So that’s a picture of me and my twin sister in high school. We were 15 years old at the time. Judging by our outfits, it looks like we were getting ready to go to school. Yes, that’s how we dressed for classes. True story: I had a baseball cap to match the suspenders. My style was heavily influenced by Lisa Bonet’s character, Denise Huxtable, from The Cosby Show. In fact, I’m still inspired by the actual Lisa Bonet. I just think she’s stunning and her style is just so effortless. You can see what I mean by clicking here.


What does back to school look like in your home or community this year?

This has been the oddest semester ever. I’m a library director at a local community college and we are just now returning to classes today. We were out for a week because of Hurricane Laura and, prior to that, we’ve been on a modified schedule due to the pandemic. I’ve established occupancy and mask rules for the library so that we’re in compliance with the orders of our governor. I haven’t had any issues with anyone violating the rules – our students are very respectful and they know that everything we do is with their best interest in mind.


Does your state or city offer a back to school tax free weekend? If so, do you plan your back to school shopping around it? What kinds of things do you buy?

We’re not having a tax free weekend. Even if we did, I don’t think I’d treat it any differently than I would any other weekend. If we want something and we can afford it, we get it.


Do your children wear school uniforms? If so, what do they look like? If not, is there a strict dress code in place? What are  your thoughts on school uniforms? Did you wear a uniform?

My kids did not wear uniforms, nor did we. Honestly, I don’t have an opinion one way or the other.


What did you want to be when you were growing up? Did you plan to go to college?

For the longest time, I wanted to be a combat photographer/reporter because of a novel called Message from Nam by Danielle Steel. I’d always planned to go to college. We lived in Italy, so I didn’t know much about American colleges, however, one of my favorite shows was The Cosby Show. Cliff and Claire Huxtable were graduates of the fictional Hillman University, an historically black college, and they always talked about it with such reverence and admiration. So I knew I wanted to go to an HBCU. I applied to and earned a partial scholarship to Dillard University in New Orleans. I didn’t graduate from there, but I did enjoy the experience and have many fond memories.


What sports did you play, what clubs were you in? Were you a cheerleader?

I was incredibly uncoordinated so no. I did try out for basketball one year, but I was so bad that the coach pulled me aside and told me that he appreciated my efforts and he loved my heart but I just didn’t have what it took. Much to my sister’s chagrin, he made me the team statistician and allowed me to travel to all the games.


Did you buy lunch or take lunch? If you took lunch from home, who made your lunch? What was your favorite school lunch?

As I stated above, we went to school in Italy. Our high school did not have a cafeteria, so we either walked to the elementary school or we ate at the bowling alley. Once they built a Burger King on base, it was a wrap. We spent as much time in the back of BK as we could. Those were good times.


To what group or clique did you belong? At my school we had the jocks, the parking lot gang, popular kids… Where did you fit in?

I was incredibly awkward and nerdy in school, so I didn’t have a clique. I had a couple of really good friends, but I was mostly known as “Shontel’s sister” or collectively as “The Twins.” I was teased a lot – light-skinned black girl with freckles, glasses, and braces.


Did you spend much time in the library? What was your favorite class?

Shout out to Mr. Wolford who used to let me hang out in the library to get away from the bullies. His rule was if I hung out in the library, I had to work or read. I spent a lot of time shelving books.


What are some of your favorite high school memories? Homecoming? Prom? Have you returned for any class reunions?

My twin sister and I were on the drama and debate team and whenever we’d have competitions, everyone would come to see us – even people from the other schools would cheer for us, because we were “The Twins.” You can tell from the picture above but we look nothing alike, but we were still a source of fascination for people.

I haven’t attended any class reunions. I keep up with the folks I want to keep up with on Facebook and I’ve seen a handful of them. I even had a childhood friend show up as a surprise nurse in the delivery room for my twins. The Hubs ended up staying with her and her family for the week that the babies and I were in the hospital.


How old were you when you started school? Did you have a favorite teacher?

I think we started at five. I had three favorite teachers:

  • Miss Kathy Devine – my elementary school teacher in Colorado Springs before we moved to Italy; she made me feel safe during an incredibly uncertain time in my life.
  • Mrs. White – my English teacher in Italy; she was a substitute, but I loved when I’d see her face when we walked into class. She was always smiling and encouraging.
  • Mr. Manzoline – my science teacher in Italy; he was the sweetest little old man.


ABOUT 10 on the 10th

10 on the 10th is hosted by Leslie at Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After. Leslie took over hosting duties for 2020 and, in true Leslie fashion, she decided to tweak things a bit…

Every other prompt will be 10 questions about a particular season or theme.  Leslie will share the questions a week before the 10 on the 10th post goes live.  The other prompts are asking you to make a list of things on the theme given.


I’d love to read your answers to a couple of these questions, please share in the comments below.


Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}





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