Tag Archives: VW bus

Flashback: Notes about Orem (Utah) high school, on occasion of 30th reunion (2018)

A high school i attended for 1-1/2 year-ish in Utah held a 20 anniversary for my graduating class in summer 2018 – while i wasn’t technically a graduate (nor did i attend the event), i added my dispatch for the record. Shared here for the posterity etc.

Via Orem high School Class of 1988 FB page 7 July 2018

A few flashbacks… (PS i was Dave Elliott in those years)

I was a sorta “walk-on character” in the Orem High sitcom – arriving from Canada for the last couple months of 10th grade and then dropping out 2 weeks into 12th grade but dang,… made 11th grade count.

"in character" as a earnest archeologist, circa 1936, location unknown
“in character” as a earnest archeologist, circa 1936, location unknown

Ergo:

* Running Paul Moody’s “campaign” for Student body president including the “fascist takeover” at the assembly and screening of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” in lounge for a campaign promotion – and the acknowledgement speech at assembly in which someone temporarily declined to announce the winner because of the number of “refused” ballots

* The (notorious) Martin Luther King day protest including long banners on newspaper roll ends covering the lockers with rather controversial slogans

* Making a “Stop Aids” balloon/flag/kite and running it up the flag pole with Cory DeMille and my brother Bob Olson (now the US military’s 2 finest examples)

* Thought i wasn’t enrolled in Unified Studies, my attendance was almost perfect

* KOHS, possibly the best invention in the history of highschool (until my FCC license was revoked)

* Ace-ing AP US History with a 98% on the test but failing because of the tardy/absence policy (drop a grade each time or something) – it *was* the first class in the morning

* Being amazed at seminary – meaning you could sign up and have basically a period off (before moving to Utah, i had attended early morning seminary (imagine the horror of riding to church house on cold Canadian mornings at 5AM!)

* Swim team – i wasn’t cut out for football, basketball etc so signed up for swim team which basically meant roadtrips to other schools, hanging out in a Speedo waiting to lose to “whichever school we were competing against” – our girl’s team won all the time though

* Having no idea was the heck a Sadie Hawkins dance was until getting invited by a card written in Alpha-bits cereal – was completely baffled (later Napoleon Dynamite made this clear)

school dance (in shorts natch) with Kim who drove a lavender Karman Ghia
school dance (in shorts natch) with Kim who drove a lavender Karman Ghia

* Umm… after growing up in a very multi-cultural part of Vancouver (little Punjab), arriving to a ummm… sorta non-diverse school

* Feeling like a total outsider but quickly making friends by virtue of driving a limo to school – which was later replaced by an even more fun VW bus (Spicoli had nothing on me)

* Wearing shorts every single day of the school year – usually with wool socks and duck boots and flannel shirts – i didn’t exactly invent “grunge style” but do deserve an honourable mention

* Frequently teased for using Canadian spellings / we like to put in extra an “u” and switch around “re” instead of “er” and saying “zed” instead of “zee” #sigh

* Requiring a note to read Catcher in The Rye in 11th grade AP English > also realizing the teacher had absolutely no idea why the book was “banned” in some alien circles

* Amazed that so many girls looked like straight out of a magazine or movie #outofmyleague – i was more accustomed to punk rock girls

practising to be in a John Hughes movie with JPJ
practising to be in a John Hughes movie with JPJ

* Never attending a single football game (now if there was a hockey team…)

* Coming “back” for 12th grade homecoming dance and bringing non-Orem high pals and taking photo with the reggae band (Irie Heights)

crashing homecoming dance and posing with Irie Heights band - game: who's in band, who's attending dance?
crashing homecoming dance and posing with Irie Heights band – game: who’s in band, who’s attending dance?

By the way, when i bailed on Grade 12 (12th Grade), i went to Utah Technical College (later Utah Valley Community College, Utah Valley College, Utah Valley University, Harvard of the West…) and “earned” an Alpine School District Adult High School diploma after rigorous schedule of ceramics, mountaineering, photography and “independent study” – also creative writing (which turned out handy). I did attend class of 88 grad as a spectator.

Later? after a run of a few more higher-ed institutions (University of Utah, University of Guam) i graduated from Evergreen State College, just took me a few decades. Since, travelled 40+ countries, 100 weird jobs (most recently VP at Hootsuite (social media company), gave TEDx talk (not near as popular as Jani Radebaugh‘s) and now live on various remote small islands making poetry, podcasts and paintings (also deal with a weird complex illness #boring).

