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Alma Mater (School’s Out, 1972)

“Alma Mater” Lyrics:

Rain is falling down my cheek
Searching for the sea
Tomorrow, like the rain
I’ll be back home again

I watch the bus
As it pulls out of view
Someday like that bus
I will be leavin’ too

But you know
It breaks my heart
To leave you
My high school

And now, alone
Cryin’ in my beer
‘Cause old friends said “Goodbye”
I guess I’ll be leavin too

But you know
It breaks my heart
To leave you
I’ll miss you

Yes I will
Yes I will
You know I will

Yes I will
Yes I will
You know I will

Well so long (so long)
Everybody (everybody)
I hope that I would see you again (again)
Goodbye (goodbye)
Everybody (everybody)
I finally grew up
They finally let me out of school

Hey, remember the time – ‘member the time
We took that snake and we, we put it down little Betsy’s dress?
Now I don’t think Miss Axelrod was much impressed
Now I don’t think Miss Axelrod was much impressed
Well I don’t think Miss Axelrod was much impressed

Oh, goodbye (goodbye)
Everybody (everybody)
I hope that I would see you again (again)
So long (so long)
Everybody (everybody)
How do you like that
They finally let me out of school
Goodbye (goodbye)
Ah, I wanna get out of here (So long)
They let me out of school ( I finally got out of school)
How ’bout that, uh?
Hey, goodbye, guys
Maybe I’ll see –
Maybe I’ll see you around some time, uh?
‘Ey, don’t make a stranger of yourself, uh?
Remember the Coop, uh?
May –
I ho –
I hope – you don’t – forget me or nothin’

​The School’s Out LP was released in 1972. It was an album dedicated to the antics, altercations, and gravitas surrounding the moments and lessons learned in high school and the transitions that occurred just before and after graduation.

School’s Out sent Alice Cooper over the top. Their determination and hard work on previous records and tours had lifted them to a new level. As the follow-up album to Killer, School’s Out reached No. 4 on the UK album charts, No. 2 on the US Billboard 200, and No. 1 on the Canadian RPM Top 100.

The album cover looks like a school desk. It lifts open to reveal the record and what looks like the inside of a desk. Many trinkets and school oddities are pictured inside, including a slingshot, crayons, a comic strip, an English folder, and a quiz (complete with song list and credits).

Like many Alice Cooper albums, this LP was an experience, not just a record. As the record spins and the listener studies the album cover, one can’t help but remember their school experiences.

The stage show did not change much due to time constraints between releasing Killer and School’s Out. However, the setlist traded out some songs and moved others around.

New songs from the album that were added to the show were “Public Animal #9,” “Gutter Cat vs. The Jets,” “Street Fight (which was played as a track loop over a PA system), and the notorious title track, “School’s Out.”

Also, during the show, Alice is stabbed in a street gang brawl, then ultimately hung during the song “Killer.”

What’s so unique about this LP is the experience. Anyone who has been to school can relate. The emotions, the teachers, the friends, the tests, the fights, the relationships, the goodbyes, the end of school, etc., are all accounted for on the record.

Alma Mater,” the second to last track on the record, is a song about graduation and the bittersweet tale of transition. In the song, we witness the awkwardness of departure. We are reminded of the uncertainty that leads to something special and the anticipation of what comes next.

Neal Smith wrote the song and was the only member of the band who attended Camelback High; the other members attended Cortez High. However, the other members also contributed. References to both schools, including characters that walked the halls, are listed.

How often do we reflect on our time in school? High school. College. The yesteryears of life. How many of us still talk to friends from that era? How much of that period do we remember? Are they good memories or bad ones?

As students graduate from high schools, colleges, and universities worldwide, we are reminded of our time in those institutions. This time of the year is a significant place to look back at the lessons learned, the people we met, the people we lost, and a glimpse of what’s next.

As life continues moving forward, there’s a narrative that’s unfolding in the process. The story of our lives is being written. If we take a look at the last five years, can we see a theme or underlying goal that has been placed in our path?

Does that path align with God’s Word? Are we still moving towards it, or has the momentum stalled?

Time and circumstance often lead us to inventory our time here on Earth. Are we really who we say we are? Do we put the most important things first?

