(Where do we EVEN begin with the TRAGEDY that has befallen my hair? WHAT happened here? It pains me to no end. Well that and the zit party that erupted on my forehead. I clearly hadn't learned the fine art of eyeshadow here. I looke all nudey eyed. Also, are you comprehending that I am ELEVEN years old here. Sorry, I think I look like I'm 80. Fine, not 80, but at least a lot older than any 11 year old I know. And the dress....Pennys Outlet special. It had a little belt, I remember it well)
Before I can properly begin 7th Grade, I HAVE to discuss an AMAZING event in my life that took place the summer before. It was called Horizons. It was an event (equivolent of a Boy Scout Jamboree) for all girls ages 12-18 from all over the state of AZ, Utah and CA. It was for our church, and they brought all of these girls to Northern Arizona University for a week long "Experience". We had workshops, classes, meetings. It was AMAZING! One of the classes I went to was cross stitching. I made a little tiny letter A and then we framed them and put eyelet lace around it. Let's just say, cross stitching was NEVER anything I could do. Still can't. Also went to cooking classes. Classes on self esteem. This is when I had the pirvelage of meeting Vicky Gephardt for the first time. She was teaching a class, and she was the funniest, most AMAZING woman EVER! And all I could think was that I wanted to be JUST like this lady when I grew up. Little did I know that years later her daughter would be one of my dearest friends. And I will tell you, her daughter is EVERY BIT as amazing as her mother was.
There were Firesides on self worth, Christ, values, etc. It really was one of the greatest things I've ever been a part of. And the COOLEST thing to see was this: Each girl was required to bring a solid white dress with them. On Sunday, as nearly 1000 girls wearing white walked up the hill to the indoor stadium, the sight was stunning. I can't explain it, other than it was awe inspiring. White is a symbol of purity, and we were young women striving to uphold specific moral values, and this symbol, brought to life and moving en mass was really AWESOME to behold.
We got to stay in the dorms at NAU. That felt so "cool". Here I am with my apparently shaved off head, rockin my VELCRO shoes and hangin with my friend Tara. Hi again Tara. Apparently we had a free moment to "kick it." I so remember having to take showers in the big group bathrooms down the hall. Looking out the windows at the cemetary across the street. Eating cold cereal down in the cafeteria. I STILL have the little porcelain doll they gave us (does this surprise anyone?). Each Stake (a geographical grouping of people) got their own color of doll. Ours was dressed in turquoise. I will forever be grateful that I was able to attend this event, and gain the testimony that I did because of it.
Also in that big summer BEFORE...I got my "rite of passage". You KNOW, the one Nicole didn't really get, but said she did. Yeppers, the big P came and knocked at my door. I went to the bathroom, and there she was. I wasn't sure what to do about this whole situation. I mean, you know, when you're in the actual moment, all your "know how" and bravado disappears. Suddenly I was the scared, nervous little 11 yr. old that i really was. I immediately got on the phone and called my Mom at work. Explained what had just happened. Upon her evaluation (over the phone) it was official. I suddenly felt like I had truly arrived. WHY do we as girls WANT this so bad? So ridiculous really, since we spend the rest of our lives wishing we NEVER had it.
Alrighty then, and THAT was just the summer BEFORE!!! Where does one even begin with Junior High and all it's pre-pubescent awkwardness? So many pains and embarrassments and good times too. After all, we were so "grown up" now. School didn't start until 9:00 in the morning. HELLO, super the coolest. We got to move between classes, and have all different teachers. Band was it's own PERIOD in school for goodness sake. I got to wear makeup, no sneaking necessary. Shoot, I got to wear "the PANTYHOSE"! (can you imagine, WANTING to wear those torturous things?) All KINDS of new kids to meet. I could BUY anything I wanted for lunch; you better believe there was a lot of lemon pies being purchased. Mostly I ate orange juice (with awesome pebble ice) and a pretzel everyday. And you should know that in Mesa, where I live, Jr. High consists of grades 7 - 9. I LOVED this, still do. I was so nervous for school to begin. Would I be able to find all my classes? Would I make new friends? Would I like it?
Briefly (as if) speaking of Band. I was still tooting away on my clarinet. The band teachers name was Mr. Feldeverd, and he was a total creep. Had a big beaky nose and smoked too much. But mostly, he just wreaked of liking girls a little too much. Maybe I say that because i didn't feel the love. I don't know. I just know I didn't love him. He gained some special disdain for forcing us to practice marching through the neighborhoods around the school. Hey, it's HOT here in AZ, and marching is NOT FUN! We played in one stinkin parade, and had to go out and practice marching. Slave driver! This is wehre I give a special shout out to all you Marching band players, 'cause it is NOT for the weak of heart. LITERALLY!
