School Days

3 Oct

When I was a young, Catholic-school girl, I had a great, ridiculous fear of public school children – this fear had various sources:

1. Every Friday, before we left school for the weekend, our teachers would always say “Put your school boxes in your lockers – the Sunday School kids will steal your supplies.”
2. In third grade, I read a copy of my sister’s “The Outsiders” and assumed that Ponyboy, Soda Pop, the Socks and the Greasers truly lurked on the other side.
3. A public-school neighbor once stole my skates, threw them in a puddle, and smeared mud all over them (no, wait, that was the non-denominational-church school neighbor).

Indeed, I had an unwarranted fear of my public-school peers, but by the time I reached junior high, this fear had matured into utmost admiration – not necessarily for them (though they did seem [and probably were] so much cooler than me) but more so of their lives – they wore a different outfit five days a week; they took a bus to school; one of my neighbors had actually french-kissed a boy, and I didn’t even know what that meant; etc. etc. etc.

I wanted a walk in their pasture, so, in the beginning of eighth grade, I begin to beg, beg, BEG my father to let me go to a public school. I thought of every excuse, and when my excuses ran dry, I pouted, and when that didn’t work, I cried. By January of that year, my father finally said yes, and I was a happy transfer to E_____ Junior High.

My fairy-tale ended, however, with the registration office. Once I stepped into the ever-so-expansive hallways, I was on my own – a once-cool 12 year old girl, instantly transformed into a shy parochial-school-has-been who had worn a uniform for so long that her attempt at wearing a different outfit five days a week was quite unsuccessful, and who couldn’t see anything because she wouldn’t wear her glasses. (hmmm – Jan Brady??)

Obviously, I didn’t make friends all too quickly. And every day, during fourth period, the clock seemed to magically tick faster:
“tick, tick, tick – please stop ticking – please God, could you just make time stop – no, God no longer likes me – can you blame him – I did leave St._____ Catholic School for this hellhole – did I just say hell – damnit! It’s only been two weeks, and I’m already cussing.”

Needless to say, God never did stop time for me, and lunch inevitably arrived, five days a week, at 11:45, and what a traumatic lunch hour it was! For I faced, for the first time in my life, The Nightmare of Finding Someone to Eat With . . .

The first week, sadly I ate alone. (Well, I didn’t actually eat alone – I spent my lunch hour roaming the halls alone, pretending I had a mission of some sort). The second week, I invited myself to sit with “the socially inept / I’ve never used a comb in my life / nor do I have a full-length mirror at home” table. Embarrassingly enough, this table tired of me (hey, I didn’t fit in anyway – after all, I did brush my hair daily), and I was forced to either find new lunch companions or roam the halls once again. Luckily, around week four of my public-school experiment, I met a lovely group of normal 12 year old girls who liked to spend their lunch hour gossiping, talking about boys, and making fun of the table previously mentioned. Smooth sailing after that – well, until high school. And then college. Grad school. The real world.

So why, gentle reader, would I take you on this tiring trip down memory lane, when all you wanted was a quick ride across the street? Well, as I was cleaning out my coat closet I stumbled upon my oh-so-coveted second grade school-box, successfully kept from prying hands after all these years. And in all honesty, I needed an excuse to post a picture of me in second grade . . .


10 Responses to “School Days”

  1. Anonymous October 6, 2007 at 1:11 AM #

    Coming from someone who went to public school her whole life (that was actually like a private school when paying property taxes like my parents did) it wasn’t that bad. And I loved back to school shopping because I did have to have a wear a different outfit five days a week. It was fab–maybe that is why I’m still obsessed with clothes!

  2. Megaan October 6, 2007 at 7:29 PM #

    Well, I also went to Catholic school. (with you – being that I am your sister) I recall an incident on the once – a – month, and so looked forward to day of free dress – where I donned an outfit consisting of pink pants covered in baby ducks, and a matching pink sweater that displayed the mother duck prominately on my chest. Upon my arrival at school, good old bully Jonathan Bartlett made fun of me endlessly. The sentence, “You have ducks on your butt!” haunts my dreams to this very day.

  3. Flannery October 7, 2007 at 1:45 AM #

    Initially I was a public-schooler, then homeschooled, then went to a tiny public school for 6th grade (30 kids in the whole K-6 school), then added my mite to the 900 strong junior high. That was not a pleasant transition, but somehow I survived it.

    The other day I found myself eating a bag lunch while sitting in the grass on a sunny fall day, and was transported back to junior high…and it was actually kind of nice.

    P.S. I like your blog, too. 🙂

  4. Anonymous October 8, 2007 at 8:31 PM #

    Anaka, it’s me…where is the picture???????? (Pia)

  5. Anonymous October 9, 2007 at 2:00 AM #

    HAHAHAHAHAHAH! I found it! It didn’t load the first time around. Too cute!

  6. Christina October 10, 2007 at 4:54 PM #

    Oh I LOVE IT I LOVE IT!!! Do you have any more pics from those “GLORY” days?? How about slumber parties??

  7. Susanna Brooks October 22, 2007 at 7:13 PM #

    Ok, here goes attempt number 2 at my post. I love the photo of you in the second grade. I see much hasn’t changed as you still frequently jump up and down. On another note, I never had the courage to leave private school. I am proud you could do that social experiment. Wish I could have.

  8. caroline October 27, 2007 at 6:23 PM #

    i never wanted to go to public school cause i didn’t want to have to think about what to wear in the morning. i wore my uniform on out of uniform days. and i always wanted to go to hockaday just so i could wear saddle shoes.

  9. Hope November 5, 2007 at 2:34 PM #

    Ugg…I would have LOVED to have worn uniforms…I would have avoided many style mishaps had I not had the chance to exhibit them publicly every day at school.

  10. Just Jinny November 6, 2007 at 1:38 AM #

    I went to Catholic school as well until I was in the third grade. There was a public school rigth across the street (which I later went to). I remember that on the first of the month the tornado siren that was on the property of the public school would go off. The adults never told us what that siren was all about, but once I got to the public school they made us all get under our desks and practice our tornado safety. It’s just strange how two schools could be so close and yet so very different.

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