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School Days Judi Evans (Bonnie, DAYS)

Judi Evans (Bonnie, DAYS) reminisces about her school days

What is your earliest school memory? “It was in kindergarten. I was sticking my hand into a box and feeling around for that ‘guess what that thing in the box is’.”

How would you describe yourself as a student? “First through third grade, horrible. From then on, I was a really good student, until my junior and senior year [of high school]. I took them together, and I also took night school courses, because I wanted to graduate early. I had no free period. I was also working as a waitress and taking [acting] classes in Hollywood. My grades fell, because it was a lot. I honestly just skated by.”

As a student, what came naturally to you and what subjects did you struggle with? “I loved English. I had a great English teacher in sixth, seventh and eighth grade, and his name was Mr. England. He made English fun. If you caught him using a preposition wrong, you got a plus mark. If he caught you using one wrong, you got a minus mark. It was up on the chalkboard all year. I also loved languages. For about five years, I took Spanish and French together, back-to-back. Originally, I wanted to be an interpreter. Then I wanted to be a doctor. So languages, English and science came easy to me. I struggled with geometry. It just didn’t make sense to me.”

When you were in grade school, who was your favorite teacher and why? “Mrs. McKay in the fifth grade. She loved teaching. She was very patient and very kind. She was strong, but a lovely person, and she made learning so much fun. Individually, [she focused on] what was your thing. I loved creative writing, and she encouraged me to write creatively every day. She inspired me beyond anyone. All of a sudden learning was fun, and school was fun, and it was fun to get A’s.”

When you were in high school, who was your favorite teacher and why? “Well, Mr. England. As a freshman, I had him for English. But I moved to a public school when I was a sophomore, then I took my junior and senior year together. Then it was Mr. Katz. He was my history teacher, U.S. history. He was very mellow and a cool dude. He didn’t scold me too badly as I slept through history, because it was second period.”
What extracurricular activities were you involved in? “During my sophomore year I was involved in the school play. I was also brought into one of the clubs, the Kiowas. They came to kidnap me in the middle of the night. Hazing was different back then. It wasn’t bad. We all went out to Denny’s and had breakfast. I was also on the tennis team.”

Were you a good test-taker? “Not at first, but my dad insisted I become a good test-taker. By the time I got to fourth grade, I would be drilled and drilled and drilled. I’d come home and go, ‘Look, I got a 99.’ My dad was like, ‘But you could have got a 100.’ So I became, ‘I’ve got to do better. I’ve got to do better.’ I become a good test-taker by default. And it became a challenge. How much better can I do?”
How often did you get in trouble/get detention? What did you get in trouble for? “I didn’t get detention too much. Maybe a couple of times. I got in trouble 
for talking. I would always hear, ‘Shut up.’ Or, ‘Judi, your voice is so grating. Stop 
talking.’ ”

What “crowd” were you in when you were in high school? “I was pretty much a loner. I didn’t fit in. I was pretty much a square peg. I kind of was on the outskirts of everybody’s group. I had a couple of really good friends, my friend Sabrina from the tennis team, and my friends Robin and Raul. They were very popular, president and vice president of the student body. To this day Raul and I still talk and see each other. We’re still real close.”

What is your favorite memory of high school? “We had this quad in the middle of the school. It was an outdoor gathering place where everybody ate lunch. One of my favorite memories was being there toward the end of my senior year. It was a beautiful spring day. ‘Tiny Dancer’ was playing. It was one of those snapshot early ’80s moments where there was peace and harmony, and everybody was happy. That memory pops up in my head a lot, just sitting in that quad and watching everybody.”

What’s the best book you read in high school?The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I loved that. Well, of course [laughs].”

What can you share about your college experience? “I went to junior college when I was 16. I went to Pasadena City College for two years, until I got on GUIDING LIGHT [where she played Beth]. But I always took acting [classes]. So I went there. I was enrolled. But did I really go to college? No. I took acting classes and stuck with them.”

Do you keep in touch with any of your classmates? “Yes, Raul especially. We just texted last week or the week before. We keep in touch all the time. I adore him.”

Have you been to any reunions? “Raul and Robin forced me into going to one. The three of us went together. We were each other’s date. We stayed for an hour or so and were then like, ‘Okay, we can say we did that now.’ ”

Judi Evans

Courtesy of Judi Evans

Judi Evans

Courtesy of Judi Evans