Who remembers old school Degrassi Jr High?
Who remembers being 12?
When I was twelve I moved to a brand new city over the summer and started junior high that same year. It was hard being new and not knowing anyone at school. It was harder that nobody knew I was new because there were 5 or so elementary schools that fed into the junior high.
I made it through my first two periods just fine. I’m pretty strong that way. I can stand a couple of hours of being ignored, trying to figure out where my classes were (for the first time ever!), trying to determine if my outfit/hair/make-up (make-up!) was suitable, and being told over and over that “homework is going to be much more difficult in jr. high than it was in elementary school.”
Third and fourth periods were a little harder because those kind of things can wear on a person.
I sat all by myself the entire hour. Right now that sounds luxurious but for a social twelve-year-old girl who doesn’t know ANYONE, it was hell. I had made exactly 0 friends and, with a flair for drama like I had, I was bound to spend the rest of my life that way. I was despairing.
And to add insult to injury, my next period was gym.
First gym class in jr. high.
OK, first off I had to figure out how to open my combination gym locker.
This was not something I was comfortable with. It gave me chills just to think about it. No wait, first I had to find my gym locker.
Then I had to change into my gym clothes in the locker room. I was about as comfortable with my body as, well, a twelve-year-old girl. Changing in the locker room was more than scary. We are talking about the years between, developed and not developed.
And as silly as it was, I was paranoid that I would be missing part of my gym clothes or put something on wrong. Then, what to do once you’re dressed? We go where? We sit where? For how long?
It was traumatizing.
I remember sitting on my number out on the basketball courts and feeling like I wanted to cry. In fact, I bet my eyes were brimming with tears.
And then this blonde girl who was sitting nearby asked me what my name was and told me that her name was Katherine and that the brunette girl next to her was also named Katherine.
I smiled. A real smile. For the first time that day.
I had a friend.
I would make it through jr. high.
I am still friends with Katherine to this day. I don’t think she could ever really understand what that simple act of kindness meant to me that day.
My twelveth year got better. Not much better, it was still jr. high, but better.
A great age to ask me about because that’s the year I had the best teacher in the history of the world. His name was Mister Kerr and I sure wish I could find him again to thank him. You see, every morning at the beginning of class he had twenty minutes of Positive Thinking. He made all of us feel like we were fantastic people and that we could succeed. One day we threw a surprise party to thank him for being such a phenomenal teacher. We were supposed to have a math test that day, but he skipped the test and let us spend the whole day in party mode.
This was also the year I wore makeup for the first time. Much to the chagrin of my Mother—and the great happiness of me! My Grandma (her mother) was an Avon lady and she gave me the makeup. What was a mother to do?
Oh, and yeah, yeah, I wanted a skateboard so bad for my B-Day. Sooo bad. So the morning of my birthday my Mom gave me my present. It was small, way too small for a skateboard to be inside. I opened it up and found nylons! I’d been begging my Mom to let me wear nylons and there they were. But oh, my dismay at the absence of a skateboard.
Well, my Mom sent me on a hunt for the rest of my birthday, and I ended up in the cab of Old Yeller, the pickup. There on the seat was a present big enough to be a you-know-what. I ripped it open and found me an orange skateboard! Wahoo! I had a lot of fun on that thing, but I never got very good. Not good at all.