I adjusted fairly well to my new environment. I quickly made friends with a girl in our neighborhood we will call Penny who went to the public school. I also made a conscious decision to get a boyfriend as soon as possible. Just in case the rumor made its way to my new world I would have a plan to disintegrate it. Public middle school was like entering New York City having only been in Amish country my whole life. I went from being around upper middle class white kids to actually becoming friends with people of all nationalities. We switched classes, had our very own lockers, saw fist fights, passed notes, and wore REAL clothes to school.
Penny was good friends with Mary. We all three became besties. We all know how three girls interact with each other. It is never good. Either Penny and I were tight and Mary was left out or Mary and Penny were tight and I was left out. I was always a leader but I made a decision to be a follower in middle school. It seemed the safest way to survive. Penny was our leader. We managed okay and I discovered BOYS. There was a particular group of boys that enthralled me. We called them the Westside Peace Posse (That is not a pseudonym we really called them that, LOL!) One of us was always “dating” one of them. I use the term “dating” loosely because what does one actually do when you are dating in middle school? It consisted of talking on the phone and passing notes in school and maybe holding hands in the hallways.
By eighth grade I just knew I was the only one in my entire school that hadn’t had their first kiss. All my friends were cheering me on to reach this junior high milestone. Then the first junior high dance of the year came. Ted was my boyfriend. My friends told Ted I wanted to be kissed. So my first kiss was literally his friends pushing him and my girlfriends pushing me and we awkwardly bumped and kissed in the middle. I think we broke up a week later.
Most of my weekend nights were spent at Roxy Wheels with Penny and Mary. We waited for the Westside Peace Posse boys to arrive. I was usually sporting my Z Cavaricci or Girbaud jeans (tight rolled of course), my Bum shirt with my hair teased and my bangs five inches high. Gorgeous! I remember locking pinkies with Mary and Penny and speed skating together in sync. We were so cool.
I heard the rumor a few times during these years but it wasn’t that big of a deal. I had my friends, they knew me and I felt accepted for the first time in my life. But acceptance came with a price. In order to be cool I had to do a few things that I was not proud of. There was dishonesty on many levels in my life during that time. Sometimes, in order to be accepted, right or wrong, you do things that go against the scruples and morals you were raised with. In order to be cool with the boys I had to go further physically then I was comfortable with. But in my head those were small prices to pay in order to be liked.
The three of us girls got into the Ouiji board. At first it was just something to do at a sleepover. However, after dabbling in that it wasn’t enough. We became more curious and got into some supernatural things like channeling spirits, seances, voodoo dolls, spells and other evil things. I am not going to go into detail about this but what I will say is that I experienced things that chill my bones to this day.
On the homefront another change happened. All of the sudden I realized my mom knew nothing, she was so out-of-touch, waaaaay old-fashioned and totally uncool (typical middle school girl thoughts about her mom). My mom always told me I was a sweet girl until middle school. I always tell her she was cool until I was in middle school…haha! I learned the art of giving my mom the evil eye. You know the one that communicated “you are so lame.”
During my eighth grade basketball season I did extremely well. I scored an average of 26 points a game, usually which was half of the points the whole team made. My name was said over the loud speaker at school every day after a game. I felt so much pride and got a little bit conceited about it. However, my dad did not make one of my junior high basketball games. I still really desired a relationship with my dad though. I thought all dads worked all the time until I saw one of my friends who had a really special relationship with her dad. Her dad used to take her on daddy-daughter dates. I thought that was so neat and wanted my dad to do that too.
As my teen years passed, my hopes of my father being home more and taking an active role in my day to day interests diminished. I wanted to be close and interact him more. He knew that too. For whatever reasons he had, it just really never happened. Those were precious years, neither one of us will ever get back.
In eighth grade year we discovered the fun of a “slam book.” A slam book was a composition notebook with a person’s name on the top of each page. Someone passed you the book and on each page you wrote what you thought about that certain person. So Mary passed me the book and I wrote some hurtful things about people on each page. See now you can’t feel so sorry for me, now I was the mean girl. After the book left my hands people saw the things I wrote about them and the whole school wanted to beat me up. Luckily, only one did.
On the page of Vonya I wrote that she looked like a bird. Not exactly the sentiments you want to read about yourself. So all day people were talking about how Vonya wanted to fight me after school. I was shaking in my boots. She was about five inches shorter than I was but she was feisty and experienced with fighting. The only fight I got in was with Pedes and that didn’t count. So after school she came a-lookin’ for me along with a mob of about 100 people. Suddenly the circle of people formed around me and there was no escaping. I am not sure how many punches were thrown but I do remember this part like it was yesterday…