I read Lola's post today about her jr. high blues and it caused me to reflect on some of my own jr. high experiences. In celebration of being out of jr. high for twelve years, allow me to tell you twelve jr. high experiences.
1. My First Break-up
I had a boyfriend in sixth grade. Sorry Mom, if you're finding out like this. He was one of the bad boys, of course, because all girls love the boys who don't do well in school and spend loads of time in detention... er... Okay, so he met my two criteria of 1) liking me, and 2) not being physically repulsive. So he was my boyfriend. In sixth grade, we'd go for bike rides after school, or I'd go over to his house. My mom didn't know, of course. And for the record, although he was my "boyfriend," there was absolutely no physical contact between us ever. We just played together. But he dumped me in seventh grade because he liked a girl named Jenny.
2. My Second Boyfriend
And he passed me on to this other guy whose name I can't remember. He met one of my criteria; he liked me. But when he put his arm around me during a field trip, I realized that he really was physically repulsive and I dumped him immediately.
3. My Third Boyfriend
One day a group of friends decided that a boy named James and I should be boyfriend and girlfriend. They decided it. We never discussed it, but we reluctantly agreed that we would give it a try. We never had any physical contact and our friendship didn't change at all. But someone told my mom that I had a boyfriend and I went home that day to find out that I was grounded for a week.
4. Writing Lines
My eighth grade homeroom teacher (meaning that she was responsible to teach us half our classes while we'd go to other teachers for the other half) fought to have me in her homeroom. Apparently, during the summer between seventh and eighth grades, during a meeting where all the teachers were dividing the students, she said, "I don't care what losers you give me, as long as I get Cicada." Her specialty was physical education, so she was also my gym teacher. Sometimes I'd purposely forget my gym clothes so that I could sit out and write lines instead of participating in class. I'd rush through all the lines I was supposed to write and then I'd write funny lines. They were always complimentary to her, of course. Then she'd hang my lines on her office wall. She never gave me an A in her gym class. But I always knew I was one of her favorites, and that was enough.
5. My Fight
I have already talked about my fight in great detail.
6. Sorel Boots
Although it was northern Ontario and winters were terribly cold and we had to spend an entire hour outside during recess, we as kids dumbly decided that it was not cool to zip up your coat. It was not cool to wear a hat. It was not cool to wear mittens. It was not cool to wear a scarf. And it really was not cool to wear Sorel boots. One day, my dad made me wear Sorel boots to school. I cried. A lot. They were so huge I could barely even shove them in my locker once I got to school. Later in the day, he brought me roses because he felt bad for causing me extreme humiliation. Some people might have been embarrassed to receive roses from their dad in jr. high. I was just convinced that I had the greatest dad ever.
7. Burned Pancakes
Mom would make us pancakes in the mornings on a fairly regular basis. She'd make them and then stick them in the microwave on 10% power for a half hour so that when we were ready for breakfast, we could just pull the pancakes out of the microwave. One day, Reggie Tenenbaum and/or The Boy put the pancakes in the microwave on 100% power for a half hour. After about twenty-give minutes, the entire house stank. It stank so bad that we couldn't go to the main level of the house and breathe. The mustard-colored silk shirt that I wore that day was permanently ruined by the stench. Our microwave was thrown out.
8. El Senor Hated Me
There's enough material here to write an entire post some day, but let's just say that El Senor and I didn't get along when we were growing up. Problems between us marked my entire childhood. One particular jr. high experience was learning that he had composed a song for his high school music class. It was called "Dropping Bricks on Cicada's Head."
9. I Had Really Bad Hair
Mom, what were you thinking? Not only did I have bad hair (my mom hasn't bought a scanner yet, so I don't have proof, but really---think a tight, short-haired perm, that I would gel... sick) but I had bad makeup. For some reason, my mom thought that jr. high was an appropriate time for a girl to start to wear makeup. My pictures from this time period have convinced me that my daughters won't be able to wear makeup till high school and then, only under strict supervision. Oh, and braces. Ugh.
10. I Liked Star Trek...
...way too much.
11. I Can Finally Admit I Had a Crush on My Geography Teacher
I did! I really did! But I haven't ever told anyone, I don't think, and now I'm telling the whole internet. I have denied it for years, but I may as well let it out now. The funny thing is that I swear I found him in our local paper's classifieds. I'd read the classifieds with a friend and make fun of all the single people putting ads out. One day, I read one aloud to her and asked, "Who does that make you think of?" Without any hints from me, she immediately identified the man as our geography teacher. The ad started with the words "No more games." The next day in class, I told him that I had had a dream with him in it, and then the words "No more games" appeared. He went practically white and I asked him, "What do you think it means?" He said, "I think it means you need to get back to work." I said, "I think it means I should stop reading the classifieds." Oh, the witty banter we had... Mr. Geography Teacher, where are you now?
12. I Had Big Boobs
It's true. I may as well admit this, too. And one day, I had to run a race for gym class. I was competing against one girl and I simply wasn't fast enough. After the race, my above-mentioned third boyfriend commented to me, "You would have won, but your boobs got in the way." And I know that I can share this with the internet, because it always made my mom laugh when I told her that, so she won't be mad that I just shared it with everyone.
Lola, I wouldn't trade places with you. But live it up while you can.