Back in the Day
As I was hanging up laundry just now, my mind started strolling down memory lane. It occurred to me that I was around my son's age when I met my best friend and had what I considered the best school year of my life. I am amazed at how clearly I can remember most of the events of that year and how differently you see things once you reach adulthood.
It was sixth grade. This was a big deal in the town I grew up in because you went from several different elementary schools to one school that was nothing but sixth graders. It was the first time we got to mix with kids from all over town rather than just our neighborhoods. I remember being scared to death. The school was three stories high and you only really associated with kids from your floor. My first week was so hellish that I was physically ill every morning. The girl in my home room were horrible to me and I knew none of them. By Thursday my mother had gone to the principal and demanded they move me. I went from the second floor to the first and it changed my life forever.
I met my best friend Melly when I was sent to check on he in the bathroom. She was throwing up and I ended up catching her bug. We've been friends ever since. Strange meeting, but we've stayed strong through three husbands and six kids between us. I love that girl. Soon, it wasn't just me and Melly in our little group. Heather, the Jennifers, and Katie joined us and we were pretty much the "it" girls. I had never been popular in my life, so this was a change. Were we the most popular girls in school? No. But we were a fierce little clique, although I never would've admitted that at the time. We were a tight group and there was never a shortage of good times to be had. It was the one year of my school career that I felt completely accepted socially and had an excellent year academically. Our homeroom teacher, Mr. Smith made an impression on me that has lasted through the years. Sixth grade rocked!
I think back on myself then and shudder. I had a ruffly denim skirt I loved to wear, was obsessed with neck ties, pinch rolled pants, blue eye shadow, Love's Soft Jasmine perfume, and was pretty sure I would one day marry Danny from New Kids on the Block. Thinking back on it, we were a clique and I fear we were cruel at times, as girls tend to be. I can't tell you one other girl who was in our class outside of our group. I didn't notice them. Maybe I did at the time, but I remember it as nothing mattering but us. I hope we didn't hurt anyone with our exclusive group, but fear we probably did. I vaguely remember others being on the edges wanting to get in, but they were never accepted. This was also the year I figured out that the chubby girl would always be the boys' best friend or little sister, nothing more. That was a bitter pill to swallow. It was a year of learning, growing, and lots of life lessons.
After reading Queen Bees and Wanna Bees, I realize we were probably exactly the type of friends you don't want your daughter to have. We weren't the "bad girls" but we weren't the best either. Still, I can't change the past and remember those days fondly. Most of the girls are my friends on Facebook, along with the guys who made us swoon back in the day. Melly and I talk about those days and laugh, recalling funny nicknames and our crazy antics that seemed completely rational at the time. These are fond memories that make me smile and make me realize what I want to teach my kids. Treat others with kindness, you don't want to grow up and look back on your life with regrets. Experiences shape who we are, so I'm grateful for that wonderful year, for what it did for me then, and what it's teaching me now.