1986: Senior

1986: Senior
1986: Senior

My senior year proved to be an unfulfilling one. By the end of it, I realized I hadn't really prepared myself for the future. So when I graduated, I felt like I was sitting in a boat in the middle of a big lake with no oars. Nowhere to go, nothing planned. Eventually, I did get my act together. Although, I took the long, slow and winding road-- took my sweet ol' time (Mom calls it "Ward Time"). It didn't help that I was so conflicted about my art and what I wanted to do with it. What did I want to be? Commercial artist or fine artist? Cartoonist or painter? I liked all aspects of art, but never thought about having to focus my efforts towards one particular line of work.

During my senior year, I continued to draw cartoons and caricatures for my friends. At this point in time, I had accepted my fate as the "Artist Ward Jenkins" and drew doodle after doodle for my friends. As I mentioned before, I didn't really mind it. The looks on their faces and their reactions when I handed them the drawings made it all worthwhile.

My parents officially divorced during that year. They didn't really make a big deal out of it-- I think for the sake of my sister and me. Actually, I found out by accident. One day, when my Mom picked me and Amy (my sister) up after school, I hopped in the back seat and noticed a large manilla envelope laying on the floorboard. Curious, I looked through it. I saw that the envelope was filled with what seemed to be legal documents and I saw both my parents' signatures on the last page. It was the divorce papers. That was that. Guess it's final, I thought to myself.

My grades continued to suffer throughout the year and my interest in school dwindled to nothing. By the last quarter, I made no effort to pass any class (save for the one that I needed in order to graduate). And even though my Mom and I had mended ways the previous year, I had no desire to learn anything anymore. Typical moody artist.

At this point, I was hanging out with friends from other schools. I think I enjoyed the different vibes from entirely new groups of people I was unfamiliar with -- they were so different from the cliques I hung out with at my own school. Having a new group of friends seemed to satisfy me. Unfortunately, the bonds I'd made with those from my own school had been somewhat severed. I didn't really feel close with anyone at my own school anymore. And I blame no one but myself. Though lately I've been trying to mend broken bonds with those from my own high school-- those I considered myself really close with-- and was able to reconnect with some before the big 20th Reunion.

Ah, the Reunion. I went to it this past Saturday. Fascinating, to say the least (I'll have to write more about it in another post, though I do want to finish up my thoughts here). I was able to get in touch with several of my friends before the Reunion, but some were unable to make it. Would've been great to sit and talk with them one-on-one, but I completely understand their reasons for not going. During the course of the night, I realized just how close some of them were with each other and I have to admit, it was a bit hard for me to hear that many of them were in each other's weddings, etc. I only kept in touch with about three of my former classmates throughout the years (and several more about a year ago) so really, I shouldn't get all weepy about it. Like I said, I blame no one but myself. That's cool, I don't mind. I have everyone's numbers and emails now and they have mine. Some even mentioned that they found my blog recently and were checking up on me before the Reunion (hey -- how come you guys didn't email me? Blurkers!), which was a little odd to hear. They knew everything about me beforehand but I knew nothing about them! Oh well. So it goes. I'm looking forward to re-establishing those bonds once again.

Lookit, I made it in my Senior yearbook a couple of times:

1986: Me and Terha

This photo makes it look like my friend Terha and I are an item. We weren't, but don't we look like a cute couple?

Here's what the copy reads next to the photo:

Terha Vanderheyden and artist Ward Jenkins show off a yellow ticket written for disorderly conduct. The court date was set for November 18.

Now it looks like Terha and I did this so-called "disorderly conduct" together. We didn't. It was from the annual Junior/Senior Egg Fight which had happened the previous weekend. We were punks, I tell ya. Juvenile punks!

1986: Most Changed Since 8th Grade
On top of the usual Senior Superlatives (Most Athletic, Most Likely to Succeed, etc.) they did Silly Superlatives at the back of the yearbook for '86. I got voted "Most Changed Since 8th Grade."

