Long-lost memories

by Nickj Resnikoff

The end of any school year brings finals and APs, the promise of sleeping in and sunbathing at the beach every day. It is marked also by yearbooks and along with them the time to recall memories to scribble in the inside covers and inserts.

Entries usually feature a standard message like, “I’m so glad we were friends this year and survived (insert teacher’s name here)’s class,” or something more intimate, yet equally generic.

For notes to those we know, we seem to always throw in some memories to incite reminiscent laughs.

However, in looking through my Vox Populi from the past six years, I am baffled by half the so-called “memories” written across the pages in vibrantly colored sharpies. We, as teenagers, have so many inside jokes with our friends that we have a tendency to recall them much faster than the true memories themselves.

These inside jokes are not real memories, but they are what we document and remember — at least for now.

It’s not just in yearbooks that we do this; Facebook even has a section for “favorite quotes,” jokes are in old journals and diaries and we at the Chronicle even had our own website MLIC with trivial, hilarious, “So Chronicle” things from layout.

The problem is, when we look back at these yearbooks in a few years, the cryptic phrases and absurd quotes won’t mean much to us. Open your 7th grade yearbook and go to that note from your best friend that takes up a whole page and read through it. The note is sure to bring back a rush of feelings, but how much of that note is memories that you can truly recall? Does the note bring you back to a day at the beach, or does it bring to mind vague memories of things people said or did that made you laugh for about a year after it happened?

When I look at my high school yearbooks in five years, I want to remember the time Anna and I took the PSAT at Milken one morning because we had missed when it was given at school and then went to Cheesecake Factory and shoe shopping at DSW at the Galleria. Or what about when Ellina helped me when I was a brand new driver and got stuck in a parking spot at Fashion Square, and getting out would surely scratch my new prized possession even more than getting into the spot did. Instead, I will be reminded that she does not find it possible to run while wearing lip gloss and once asked “Do eskimos have sex to keep warm?” Or what about the time Anna and I took the PSAT at Milken one morning because we had missed when it was given at school and then went to Cheesecake Factory and shoe shopping at DSW at the Galleria?

Do these inside jokes mean anything? How heartfelt will these messages seem in years? We might be better off signing “U rock. Don’t ever change.” After all, in “Lizzie McGuire” (a staple of my childhood), after keeping Lizzie’s yearbook, in the hope to find the words to express his true feelings, Gordo signs this extremely generic message, only adding on that he truly means it. This moves Lizzie so much she kisses him. Granted, there was no need to recall memories as earlier in the episode there was a “best of” segment as they flipped through the yearbook. Still, a simple message seems so much more impactful and lasting than a list of things that make us giggle now.

I’m not preaching; I am guilty of this. I’m just a little regretful and I hope that in signing our final Harvard-Westlake yearbooks this week that we try to write something that will mean something in the future. I’m not saying every note should be as simple, yet meaningful as Gordo’s, or that we should not talk about funny memories in yearbooks, but that these amazingly heartfelt messages may soon seem cheapened or insignificant.