It wasn't until 1971 when girls could wear pants to school! The guys wore those totally “Navy issue” glasses with the big, black rims, while the girl’s rims drew up into points. Thank goodness John Lennon glasses were on their way as well as bed-bottomed pants that we would shortly come to wear to sit-ins and rock concerts.

Driver's education was simple in those days. Riding dirt bikes on the dry lake bed was fun and the base theatre showed "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly." Viet Nam was beginning to impact our lives. We wore metal MIA/POW bracelets at Burroughs. (Years later in 2006, I found my serviceman’s name, Gregg Hartness, on the travelling Viet Nam Wall, which brought me sadness. I had had hope for 37 years.) The military’s lottery draft was looming. That was a bummer. Daisies and peace signs were soon to become infamous. Drinking and getting stoned was getting popular and the Rolling Stone news magazine was the rock and roll holy grail. 45 singles were going out and long play albums were in with the "A" side repeatedly playing all night long as we crashed on water beds. "Turn down that crap!" was our parents' demand and the Drive-In and cheese pizzas were still fun.

I went to 3 different high schools, which I don't recommend to anyone. My 2 years (sophomore and junior, 1967-68) at Burroughs were revealing but, at the same time, taxing. Many days I came to school bearing the burden of my "functionally-dysfunctional family" while all along suffering from stifling relationships. It was hard to make friends, though I had a few. “Our secrets can kill us,” I've come to know. I wish that we'd been allowed to have truthful conversations in those days. I wish we hadn’t had to “live the lie.” There is a lot that our generation has over come. I can say that I almost enjoyed my high school years, but the memories of friendship and school pride were scant.

To all of those whose paths I crossed, as well as those I have yet to unite with, I wish you Love and Peace...out...Dee Burgess-DePriest

Comments:

Life has been in the fast lane since I last saw Burroughs High. It's not as though I wanted it that way, it's just what was. I left my Junior year to spend my Senior at Trona High. From there it was off to Bakersfield to find myself entering the great waves of realism as each year proceeded. I didn't graduate from college, but did gain multiple degrees in the Hard Knocks University of Life. It's been a trip to be sure. I've married 4 times and have been widowed twice. I've birthed 4 children, adore 5 grandkids, 7 step-children, fostered a few more and befriended many more than that. Raising my kids in an honest conversation with life and always reaching for the stars, we laughed and cried through the good and the tragic. Life has always been colorful and you all will just have to wait and read my book when it comes out. I've served on church and city councils, taught Sunday and Vacation Bible Schools, served Easter Dinners to 200, been on neighborhood planning commitees, taught all my kids how to drive, taught ballet and put on 13 years of recitals, learned to can some mean salsa, raised dogs, cats, birds, fish, rats, mice ,gerbils and hampsters. I've ridden dune buggies, motorcycles and hippie vans. I've played in the Redwoods and played volleyball at the base of Trojan Nuclear Plant. The NorthWest has been my home since 1973 and I revel in it. I now am in my 18th year teaching at a local elementary school. I'm gracefully growing "older" and am finally in the "calm" of my stormy lifetime. As far as my "inner child" is concerned, I'm just as young as when I last saw you guys and Burroughs High in the remarkable town of Ridgecrest, CA. Peace/out my fellow Classmates! xoxdee

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