April 9, 2020

I stumbled upon an innocuous Facebook challenge today. Seeing no harm, I accepted it. Basically, an old friend was asking people to post their senior year high school yearbook photos to support and applaud the graduating class of 2020. So I did.

Now I’m usually not a conspiracy theorist, but I have no other explanation for the hair and outfits I was wearing during my high school years. It had to be a devious plot (50 years in the making) to completely embarass those of us who lived in that time.

yearbook 4.jpg

I mean, seriously? This was a picture day which means I chose that outfit knowing I’d be photographed. This is in my yearbook in one of the group photos in which I posed. I have no idea what I was thinking. Did fashion not exist back then? When were mirrors invented anyway?

Paisley shirts with Peter Pan collars and a “dickey?” Coupled with bell bottom jeans and half boots that zippered up? And could I not have chosen a wider watch band? It’s no wonder I never got any dates in high school.

Now, my hair I can explain. That was straight up rebellion. My father (a straight-laced middle school gym teacher) is the one who took me to get my hair cut as a child. He dragged me to his barber shop – run by a bunch of guys from Jersey who he met at the track. Not only did they practice the bowl cut, I think they invented it. Razor cut on the side, scissor cut up top. And they used a grease stick to make the bangs stick straight up. Hated it.


So when I became a teen, I decided to skip the haircuts. And for some reason, my parents let me have my way. Hence the long locks in the first picture. It was unkempt, uncomfortable, unattractive and deep down I knew it but was too stubborn to admit I was wrong. However, when senior picture day was approaching I decided it was time to do something about it. Instead of visiting Vinnie and the bowl cut gang, I opted to spend the big bucks and go to a high class “salon.” I still remember the name. It was dubbed “Rape of the Lock.” Why that didn’t send up a red flag, I’ll never know.

So, I went with my tangled mop of hair and told them to give me a cut suitable for my high school senior photo.  I paid for it with my own money. Here’s what they gave me:


Only one word for it… shagerific!

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

The Accident


It is funny the things you remember.

I was a junior in high school. During spring break, I went on an extended camping trip with my dad to visit nine college campuses in hopes to narrow my preferences. It was a profitable but tiring trip (I ultimately decided upon Westminster College in New Wilmington PA) and we were both glad to be heading home. We were about twenty miles from our house on Interstate 95 when our rear tire exploded. From then, everything seemed to go into slow motion (even though we were traveling around 65 mph.)

All of our camping gear was loaded into the back of our trusted Ford Fairlaine station wagon. When we lost the tire, we drifted into the left lane and as our luggage and camping gear shifted in the back, we lost control of the now unbalanced car which spun around 180 degrees so we were facing the oncoming traffic as we slid back across the 3 lanes of the highway and onto the shoulder and adjacent hillside.

After checking to make sure I was ok and giving thanks that we did not impact any other vehicles, my dad came up with the game plan. He would stay with the car and our possessions while I flagged down a motorist and catch a ride to the next exit where I would arrange for a tow truck to get us off the highway. I was also tasked with finding a pay phone to call home and tell my mother that we had been in an accident. This was before the age of cell phones.

No matter how nonchalant you try to sound, when you call collect to tell your mother that you’ve been in an accident, you should prepare yourself for a world of worry and concern to come your way. I tried to convey that we were ok and just needed a ride home but I’m not sure she believed me.

In just under an hour, my mother raced into the gas station where our car was brought. She was wearing a housecoat, slippers and I remember distinctly, a pair of ankle socks with puffy pom poms sewn above the heels. As she hurried anxiously to us, our well-being her only concern, I reacted as only an oblivious teenager could.

“Jeez, Mom… Did you have to wear those socks?”

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

Have you ever worn a baby blue tuxedo? I have.


Memories can have a bit of a love/hate relationship with our minds. For instance, I love thinking back on my high school days – the friendships, the fun, and the anticipation for what the future might bring. But then I see the pictures. Of me. In the 1970s. Looking and dressing like I did. Seriously, of all the decades throughout time, was fashion ever at a lower point than what we wore in the 1970s? What were we thinking? Were we thinking at all? No wonder I didn’t date much.

Let’s take a virtual tour through my 70s closet:

Immediately, we’d see a light blue denim leisure suit with large panel pockets. You couldn’t miss it. It kind of leaps out at you. This would be worn over a silk paisley shirt with Peter Pan collars. And for formal events, all we need do is to add on a Puka shell necklace and we’re ready to hit the town. We be stylin’.

For everyday wear: Bell bottomed blue jeans, (preferably ripped and faded) and a t-shirt is all we needed. And we had multiple mix and match pairings to choose from. During the summer, we would just take scissors to those jeans and make ourselves a pair of cut-off shorts which inevitably became shorter and shorter as we tried to even up the sides until the pockets kind of peeked out from the bottom legs.

For the winter, as the weather turned cold, we owned a large assortment of dickies. False turtlenecks worn beneath collared shirts. Turns out, we weren’t fooling anyone.

And don’t get me started on hairstyles (which is a misnomer – we didn’t style anything… we just let it grow. Long.) Unkempt would probably be the best description I could use. Greasy could be another.

But probably our biggest embarrassment would be in the swimwear category. Speedos were king around our neighborhood. And we wore them without shame. It wasn’t until much later that we saw just how unflattering they can be.

So, we can see that reflecting on memories is often a mixed bag. I have many fond recollections interrupted by just as many cringe-worthy memories. But even those fashion faux-pas memories are ones that I cherish. As should you. They are part of who we grew to become and let’s face it… they are uproariously funny to watch again and remember… as embarrassing as they may be.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of film, video, audio, photos and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit