Saturday, February 18, 2012

So, where did you go to school?

While on Facebook a couple of weeks ago I came across a posting by a college professor who is conducting a study on the impact of the high school question on non-St. Louisans. She is looking for St. Louis residents who were not born and raised here to answer some questions. I immediately posted a response on her Facebook status as I have many things I would love to tell her about my experiences. When we moved to St. Louis Jim and I were starting a whole new life - newly married, new jobs, new home, new city...all the major stress points in life except a death in the family. At a party we were asked where we went to school, and we replied, "Iowa State". After getting a blank stare, the guy said, "No, where did you go to high school?" When I answered, "Hoover High", the guy literally turned around and walked away. That was just our first experience with the St. Louis obsession about where you went to high school. Unfortunately it was not our last.

A few days after I posted I received a phone call from a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter, wanting to know if I would talk to her about my experiences. We had quite a chat, and I was candid about how it made us feel being new professionals to the St. Louis area. I never really thought that we would stay here more than a few years. But here we are 33 years later. The article by the reporter made the front page of the Post-Dispatch on February 7th. I made the first line of the article. It was a pretty interesting piece, and it has generated a LOT of conversation both on the website and on Facebook. People have very strong feelings about the question, both positive and negative. As I said, I don't object to anyone asking me the question - I object to the way I am treated after I answer it. If you decide after talking to me for a bit that I am not interesting and not worth your time, fine. But to dismiss me simply because I did not graduate from high school here? To me that is pretty shallow and narrow-minded. But perhaps that tells me that I don't want to waste my time getting to know you either. At any rate, the study should be interesting. I have already answered the first set of questions and have volunteered to be interviewed further. If you live here but are not from here and want to participate, let me know. I'll forward the survey to you.

I'll leave my best quotable quote with you - the one that did not end up in the newspaper. When the reporter asked me when things changed for my husband and me here, I told her after we started our family. Then people were more interested in where my kids were going to preschool than where I went to high school.

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

Funny in that pathetic sort of way.....