“Hey, goodbye, guys
Maybe I’ll see –
Maybe I’ll see you around some time, uh?
‘Ey, don’t make a stranger of yourself, uh?
Remember the Coop, uh?
May –
I ho –
I hope – you don’t – forget me or nothin’

You can hear the awkwardness in Alice’s voice in the lines listed above. A great deal of self-seeking often occurs during those uncomfortable stages of early adulthood, and graduation offers every student a completion milestone – a stepping stone of sorts. But with that, there is also apprehension.

The thought of starting over, making new friends, and leaving the old for the new is a scary experience. Sometimes, such things keep us from stepping out of the ‘comfort zone’ where we hide our thoughts, emotions, and who we are.

How often does the fear of rejection hold us back? Does it keep us from seeking His greatness?

Many questions are purposely being raised in this post. But the bottom line is this: are we satisfied? Are we content with where He’s placed us and what He’s called us to be?

“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”Philippians 4:11-13

Paul’s words in these verses are powerful! How many of us can honestly say we’ve reached that place? To be content, no matter the circumstances.

At times, it feels like life is a pendulum. The back and forth, or peaks and valleys, can get the best of us if we’re not careful. Whether we are graduating from school, dealing with tragedy, starting a new career, or striving towards something new, the book of Psalms can carry us through many of life’s struggles.

Psalms is a beautifully written book of sonnets and poems that serve as an instruction manual for the trickier, more uncertain moments in life.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

Psalms 34:8-14

In short, these verses call on us to seek and apply God’s Will for our lives. They give us simple instructions – “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

When presented with a task from Him (something we know in our heart that needs to be done), do not fear the mission. Keep an open heart and mind, and expect to learn and witness His Greatness.

In verse 8, it’s as if God is saying, “Try this; I know you’ll like it. Take that first step. Be Faithful. Put your Trust in me, etc.” God is encouraging us before He gives the directive.

In the following few verses, we find the word “fear,” and many tend to decipher its meaning incorrectly. It is often used to depict God as some boogeyman – ready to strike down anyone who makes mistakes. But instead, the actual meaning of “fear” is “to show deep respect and honor.”

The passage reveals that our fear of the Lord (AKA love and reverence for Him) is shown through our actions and obedience to Him.

So, what does that look like?

By being honest, turning from evil, doing good, and promoting peace, we show the rest of the world our love for God and His Word. It requires effort and hard work – it doesn’t come naturally.

Paul echoes this sentiment in Romans 12:18, which reads, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with EVERYONE.”

In almost every part of our lives, we must be willing to give to receive. For instance, respect is given to those who respect others, love is given to those who show love, and so on. It seems counterintuitive to the world, but there’s power in humility.

Wrapping up this week’s post, transition and change often happen in life. Some changes are evident, such as graduating from high school, while others are less obvious and force us to take action without notice.

Go back and review some of the questions discussed earlier in the post. As we consider their answers, let us reflect on how we have handled transition and change.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
  a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The above-listed verses address the cold, hard truths of this world. “There is a time for everything.”

As moments come and go, adjustments in life take place. During those seasons, may we learn to seek, respect, and honor Him in all things.

Milestones help us see things differently, especially with Him. In Christ, we find tranquility amidst the chaos. We find consistency even in uncertainty. We find significance in the most unlikely, sometimes lesser things. We see Him EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING. His Word becomes our “Alma Mater.”

In conclusion, “Alma Mater” stirs up many emotions. It reflects on that joyful yet scary time when someone is genuinely about to experience freedom after so many years of ‘school’ or ‘detention.’ You can feel the celebration but with a twist of angst and anxiety.

Growing up is a multifaceted experience. And some phases of maturity take longer than others. At some point, we may even find ourselves alone in our struggles.

As “Alma Mater” ends, a “Happy Trails” western-style tune replaces the melody. At that point, the listener most assuredly visualizes a Lone Ranger-type character riding ALONE into the sunset – leaving everyone and everything they’ve ever known behind.

The day is coming when we will “finally get out of school.” Have we passed the test? Do we know and walk with the One that gives life everlasting? There’s no time like the present to seek and know Him before we say ‘Goodbye’ for good.

That’s it for this week. Be well, and catch you next Friday!

Until then, Keep Walkin’ in Faith and Rockin’ with Alice!

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior?

If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer:

"God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

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