Thursday, October 13, 2011

Typical Middle School Experiences

Today the Journal Jar brings us the following:

Describe a typical day in middle school or junior high.

I don't know if I can remember anything "typical" about middle school... I had so many of them.  First there was Lynnhaven,  in San Jose, CA, where I went to fifth grade.  I remember that I really started to notice and like girls that year.  Then it was sixth grade at Creekside Private School in Modesto, CA.  This school was anything but typical.  It was an oversized farmhouse converted into a school.  All of the rooms connected with large collapsible walls, so you could pass from classroom to classroom easily.  My 5th and 6th grade class was made up of a bunch of misfits and rejects of the public schools-- characters that didn't fit well with others at the time, I guess.  We got along okay, though.  Finally, for 7th and 8th grade I attended El Portal Middle School in Escalon, CA.  It was a big change from private school, but it worked out in the end.

Let's see.  What do I remember from Lynnhaven?  I remember my friend Ronnie making moves to "date" Brenda Allred.  Brenda was taller than he was by a couple inches or so, so Cliff Odle made fun of Ronnie when he got his first kiss from Brenda, saying that she had to stoop down to catch his lips.  But the joke was really on the rest of us, as we watched in awe of him, living vicariously through him and wondering if there would ever come a day when we could have the courage to be just like him.  Oh, the simplicity in the drive to grow-up...

I also remember one day finding a Kit-Kat bar on the sidewalk, still wrapped and sealed.  Ronnie berated me for wanting to eat it and thinking that it would be okay.  He was a persuasive young man, and he talked me into throwing it away, even though I couldn't see how in the world someone might have tainted it.  Easy come, easy go.

There was also a rainy day where the gutters were leaking from the eave of one of the buildings.  It caused a puddle to form, and soon the bubbles gathered into a white/yellow foam on the surface of the puddle.  Someone remarked how it looked like the building was peeing.  There were lots of laughs and "ews" that followed the remark, and lots of ideas that followed.  I remember Brian getting an empty 2-liter soda bottle and stomping it into the foamy mess, to a chorus of "ews" and "oohs".

At Creekside, we were literally located at the side of a creek that snaked by, just off campus.  I got in trouble for wandering off towards the creek one day, when Ted and Scott were busy pretending to catch a mouse in the classroom after digging a hole in the wall.  They ran from the schoolhouse, through a hole where the fence had fallen down, and over to the creek to throw the mouse in.  I followed to watch what was happening.  They didn't get in trouble, but I did.  And they dug a hole in the wall of the school, then faked the whole mouse catching scenario.  If it was so bad to go over towards the creek, why didn't they fix the fence?  Sheesh.

Also at Creekside, there was Michelle Sequeira.  I don't remember the spelling of her last name, so I just made it up.  But she was an angel.  I loved her like no young man had ever loved anyone before.  Which is to say that it was a crush.  I still remember her singing "You Make My Dreams Come True" by Hall and Oats while we were at Woodward Reservoir with Mr. Haack and his tiny sailboat.  She was so beautiful, everything that I could have ever wanted... What little did I know at the time...

Then came El Portal.  I got my own locker for books and stuff, and my own PE locker.  Visions of my life with Michelle soon faded and I became engulfed in another crush named Kim McGuire.  She was my everything.  So beautiful.  Oh, to have spent any time in her arms...  She once poured me a cup of juice at a school fundraiser of some sort.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  I held the styrofoam cup out and she filled it with juice, then looked up into my eyes and smiled.  Good God, the bliss!  The grandeur and momentousness! 

The typical day at El Portal was spent walking the campus, hoping to get a look at the beautiful girls that might someday lock arms with mine...  But I was too shy and proud and scared to actually approach any possibilities.  Even when Lisa Chamberlain approached me during a recess football game with news that she knew of someone who liked me, I couldn't be bothered-- I was playing football, for crissake!  Another failed relationship before it ever had a chance to start.

I did get married at El Portal during recess to Karen Chandonis.  Betty Amini presided over the ceremony.  I was cajoled into it by Karen, who was very pretty and quite persuasive.  So I was shy and accommodating.  We didn't kiss to seal the marriage-- we didn't honeymoon or anything.  Just married in the 7th grade. 


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