I have been able to meet up with a few excellent folks from those years (Cory DeMilleMark SwensonJayson LeeKyle BlackhamJennifer Powers-JohnsonJeniffer Johnson GoodmanJennifer Hawkins PixtonNichole Ortega… in the last few years – albeit some only virtually).

Thanks for letting me share – i won’t be at the reunion (i am far away elsewhere) but carry fond memories.

Would very much like to know what you are up to?

I also love to write letters/postcards so message your address (or fill out form on my website) and one day you’ll receive postal mail from this “walk on character”.

Fondly, dvo, elsewhere

yeah, i is a graduate-d
yeah, i is a graduate-d

Annotations

Jennifer Hawkins Pixton You were ahead of your time! Love that your VW bus is now a sauna.

"Earthship" new incarnation as sauna at Mangy Moose lodge up Big Cottonwood Canyon (near SLC, UT)
“Earthship” new incarnation as sauna at Mangy Moose lodge up Big Cottonwood Canyon (near SLC, UT)
Evidence of Sauna inside Earthship VW bus
Evidence of Sauna inside Earthship VW bus

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Michelle Scofield You and your brother were exactly what the school needed!! Thanks for spicing things up.

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Marianne Paul Jensen You were definitely ahead of your time. And you definitely increased the character of the non-diverse school.
Thanks for sharing these awesome memories!

Dave Olson Marianne Paul Jensen So kind of you to say… I was apprehensive posting this thinking that everyone would wonder “hmm don’t remember that guy, do you?”

Marianne Paul Jensen Dave Olson I totally remember you. I was hesitant commenting because I’m sure you don’t remember me.
But you really had an impact in the time you were at OHS.

Dave Olson Marianne Paul Jensen Making me feel like ¥1 million here. And for sure I remember you.

Dave Olson Funny how in those impressionable days of high school, we get defined, &/or define ourselves… I guess I was a little naïve about the different cliques and hierarchies of high school in the US… I had gone to four different schools in 10th grade and just desperately wanted to find a tribe to hang out with so tried to be friendly to everyone. Of course most people had known each other for years through junior high or the same church groups or whatever but I came in with none of those preconceive notions.

I’m sure I overcompensated for my nervousness with too much chatter and goofballery –

As it goes, no matter how “popular” one was in high school, we all had to go out in the world and find someway to make a living and make ourselves happy. It turns out there’s a little benefit to “peaking early” And being “cool” in high school doesn’t predict a future of life success/happiness.

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Rick Herlevi I was telling my kids the other day about the one and only time in my life that I hiked the Y. I skipped class and went with Kraig Kiggins, I think Cory was there and the two Canadian brothers that drove a limo and hiked they Y. Why would I ever want to do it again after that pinnacle experience.

infamous "Starlite" renegade limousine service with noted customer
infamous “Starlite” renegade limousine service with noted customer

Kelli Robison HerleviKelli and 24 others helped build Orem High School Class of 1988 by sharing it, inviting people or writing posts when the group was new. This convo definitely did take place very recently. It was probably our FHE lesson. I thought Rick was making up the story so he didn’t have to commit to a “Y” hike. But it looks like there’s truth to his story. I won’t make him hike the “Y” again. I can’t compete.

Dave Olson Next time, we will just drive the limo up to the Y with a catered picnic – It’s all true, even the parts that aren’t 🙂

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Cory DeMille Many great memories in this bus! Remember our Good the Bad and the Ugly video Party and camping in the bus in full cowboy regalia on OHS campus? Now that would be considered a terrorist incident!

"Earthship" VW bus in similar set-up as high school era - changes include a rebuilt interior, additional dings and a dog in the back
“Earthship” VW bus in similar set-up as high school era – changes include a rebuilt interior, additional dings and a dog in the back

Dave Olson Cory DeMille Oh great memory! Just the sound of popping popcorn on the bus’s stove would’ve created phone calls to the police about suspected gunshots

Dave Olson Also remember driving around and shooting Roman candle bottle rockets out the back of the bus, and later water balloons (filled from the bus’s sink) and big gulp cups through the “accidental” sunroof – would soak BYU students and act all nonchalant like “it wasn’t us”… Sometimes when chased, the only reasonable strategy was to drive really slow rather than trying to out run them. Those activities did produce some actual police incidents however

Cory DeMille We were dicks at times!

Dave Olson Cory DeMille Our revolution was not Instagramed (As such, no evidence thankfully)