SAT Test

February 27, 1969

February 27, 1969

 This entry captures my skewed priorities during my senior year (aka known as my Great Depression). Getting accepted at UCLA was momentous (and kind of crucial, since I neglected to apply to any other institution of higher learning). It was truly life changing.

Reading acceptance letter from UCLA
Reading acceptance letter from UCLA

That said, my obsessive focus was on pinpointing where I stood in my relationship with X – talk about an absurd waste of time!  A mollusk could’ve deduced I was nowhere – the same place I’d been for almost two years.

Even a Mollusk would know
Even a Mollusk would know

It’s a peculiar kind of hell, pretending to be satisfied being “just friends” with somebody  you’re madly in love with. To level the “just friends” playing field, I invented a boyfriend to compete with his living girlfriend. When he tortured me by rhapsodizing about how much he loved her,  I could retaliate with my make-believe relationship with the non-existent Pericles. (I gave him a more normal name which is not to imply he was one iota more believable.)

The letter that forged my destiny
The letter that forged my destiny

To render an already pitiful situation more pathetic, I repeatedly pulled my fictional punches. Instead of touting my relationship with Pericles as a love affair for the ages, at the slightest hint X might be interested in me again, I kicked poor Pericles to the curb. My brilliant reasoning  went, “X secretly wants to come back to me but he’s afraid he’ll be rejected for Pericles! Play it smart. Tell him you dumped Pericles so you’re fully available to him.”

Saying goodbye to Santa Clara
Saying goodbye to Santa Clara

Yeah, that’ll work every time – somewhere other than the planet earth. Suffice to say, my Herculean efforts to recapture X’s heart failed miserably. When I left Santa Clara (as it turned out, for good – and in June, not September) I never expected to see or hear from X again – but at least I had UCLA in my future.  And that’s what actually mattered.

December 7, 1968

december-7-1968

Baby Boomers approached the SAT exam far more casually than millennials or gen-Xers. We didn’t hire tutors or spend Saturday afternoons in training seminars practicing multiple choice questions. We faced the exam armed only with our sharpened #2 pencils and took the darn thing cold.

Speaking strictly for myself, I didn’t even review fundamental math concepts[1] – how to determine the circumference of a circle, for example –  even though that’s the kind of information I didn’t retain then, forget now. As Peggy Sue observed in Peggy Sue Got Married, my lack of knowledge didn’t hinder me in “real” life.

I didn’t score a perfect 1600 – nobody I knew then did – but I didn’t embarrass myself.  Stanford and Yale weren’t going to ply me with scholarships but UCLA said yes (with no scholarship).  My score wouldn’t get me through their door today.

Reading my acceptance letter to UCLA in the fall of '68.
Reading my acceptance letter to UCLA in the fall of ’68.

I was good at taking tests but not great like my sisters, both of whom the state of California deemed “Gifted”.  Because of Janet’s and Joyce’s impressive IQs, the Board of Education invested considerable time and resources on the assumption I, too, might be a bit gifted. Alas, at best I was “above average” – which isn’t even in the same zip code as “gifted”.

Two of these three sisters are gifted. Who's the dummy? Hint - look for a vapid stare instead of a smile.
Two of these three sisters are gifted. Who’s the dummy? Hint – look for a vapid stare instead of a smile.

Did it bother me, being the dumbest Knutsen sister? Not as much as you’d think, since I was the oldest – so by default, the wisest. I suspect my IQ was sabotaged by my abysmal performance in “Spatial Reasoning”. How bad am I at Spatial Reasoning? I rank in the 20th percentile, meaning 80% of the entire USA population is smarter at spatial reasoning than me.

Will they fit?
Will they fit?

There’s always a silver lining, though.  I haven’t loaded luggage or groceries in a car trunk for decades.  I smile and say, “I’d love to help but I’m terrible at spatial reasoning – and I can prove it.”

[1] I do not recommend this approach.

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