Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Middle School Memories

Me, 7th grade
My 14yo says I look like Hermione Granger.
I don't agree, but I'll take it anyway!
When I was young, I moved around schools a lot. Between 4th and 5th grade, we moved and I entered a new school district and went to the local elementary school. From there, I went to the 6th grade center (yes, one building that only had 6th grade classes in it!). And that was followed by a move to the middle school.

After 7th grade, we moved again, so I switched districts for 8th grade.

When I moved, I didn't keep in touch with my friends. There was no e-mail back then, we didn't even have AIM (if you're old enough to remember that LOL). A few years ago, thanks to Facebook, I reconnected with some people from those middle school (ish) years.

They are having a reunion this weekend, and it didn't work out for me to attend, but none the less, I was thinking about how those years have helped shaped me. I've never sat down and thought about things like this before, so it was kind of interesting how many memories just came flooding back!  Some are really small and trivial things, but some are kind of big.

* I made 2/3rds of my kids (and the third one soon) read Bridge to Terabithia because I remember Ms. Williams (I think) crying as she read the ending of the book to our class.

* I can sing the Greek alphabet thanks to my 6th grade main teacher

* In 6th grade we had a teacher's aid for our team (that was three classes/teachers). She taught me and another girl Sarah to french braid our hair. She probably taught more, but for some reason, I can only remember Sarah french braiding hair with me. Sarah's mom had recently passed away. As I look back with adult eyes, I know she taught us to french braid as a way to get us to talk in a way that didn't feel like talking. I use that as a parent a lot. 

* I sing songs like Waltzing Matilda (6th grade), Sesame Street medleys (7th grade), and I'm Proud to Be an American. I also sing Steve Martin's King Tut because our art teacher - Ms. Freak - would play it sometimes during art class as background music.

* Speaking of art, some of the projects I made with Ms. Freak and in my 7th grade art class (and I can't remember her name!) I have since made with my kids. One example is paper mosaics I did in class and then did with my kids. My one daughter did it as a 4H project for our county fair one year. 

* In 7th grade we had to learn sentence diagramming in our language arts class. I teach my children that now. I couldn't remember any of it though and had to relearn it. My oldest can probably already say she forgot it all now, but I tried. Like my teacher tried. But we used to joke that our teacher looked like ET. We all liked her though, so we weren't trying to be mean. One day she told us one of her favorite movies was ET. I have no idea if it actually was, or somehow she knew we thought that and said that to kind of mess with us a bit. 

* For 6th and 7th grade I had to walk a mile and a half (minus like 1/2 a block) to school, uphills both ways. But no, really, I did. If we lived on the very next block I would have qualified for busing - which kicked in once you were a mile and half from the school! And our town had a "valley" in it, my house was on one "peak" and the school on the other. So I literally would go down the hill, and up the hill. 

It wasn't all lovely things though.

* I had a sleepover birthday party that was a train wreck. I invited people who I wasn't really friends with to seem more cool, they came, they weren't having fun, I cried. It was awful. But we did watch Arachnophobia and I still hate spiders.

* I took my first (and only) ride in a police car - it wasn't anything major and it was enough to scare me out of my "life of crime" and get me grounded for a really long time. I lost my parents' trust and didn't want to do that ever again. 
* In 6th grade science we had a unit learning about eyes and seeing. The teacher asked if we (people) could see in the dark. I said yes. Absolutely. I knew this down to my bones. I even convinced some people in the class to switch from the no team to the yes team. I just knew it. And .... I was wrong. It was the first time I felt something so deeply and it was wrong! That was eye opening for sure (see what I did there? And here? LOL) .

* Right before I moved I had a fight with one of my best friends. We never made up. I have no idea what the fight was about now. I can't find her on Facebook. I've asked mutual friends if they've heard from her and they haven't. I never got to say I'm sorry. And I never got to say good-bye. Pick your battles wisely. You never know when you won't get that one last chance. 

I'm sure I could think of thousands of other ways middle school (ish) affected me today. I know that we are always growing and learning, but this is probably the youngest age that I can really remember things from that have impacted me. I can't tell you much about my kindergarten years, or even 3td grade. I could repeat a few stories my mom has told me, but they aren't my memories so much as me retelling hers. 

I think moving also helps me frame things. I didn't go to 4th grade with any of these kids, or even 8th grade. So I can firmly place these memories in this age range. This is when I lived in this town. This is when it happened. I can't mix up 12 years of school with the same kids. I didn't appreciate moving honestly, and we could talk about how excruciatingly painful 8th grade was for me as I found myself in a new school and knowing basically no one. But 5th through 7th grade? I was weird, I was hyper, I was crazy, and I didn't care that much about how I was labeled for most of those years. Towards the end I started to realize there were cool kids and not cool kids. I was most decidedly a not cool kid, but I didn't know it for most of that time, so I didn't feel it. I had fun. A lot of fun!

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