Why am I leaning here? I thought they were shooting me full figure, so I put my left foot up on the locker behind me, knee bent. This made me lean to my right, to off-set the balance. It looks weird, but I've always liked this shot.

In case you're wondering, Ann Marie Dean went from total preppy to total punk by the time she was a Senior.

Typical quotes from people who signed my yearbook:

"Well dude I can't believe we're almost out! High school went by fast as hell. It's time to party. I'm glad we became friends and we have to party sometime soon, like tonight!" (from a guy)

"Hey man! I'm really glad we've become such close friends over the years. It's been a great year and I hope of [sic] friendship can mainstay the test of time. You're a very talented guy in many different aspects and I hope your excellent abilities bring you immense success. Good luck for the future!" (from a girl)

In the back of the 1986 Yearbook, they have several lists of current events and pop culture -- here are three:

Rocky IV
Out of Africa
Nightmare on Elm Street II
Back to the Future
St. Elmo's Fire
Beyond Thunderdome
The Color Purple
Pretty in Pink
Jagged Edge
The Gods Must Be Crazy

Tears for Fears
Phil Collins
Whitney Houston
Simple MInds
Bruce Springsteen
Thompson Twins
Corey Hart
Bryan Adams
Sheila E. (What??? No Prince?)

My very close friend Laura (one of the three I still kept in touch with throughout the years) scribbled in her own list around the names listed above. Check out her version:

The Smiths
The Blue Nile
Steel Pulse
Tones On Tail
Violent Femmes
The Psychedelic Furs
Echo & The Bunnymen
Modern English
Elvis Costello

(What an exquisite taste in music -- one of the many reasons I loved hanging out with Laura. Another reason was her intelligence and unique outlook on life. She didn't make it for the 20th, but we still keep in touch from time to time.)

Stirrup Pants
Oversized Clothes
Cropped Pants


Okay, well, that was fun, wasn't it? I hope you all enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I did. Sure it was a bit narcissistic, but isn't that what blogs are all about? I'll post about my 20th Reunion soon.


  1. The BAGLESS CAT!!

    The CATLESS BAG!!!

    Oh whatever will it be???!!??

    Stay tuned...same Bat Time, same Bat Channel :)

  2. I'm not even gonna waste the energy to get on you about that tux, Vegas boy. Still, I like how much you're jutting out your adam's apple in that nutty "most changed" pic.

  3. This was a very Breakfast Club-y experience. I have a lot of ambivalence about my own HS years, but it looks like you had a good time.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. this is an enjoyable blog. You are a couple of years older than me, but I certainly remember that era. I also remember the insecurity and general highschoolness that makes me cringe. Bittersweet, the 80s.

    I like your friend's taste in music.
    I had friends like that too.


  5. Next up: Jenkins—The College Years

  6. Love these year-by-year synopses of the h.s. years.... very entertaining!

  7. At least your hair was one color, which is more than some of us can say. Long live the two-tone mullet.

  8. Now I know more about you than I do about some of my own close friends. The blogsphere is definitely an alt. universe.

  9. man, you are so funny! congratulations on the laika thing, by the way!

  10. Oh what memories!!! I graduated in 1984 but I still remember the wonderful 80's (or were they?) Even today I listen to the local 80's station. Seems like music isn't as good as it used to be.

    Your pixs were cute.

  11. I didn't attend the reunion. There are maybe 5 people from The party Mix of '86 that I give a fuck about. I would love to hear the juicy details, though. Didn't we have homeroom together? Didn't your dad write a book? I know you signed my yearbook. With a drawing.

  12. welll hey ward! i don't know if this marks me as a creeper but i went through your flickr and read these blogs of you as a teenager and what not. i now feel like i have some sort of connection with you hahah - but i have a question, you apparently were such a great artist and it seems like you still draw today, but what is your actual profession!?