Sunday, October 23, 2005

7th grade

Here is one more in a series of posts outlining my K-12 experience in public school district in central Maine. Here are the other posts: grade 6, more K-5, grades 3-5, grades K-2.

In my grade 6 post I already mentioned some aspects of the poisonous social atmosphere I encountered at school. But isn't that everyone's Jr. High experience? I never said I was unique. I'm just writing it down.

Throughout Jr. High I had a general feeling of wrongness. In 7th and 8th grade I started to feel more physically attractive, but still felt that there was something wrong with me. I hovered on the edge of the cool crowd. Sometimes I was invited to the cool kid parties, sometimes not. It felt terrible to not be invited, partly I think because there were just so few of us. It was a small town.

I think the greatest of party's was K.K.'s 13th birthday party. She turned 13 on Friday the 13th and she invited 13 friends. It was a blast. It was decadent. Somewhere I have a picture of us at that party. In fact, I think I have it scanned. I will see if I can find it because it is so, so funny. K.K. lived near the lake, so we ran around the woods and beach for awhile. I think we had a picnic, if I remember right. The details are hazy. I do remember that Top Gun had just come out on video and we watched it. We rewinded the part where Tom Cruise licks whats-her-name's neck 13 times. We found it simulaneously thrilling and repulsive. But our most decadent moment came later that night. Some of the girls (of course I was a mere onlooker) stuffed their nightgowns in to the front of their underwear to create a, eh-hem, bulge. It is impossible for me to describe the hilarity. Some of these girls were quite good physical comediennes. The next day my abdominal muscles hurt from laughing so hard. We remembered that little diversion years later when we read Lysistrata in AP English.

I'm not sure what I can say now about 7th grade to compare with that. 7th grade may have been my most challenging year academically, though it wasn't so hard. I occasionally clashed with my homeroom teacher because it was impossible for me to either respect or feel sorry for him. I would sometimes leave without asking for a pass just to annoy him. He called me a "smart ass" once and I told him I was gravely offended that he had used vulgar language in front of me. He made me write an essay on "rights vs. responsibilities." He was an odd duck. He picked his nose and flung it. No, I am not making this up. T, didn't you always sit in the back row during this guy's social studies class? I'm almost sure I remember you sitting back there. Wasn't he a nut? It makes me laugh to remember him and his sex-obsessed wife. She was the Home Ec teacher but her favorite thing was to talk about sex with children. I mean, talk to children about sex. (Watch out for those misplaced modifiers!)

Remembering that party seems to have put me in a very juvenile mood. So. One thing I remember about 7th grade is that I read a huge variety of books. And not all of them good, in fact many bad ones. My best friend was partial to the V.C. Andrews books. I read a few, and they were highly inappropriate. Pure trash. But then I would sometimes read short stories from my mother's college Freshman English text. I think that was the year I read To Kill a Mockingbird. The girls who sat beside me in homeroom read Sweet Valley High books. One of them loaned me one for silent reading one day I didn't have a book. I read it guiltily and hid it between my other books when I went to class. I knew it was silly stuff. And then I was discovered. One day J.H., a super-smart kid, discovered me covertly reading the Sweet Valley High book. He peered at me through narrowed eyes over his thick glasses and said reprovingly, "That is way below your reading level." I never read those books or any like them again.


Athena said...

Don't forget to send the photo to the blog. I wanna wanna see it!

Ave said...

I saw him pick his nose and fling it too! Not to mention his strange hip thrusting movements while standing by students desks.