Once upon a time in Phoenix, in the fall of 1980, my high school journalism teacher, Mrs. Finerman, was standing before the class, her voice thick with Willy Wonka mystery.
"This is a very special room," she told us. "Years ago, right here, a man by the name of Vincent Furnier wrote for this school newspaper."
We all shrugged, unimpressed.
"Annnd...?" someone finally asked in a polite why-should-we-care tone.
It was the first week of my junior year at Cortez High School. I had no purpose in life at the time, except to daydream about being a bestie to the lead singers of my favorite bands -- Heart, Blondie, the Cars. Basically any group on KUPD's rotation.
I loved to write and figured joining the newspaper staff with my best friend, Dana, would be a way to exercise my blooming creativity.
Mrs. Finerman's dramatic intro certainly piqued my interest.
"Vincent Furnier...changed his name to...Alice Cooper," she revealed, smiling brightly through her shiny frosty pink lipstick. "And up on top of that bookcase," she informed, pointing across the room, "you can see where he scratched in his name in the wood."
As a chubby, shy, rock 'n' roll-loving chica on a mostly Anglo campus, I didn't exactly have a social comfort zone. In this era of my life, I (stupidly) boycotted all things related to my culture -- the food, quinceañeras, and most definitely anything related to low riders. I just wanted to be what I thought was a "normal" 16-year-old. However, I was too geeky for the Mexican-American clique and too insecure about my super-curly hair, olive skin, and the "Kathy CHIcano" name jokes.
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