About Me

I am a proud wife and mother, and a born again Christian. I work from home as a writer while taking care of Miss N, our six-year-old, Miss M, our four-year-old and Miss C, our newest bundle of joy. Life is crazy but so much fun!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Eighth Grade - Embracing the Curls


I'm participating in a project called Mommy's Piggy Tales, which gives women like me the chance to record their youth in 15 blog posts. It's been a lot of fun and has helped me remember how important the seemingly unimportant things in life were when I was young. If you want to read the others, you will find them here: Birth story, preschool, first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, seventh grade. To participate in the project, click the button at the bottom of this post.

As I climbed aboard the bus to travel to the junior high building, a satellite campus for our Christian school as the high school had, in just one year, outgrown the newly built high school facility, my classmates turned their noses to the smell of freshly permed hair. I felt insecure as I realized it had not been washed, but I was proud of my “new” curls. It took a perm to tame the unruly mop, and I would always refer to that as “the perm that never grew out.” In reality, the perm taught me how to care for and wear the curly hair I already had.

That was an interesting year. I really bonded with one particular girl in our class, and then she joined the cheerleading squad. I was never athletic, and I certainly wasn’t cheerleading material. I didn’t care to talk about what color socks the “squad” was going to wear and whether they would wear scrunchies or French braids. I wanted to be part of the group with my friend, but that just wasn’t me. The line between “popular” and “me” was drawn even further. Thankfully, that particular gal and I had one thing in common – we both were highly driven to get good grades, eventually graduating co-valedictorians of our little class. We always ended up as homework buddies, so our friendship sustained itself through the years of cheerleading.

The Junior High building was a very old, very run down high school building in the not-so-good part of town. Every day we met at the main Christian school/church building, climbed on a bus, and drove over to the junior high building. There we took all of our classes, then climbed back on the bus and came back to the main building for electives, such as band, choir, art, and home ec. The air inside that bus filled to the brim with the smell of hairspray as all of us girls tried our best to tame our wind-blown mops of hair at the end of the bus ride before we had to enter the world of (gasp) upperclassmen. There was also the daily drama of “who will let me sit by them today” as we got on the bus. I remember one person (I can’t remember who) actually made a schedule of who she would sit with so all of her friends would get a turn. Here’s a picture of me and my best friend at the time, August B, on the bus.

A couple of events stand out to me from that year. One is PE class. We had a real gym with showers at that junior high building, and so we were required to shower. None of the girls wanted to shower, so often we wouldn’t, which I am sure everyone knew by the smell after gym class. However, since the teacher was male, he could not enforce the rule with his physical presence in the locker room. I had some physical problems that made it difficult for me to participate in PE for the most part (mostly just excuses on my part, but he bought them with a doctor’s note). As such, I did not have to shower.

He, however, thought I would be a good tattletale. I was required to tell him any girls who did not shower. Then, some the girls started having a fit about showering at a particular time of the month, so we had to sign a book if we didn’t shower. Anyone who signed that book more than once week a month or who I reported didn’t shower more than once a month was in trouble, as once week a month should cover “that” time. As someone who already struggled to fit in, this role was a hated one, but I was too much of a goody-two-shoes not to fulfill it. Again, the line between “popular,” and “me,” was drawn, but this time a teacher forced it there.

Another time I was sitting in history class with Mr. M., a teacher I really liked. A runner (student helper) came and called me, saying the principal wanted to see me. I had no idea what I had done, and with great fear and trepidation headed to the office. I sat down and Mr. Garrison very seriously asked me why I thought I was there. I wracked my brain but came up with nothing. Then, he erupted into a huge grin and told me I was getting the “Student of the Month” award. He scared the daylights out of me, because I thought I was in huge trouble. Today, Mr. Garrison teaches at my alma mater, a school in Wisconsin that I sometimes return to for fine arts events. Every time I see him he reminds me of that story, telling me the look on my face was priceless!

For the most part, eight grade was uneventful. It was yet another year of learning who we were, trying to figure out where we fit in, and simply learning more about the world. It was the year I embraced my curls, and beyond that I don’t remember much about it.



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7 comments:

piperparadise said...

I love hearing your story, as you grow each year. It triggers some more of my memories. I had forgotten about being a "runner" for 1 class period each day. And I had many perms too - none that took really though. I thought it was neat that you still see your old principal when you go back to your college!!

Crystal said...

Ah, the line between popular and everyone else! I wanted to be a cheerleader so bad, but I wasn't athletic either. And I was a super goody-two-shoes on top of it, so I was often not among the popular crowd. Jr high was just uncomfortable for me.
Luckily though at jr high we never were required to shower, though there was a facility for it. And everyone rumored one of the teachers was a lesbian so no one was brave enough to use the shower anyway. High school however we started getting graded on it (and not being athletic as I was, I couldn't afford to lose ANY points even for showering). Though we called it a 'towel shower' if it was that time, and I have always had a longer then average time of month, so I got out of it for about 2 weeks a month.
I am so glad to be out of all that world, aren't you?!

thecoolmom said...

Oh, how I remember those days of trying to avoid group showers. LOL It sounds like your teacher put you in a really awkward position. That's a shame. I"m pretty sure every year is a time of figuring out who we are and what we're about and how we fit in. :)
Thanks for visiting The Very Latest Thing and reading my story.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Oh I love the bus stories and the gym...so much I could remember. Wow Christian school...I am sure there were some in our city, but I never knew anyone who went there...everyone went to public school.
I think Jr High is a struggle for most people...no matter where you went.
Yes my Christian faith, family and I think even being first born kept my feet under me when the ugly things happened...I really don't remember any of it with pain...I guess I am tooooooo old!!!!
Thanks for stopping by my blog
Oh, my sister always said I was good enough to be a nun...so I guess that is like your goody-two-shoes!!!

Janna said...

I didn't realize you had actually gotten a perm. Yep, it never grew out.

Wow what a terrible job in PE. I remember having PE there in 7th grade too.

Hooray! You were student of the month. I would be panicked too:)

Janna said...

I didn't realize you had actually gotten a perm. Yep, it never grew out.

Wow what a terrible job in PE. I remember having PE there in 7th grade too.

Hooray! You were student of the month. I would be panicked too:)

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