I’m recording my youth one year at a time on Thursdays. Follow along at Mommy’s Piggy Tales!
My 7th grade year was the start of many things. It was supposed the start of middle school for me in Colorado. My 2 best friends and I had our schedules worked out that we had things like lunch and PE together so we could talk. We toured the school one day. I was pleased to see a big open courtyard with places to sit and lockers!
But instead, we moved. We moved to Utah and lived with my grandparents for awhile. My parents and brother were downstairs, and I slept upstairs in the room next to my grandparents. I had a big bed and an old fashioned alarm clock with bells on the top. Every morning when it woke me up, I thought it was charming. Kind of a nice thing to wake up to! I also had a really old black and white tv in the room that I watched Rocky and Bullwinkle on every morning while I was getting ready. It was the only thing on at 5am besides the news that the tv would pick up.
I started a new school knowing no one but my brother. This was the first time we were in the same school since I was in 2nd grade. My very first class was reading. It was also my homeroom. While in homeroom, our teacher took roll. She asked us to tell us our elementary school so she could write it down on the list. When my turn came, I answered here and gave her the name of my elementary school: Cherry Drive.
“Cherry Drive? I want your school not your address,” she said this with a lot of scorn. The whole class laughed and I turned BRIGHT red.
“Cherry Drive Elementary School is where I went. It is in Colorado. I’ve just moved from there.”
“I’ll have to check on that.” I could tell she was displeased.
Once reading started, she gave us a reading aptitude test. She said that this is what they give to college kids and didn’t expect us to finish it at all. She would also take it with us because she found it was helpful to keep up on her skills. The test was simple. It was green and multiple choice. You had to fill in the little bubbles with your #2 pencil. I flew through it. I hit a question somewhere in the 200’s and had to stop because there was no more to do. I raised my hand and kept it up for awhile before she noticed me.
“Yes?” She didn’t even come over to my desk to not disturb the class. They all looked up and looked at me. I remember feeling silly because I was wasting their test time.
“You can’t be done. I’m not even done.”
She got up now and stormed over to me. She grabbed my paper, and looked through it. Then she looked down at me and asked, “Who did you cheat from? You can’t be done!” She stormed off with my paper in hand and I slid lower into my desk. I pulled out a book from my bag to read and got yelled at for that too. So I put my head down and tried very hard not to cry.
Turns out I tested at a college reading level. But I think I upset the teacher so much she didn’t report it or move me into the advanced class. I was stuck in regular reading. The class did get better when the teacher was in a car accident and hit her head on the windshield of her car, causing her to be in the hospital for a long time. The school called a substitute. A brand new teacher. I ignored her, flew through the books and assignments, and spent the rest of the time reading very large books about horses and writing letters to my friends in Colorado.
Things kind of hit bottom this year for me and stayed that way. School was awful. The kids were awful to me. The teachers were angry and bored. I was taller than almost everyone in my school, except for my brother and a few other 9th graders.
There were a few good things about this year, though. We had never lived close to any of our family. And suddenly, we had both sides of the family to hang out with! It was amazing. We got to know our cousins. I babysat a lot for “the little boys” who were my cousins several years younger than me.
It was nice to finally be involved in all of the activities and celebrations of a large extended family.
I believe around Halloween time we moved into our own house close to my aunt’s house. The one with the little boys. Those boys were obsessed with Batman and I spent many hours watching/playing Batman with them. We also ate a lot of microwave popcorn with real butter melted on it. Yummy! The middle boy asked me to marry him, when he was my age and I was his. Too cute!
This was also the year that I started writing in my journal a lot. And by a lot, I mean every single day. I have a lot of entries of how much I missed Colorado, how lonely I was, and how much I wanted a really good friend. My first day of 7th grade all I put on the page was an enormous unhappy face. On the second day? 3 words: worse than yesterday.
When the summer came I was desperate to get out of that jail of a school. (It had no windows…we used to call it the dungeon.) I spent a lot of time on my bike or in my room that summer, hoping that next year would be better!