9 min read

Chapter Five

Chapter Five

Teen Years

My teenage years were... ugh! Being my nervous, introverted, grossly self-conscious self, I didn't have a bucket-load of friends. As I look back, I can see how I may have tried to gain the attention of others – not that I wanted attention, per se, but that I desperately wanted to fit in, have friends, and the feeling of belonging. I never achieved it.

I had some health problems during my teens which seemed to be accentuated by my mom who always tried to make me better than the Janet Bosch I was. I was thick in the middle; mom had a tiny waistline. I had acne pretty bad; mom had beautiful skin. I was hairy; mom didn't have much body hair (she never shaved her legs – there never was any hair). My periods were horrendously painful, frequently causing me to miss 2-3 days of school when I had one (not at all regular); I usually ended up with an upper respiratory infection during those days, returning to the classroom sick, coughing, and snotting. Off to the gynecologist we went where I was totally humiliated as she sat in the exam room while the doctor did his duty. I realize she was there to comfort me but it made me even more self-conscious. Then came Cleveland Clinic for a more intense exam; the final diagnosis wasn't good and I left feeling less of a female, less of a daughter, less of anything and everything. No children in my future according to the experts. Little did they know that God had other plans!

All in all, our differences were great in number; my feeling of "not belonging" just grew deeper as I grew older. I couldn't please her with the way I looked, the way I acted, the way my body functioned, the way I sweated, the way my clothes fit ... it just never happened. Even as an adult, she couldn't understand my choices or lifestyle.

My Hair

My hair challenged my mom and eventually challenged me. It was curly, but it wasn't. It was easy to style, but it wasn't. It was dark brown, but it wasn't.

Mom insisted on using pincurls on the top of my head to give my face a not-so-round appearance. Once I was in my own room, I began experimenting with my hair. Brush rollers, small and large. They were horrible to sleep in but I was determined to have hair like other girls in high school.

When the Beatles began rising in popularity, I decided to do what many others were doing – cut my hair to look like their hair, complete with bangs. Mom freaked! I thought it was kind of cute. Off to the beauty salon we went for them to "fix" my hair without bangs!

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By the time I graduated, silvery strands began to appear. I did my best to cover them and dyed my hair dark brown. Then I tried using Sun-In during the summer to lighten my hair thinking the silvery gray would blend in. I could never get it to lighten up. By late teens, my silvery strands became noticeable on the crown of my head. I now think my premature gray was due to a life of anxiety and fear of disappointing my parents.


I could probably count on my hand the number of real friends I had. Most girls were groupies and I never fit in though I tried! Jill Stevens, Beryl Folley, Linda Burnham, Chris LoPresti ... that was about it. Of course, the list didn't include friends from church. If I was part of a "group", it was at church. Ria Schenk, Judy Keller, and I were a three-some, doing church-related stuff together. There were some guys I liked there but I couldn't even pay them to go out with me. So much for that! Actually, I'm FB friends with a couple of them today – it's odd how the years change people's opinions!

Once again, my memory of the topic of friends included my mom. If I began a friendship with someone she didn't approve of, she wouldn't allow me to be around them. For instance, there was a girl who lived on Grace Ave. in North Olmstead – her name (interestingly) was Anita Ross. She was tall and big-boned and not very attractive; she had no friends. Another girl, Sue Bannerman, was also someone I attempted to be friends with but mom was opposed. Sadly, Sue had to leave school because she was pregnant (obviously she had at least one friend). I never knew what happened after that. If mom had done that today, she would be "fat-shaming" anyone who was bigger than her idea of normal. I truly think she was ashamed of me although I wasn't fat.

I could tell more stories about mom's reaction to people who were out of the norm, but there's enough here for anyone to really understand. She was very opinionated, to say the least!

High School Years

A typical weekend for me was basically quiet. My parents usually had friends and/or family over on Saturdays to enjoy the pool and my dad's love of barbeque. I never ventured out on a weekend night without Mom and/or Dad until after I graduated.

