Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Middle School Blues

The three year old is having a melt-down over a broken donut and the 5 year old is complaining about some other manner of injustice. I should be mowing the lawn that makes this place look like we vacated it weeks ago but I can’t leave Josh unattended. For even a minute. Bad things happen*.

After a rocky start this morning, the two big kids made it to middle school (will she EVER stop writing about middle school???). No phone calls yet so I’m going to assume it’s going fine. I’m sure I’ll be disabused of that notion the moment they walk through the door.

During all this middle school commotion I’ve thought back to my own experience. Was it so bad? I don’t know. I’ll say this though, high school, was way better.

I started 5th grade in the fall of 1980. That summer we moved from The Suburbs (Lacey WA) to The Country (Yelm, WA) and it was quite a transition. In The Suburbs I had a group of friends to run around with. We rode our bikes all over, played in the woods, and spent almost as much time at each other’s homes as we did our own. My dad’s practice was in the tiny town of Yelm since maybe ’73 or ’74, something like that. At some point they bought several acres, miles from that tiny town, and began making it habitable. First a garden, a few cows, then a barn or two.

My dad’s first office was a double-wide trailer. No joke. It wasn’t for too many years but when he finished the office he’s in now, that trailer was our home. Thank heavens the tornados in Yelm are only mascots.

So. From house-on-the-corner Suburban Life to Cow Town USA with electric fences, cattle guards, and livestock. No friends, no potential friends as far as neighbors go, and a bedroom with two doors and a window to the living room (the receptionist’s office in a previous incarnation). The house we were building was a few years out because My Dad = Robinson Crusoe and he does everything himself.

At the time, 5th grade spelled middle school in Yelm. I couldn’t quite believe it; I was coming from a K-6 elementary. I didn’t feel done with elementary school. Not by a long shot. And talk about anxiety! With crazy hair and strange clothes, I knew it was going to be rough.

You see, I was no one of consequence in middle school. The circumstances were right for me to be at least interesting. I was new, right? Sure, but more than one elementary school fed into this middle school so plenty of people seemed new to most kids. My dad was most folk’s dentist but a lot of kids bugged me about that. I think they expected fancy clothes and a mansion on Lawrence Lake. I wore clothes from Goodwill and, like I mentioned before, lived in a trailer. I remember one particular girl who gave me unmerciful . . . well, I’m watching my language but anyway, she gave me a real hard time. But anyway. Maybe I was interesting. Interesting in the way you pray not to be when you’re 11.

Of course middle school wasn’t all bad. I remember friends like LeAnne Torrey, Lori Rodarte, Julie Columbo, and Vanessa Mack. Lots of others and it’s a shame their names slip my mind. And in middle school I finally started to notice boys. I’ll never forget the day Jeremy Pounds walked into Mr. Evander’s class in 6th grade. Remember the “Dream Weaver” sequence in “Wayne’s World”? I remember it just like that! I thought the sun rose and set on that boy for years till Jeff came along (DO NOT JUDGE ME! Seriously!!! Stop It!). It’s nice that we can laugh about it now, don’t ya think? At my age, that’s the best thing about middle school: It’s ancient history.

*On Saturday, while clearing out Sierra’s room, I opened a desk drawer to find a scissors and her earbuds cut into several pieces.
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So, what do you think?