When I was in seventh grade, my parents decided to spend the whole school year in Florida, and not make us change schools. I have a funny memory from 7th grade. I had a new purse...more like a train case, a popular style back then. It was my first day to carry it, and it was sitting by my desk. When a student to the right of me asked for a piece of paper, the student to the left of me handed one over to me to give to him. But he let go of it, and it was floating back and forth in the air, headed to the floor. I tried to catch it, and I fell out of my desk and landed on my purse! I put a big dent in it!! Can you just imagine that scene? I was totally embarrassed, totally upset I had smashed my new purse, and totally struck by how funny it was for others to watch. I still grin every time that memory comes to me. Perhaps one of my most embarrassing moments. Seventh grade girls can be so self-conscious!
I remember after lunch, just before art class, taking a dime to the Tropicana Orange Juice machine to purchase a box of orange juice. I can still taste it in my memory today. That was good stuff, and it didn't hurt that we could smell the Tropicana factory in the air. 7th grade was a time of lots of girl friends. We would go to each other's houses on the weekends. One friend had a swimming pool, but I don't recall swimming in it. Another friend and I would ride bikes around her neighborhood.
I wrote a poem in 7th grade, and the words still come back to me:
In the year of '62
The war with Cuba might come true.
Are you right or are you wrong?
I don't care, just sing a song.
If you're wrong, you better get right,
Because the Lord might come tonight!
Okay, so I never really made it as a poet, but it's funny to me how that one poem has stuck in my head through the last fifty years. I'm sure I must have written other poems, but none of them come back to me.
Certainly church was an important part of my life. Most of my girlfriends were from church, and there was a cute boy I really liked, but we were just friends, and I was happy with that. At church I was on the Bible Quiz Team, and we studied the Gospel of John. The one verse that I recall from that study is John 8:32: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." I must have been impressed with that verse, for it too has stuck with me down through the last 50 years. Certainly I am a person who thrives on truth, and cannot tolerate lies and deceit and dishonesty. I have trouble respecting people who are dishonest in any way. Certainly I keep my distance!
Just as we spent the whole school year in Florida during my seventh grade, the next year, 8th grade, we stayed in Michigan for the duration of the school year. In fact, Mom and Dad quit taking their trips to Florida until I graduated. I wonder how much of a sacrifice that was for them? I never thought about it until just now. I know it was a lot easier for me to stay in the same school as a teenager than to keep changing schools. I really think it was for Mike and me that our parents made that decision. After I graduated, and Mike had graduated two years before me, they were back to wintering in Florida.
While I was in 8th grade, I had my first real boyfriend. He was two years older than me and we went to the same church. We could sit together as long as it was the pew ahead or the pew behind my parents. We never really dated, but we attended church parties together, and rode the bus together to youth camp. Because he was in high school, and I was in Junior High, we didn't see each other at school, and I started being interested in other boys my age. Again, nothing serious, and nothing lasted long.
I didn't actually go out on a date alone with a boy until I was 16. Then I met Larry. He was a delinquent, transferred in from another school, and lived on a farm as a hired hand as a means of helping him overcome his delinquency. We were two opposites, for sure. I must have appealed to him as a challenge he wanted to conquer, a good girl, a church girl. Mom and Dad wouldn't let me date him unless he came to church, so he did. As I look back on those years, I wish Mom and Dad had never late me date him, but they were trying to give me some latitude too, I guess. I think this is another chapter for another post. It's a long story. Not one I really want to share, but it is a major portion of my story, God's story. So, until next time....