North Olmsted After School Programs | Horizon Education Centers
North Olmsted High School (Old)

One night, Linda Burnham and I went to King Richard's Pizza and ordered a pitcher of beer. Ha! I hated it but the music was great, the lights, the sound of people! We were sitting at a long table with benches for seats when a guy came up and began to talk to us. I didn't get his name, but I figured he was more interested in her than in me. A horrible story evolved from that encounter that I'll just leave out for now.

That was my first introduction to a fun pizza/beer place without my parents. We soon found The Corrall in Olmsted Falls. It was usually packed out on Saturday nights with older teens and early twenties due to the live bands, lights and drinks! After a couple beers, though, we were afraid to stay any longer lest trouble at home brewed.

I never went to a school dance. Was never invited. Wasn't allowed. Or too insecure to sneak out and go by myself. Never went to a prom, either. I tried paying a couple guys at church to take me but they weren't interested. I offered to pay for tux rental, flowers and a limo and they still turned me down.

My First Car

This is a "sore spot" so I'll treat lightly on this topic. For my 17th birthday, Dad bought a 1967 Camaro and gave me the keys. The deal was that when I graduated and had a job, we would split the payments and I would pay for my insurance and upkeep on the car. The picture looks very much like my car but mine had a white convertible top with a white boot.

Chevy Camaro First Generation Camaro Pictures

She was a beauty and the guys at church thought it was neat! Honestly, it bothered me that Dad drove it to work but wouldn't allow me to drive it to my place of employment. He allowed me to "take" him to work, dropping me off at the Rapid Transit station on West 117th and he would take it to work. I had to take the Rapid and a bus home every day while he drove "my" car. If it needed tires, I had to pay for them. If it needed repair work, I had to pay for it. When we got married, Dad kept the car and gave it to Danny who totaled it while driving under the influence in Lakewood. That accident nearly killed him; his life went downhill pretty fast after that.

I took one semester of Driver's Ed during my junior year in school. The semester was split in half – first half in the classroom and second half on the road with the instructor. We were required to learn how to drive both manual and automatic shift cars for which I'm thankful. I can drive just about anything because I had the experience on a manual.

I took my driver's test in Dad's Malibu in Cleveland during a snowstorm. The snow was piled on the side of the roads and I had to parallel park in the icy snow. I passed without any trouble, but it was definitely a daunting experience!

North Olmsted High School

Class of 1969 ...

Football Team won State. Band won State. Choir won State. It was a year of wins for our Class. For me, however, it was less impressive. My grades were lower than mediocre except in my business-related classes where I excelled. I hated gym – couldn't do much of the stuff required by President Kennedy's Fitness Program. Hated the required gang showers while our PE Teacher looked on to be sure we washed and were clean.

I hated biology but I believe that was because of the teacher. I loved English and did well with Writing and Grammar classes. I excelled in Business Math, Shorthand, Typing, and Secretarial classes. I didn't like the two years of Latin although my grades weren't bad. Mrs Elliot, our teacher, allowed us to cheat so no one would get bad grades from her!

Choir and Glee Club were highlights of my days. Mr. Whitmore made that time enjoyable to learn. Music was definitely one of my fortes. I had accompanied the choir from my elementary days and was back-up to Steve Sidorak in high school (he was definitely amazing on the keys and deserved top billing).

I had a place in the crowd of onlookers when we performed "The Music Man" on stage. I loved getting dressed up in the costumes and just being a part of the production even if it was pretty generic. I should have done more of this as I grew older – a missed opportunity for sure!

Graduation day couldn't come soon enough ... I was ready to get started in life. Before I graduated I had already been hired by Shapiro, Kendis & Petro, a Workmen's Comp law firm on Public Square in Cleveland; I worked weekends and holidays until after graduation. It was an odd fit for me in that, while I loved the law firm atmosphere, the firm had basically employed family and I (once again) was the oddball. Dad was upset for two reasons: First, it was a Jewish law firm and his prejudices didn't set well with his daughter working for Jews. Second, my starting pay was $325/month – he was convinced I should have been compensated better.

Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six
Chapter Seven Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve
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