Monday, January 30, 2006

Time Machine Memory Tour-8th Grade

This is the year that began my making-or-breaking point. Oh how volatile the junior high years are!

-I was still hanging around with a bad crowd, but trying to fit in with some of the other classmates, only as much as they would let me hang with them, which was usually because Dana Hope was my friend. But please keep in mind that I was NOT friends with Dana in order to gain a new status-she was a GENUINE friend.

-I wore a "Property of Playboy Magazine" T-shirt to receive a marching band award after a summer parade, to represent our band. I don't know WHAT I was thinking! I do know that T-shirt sort of represented my view of my self-worth. Feedback from others had me convinced that my body (at the time, pretty hot if I do say so myself) was my MAIN contribution to this world. How sad. Funny, though, that the T-shirt was a hand-me-down from an adult I babysat for sometimes. What was SHE thinking?

-Mrs. Gleason, junior high science teacher, pulled me aside and admonished and shamed me for my sexual-thinking way of life (no sex involved, but evidence that I was going to go down that path). She knew that some of the kids I hung around with were sexual perverts (one boasted of having relations with guys, gals, and animals, and I have no doubt he was being truthful). She told me I had VALUE. She praised my grades and my personality, and said I could be a leader. She encouraged me to run for student council office for my Freshman year. She said I needed to have a wake-up call, and she hoped she made a difference in my life. Mrs. Gleason (now deceased)--yes, you made a difference in my life!

-I know it might sound like just a crush, but my first love, Roy Scott-son of friend of family, died when I was in eighth grade. I was beyond devastated. Leading up to his death, we corresponded by mail, since he lived in Arkansas. The kids in my class thought I was making him up. They thought I just wanted sympathy when I said that one of my boyfriends had cancer. I brought in letters, they said I faked them. Like typical teenage angst-I felt alone in my love, and then alone in my grief, when he died. I discovered poetry-first to send to Roy, and then to deal with my grief.

When Roy died, my folks decided to leave us at Aunt Minnie and Uncle Bill's while they traveled to the funeral. We got the call about his passing on a Sunday morning early, right before walking to church for Sunday School. I vowed a vow of silence for the whole day. Then, when I went to school on Monday, same thing-a vow of silence in memory of Roy. For this chatty Kathy-that is a sign of true grief (while I'm sure I was a bit of a drama queen too-I don't deny that). But I was shaken with the reality of two things that week: the reality of death in general, and how it separates loved ones much more than just miles had previously done. I think if I had been allowed to go to the funeral, I would have grieved in a more healthy manner, because there would have been closure. Instead, I wrote out my feelings, and gave my Home-Ec teacher what I wrote. She called me up after class and said she acknowledged my feelings, and she was very sorry for my pain. Since my classmates believed Roy was fabricated, they believed I staged his death because I was tired of living that lie anymore. That made the grief that much more painful. Only Dana believed me, and was there for me. What a friend! Roy's passing helped me realize I shouldn't waste my life. Roy's cancer and death, and the intervention by Mrs. Gleason really helped me evaluate my life.

-I took two specialized Girl Scout courses this year, that helped with my life evaluation. One was called "God and Church." The second was called, "God and Country." These courses were offered to both the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts, and many of the ministers of our community taught the classes. I bombarded them with questions! It gave me a good look at the different doctrinal statements and belief systems.

-Also sometime during this time, I was asked to be confirmed in the Methodist Church. The first time I went through confirmation classes, with Vickie Walton and Mandy McCarty, and others (if I recall correctly), I did not follow through with the confirmation ceremony because I still had so many questions. The second time, Dana Hope was in the class with me, and I decided to go through with my plans, mainly because it was expected of me, as a leader in the youth group. I wanted to be immersed in a body of water cutting through town-what was it called? The same one where in-coming Freshmen were hazed. Our pastor said there were 3 forms of baptism in the Methodist church: sprinkling, pouring, and immersion. I chose immersion because it was closest to how Jesus was baptized. But the minister said to simplify matters, so all of us could be confirmed the same day, I would need to be sprinkled there in the church building. I guess a part of me always felt like I compromised.

(too be continued)

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