I went to Powell Jr. High......I was a Patriot. In fact, we have a little fight song, shall I
sing write it for you? (just know that I AM singing it, out loud, as I type it.)
"We're Powell jr. high we're the Patriots, forever brave and strong are we.
We're Powell jr. high we're the Patriots as we go forth to victory.
Red and Blue are our colors..Mesa, Arizona is our Home.
We're from Powell. We're the Patriots. We're proud of it, singing forward Powell Jr. High.
Fight, fight, fight, fight."
(it has quite a charming little tune too, to bad you can't hear it, but I guarantee at this very moment of reading it that several of my faithful readers and former Patriots(rollcall, Dana, Diane, Tim, Jenny, Andrea, Tara, Karen, anyone ELSE?) are singing along)
No need to worry kids....it was all just fine. Well, other than that hideous part where there was PE and a big open locker room where we were forced to change clothes, or shower, IN FRONT of other girls. Really? Who thinks up this kind of torture? Are they not aware of the mass body issues rampaging through that room? Seriously. When we did swimming (which snore...I was already a champion..DUH!) it was THE WORST! Having to change into a suit, walk out to the pool, and THEN having to try and get re-ready for the day. So NOT COOL! Have you SEEN my hair in that pic. There was no ponty tailing it up for me. Nope, there was blowdrying and curling required. Totes had the little butane curling iron. LIFESAVER(said in an operatic overtone) for sure! Also, not a big fan of the whole "run a mile" thing. This girl ain't runnin no miles, even at that age. I so clearly can see myself laboring around that dirt track and BARELY making it in under the 15 minute time limit. Stupid mile. Bah! Well, at least I can beat that now, not by much, but whose askin'.
'Twas the time of all things Madonna...Like A Virgin style. Oh the girls who were super trendy were totally rockin the lacey, cut off finger gloves, the messy ratted hair, the million little rubbery bracelets. Yep, I was there, in ALL my non-Madonna glory. I have NEVER been a trendy girl, most certainly not one that followed some crazy A, naughty rockstar look. And I was rather fascinated by all these girls that DID dress like this. Oh hell, lets be honest, at the time of school starting that year, I honestly had NO idea who this Madonna character was. I have never been a huge listener of the radio or follower of the music industry. However, somehow I knew EXACTLY who Cindy Lauper was. I Lurved me some Cindy Lauper. I totally bought her little Biography book and read it in like 2 seconds flat.
MTV was quite popular, and since we were NEVER allowed to have cable, much less that "evil" MTV at our house, I would watch it when I babysat. I swear to Buddah that EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I babysat, and turned on MTV there were only two videos that EVER played. One was "Steppin Out" by Joe Jackson and "Goodnight Eileen". SWEARS those were the only two that EVER played. It got so irritating to me. C'mon man, I only got so many chances to watch the Devil station...why not give me something to work with here!
I had Mr. Iverson for Core (don't ask I can't remember how that all worked back then). He was a bit odd, but likeable enough. The really wierdo was Mr. Gulbrandsen who I had for math. I mean, as we've established, math and I are not so much friends. But this guy was an extra brand of ODD. When he talked, his lips were really pronounced, and every single pair of his pants had permanent yellow stains at the pockets where he would clearly stick his hands with chalk dust all over them. He had these wee beady little eyes and those poochy lips, and a lot of black/gray hair greased up on his head. Man, I hate math. So anyway, Core was the class that you had for more than one hour, and so whoever was in your core class you saw more of. There was this boy...his name was Roger. I loved Roger. He was so cute, blond, stocky, "cool." We became good buddies (since that was what I always was...buddies.) I think he always loved Karen a bit, but she was busy dating Mitch, one of the twins. Roger totally drove a Yugo in highschool...HAHAHA ok sorry that memory just popped back in my head. Too funny. Ok, so anyway, Roger was in my core class, and we would joke around with eachother, he would punch me in the arm. I absolutely took it as a sign he loved me. WHAT? It was a sign. Because I couldn't deal with my only other option. His name was Bradley, and he was a NERD. Totally my lot in life...loved by the nerds and outcasts. He was shorter than me too (you should know now, I could NOT ever date someone shorter than me, just couldn't do it) and my mind recalls him with a permanently stuffed up nose and always making googly eyes at me. Oh Bradley, i'm sorry i couldn't return the love.
There was another boy...his name was David Puafua (can't remember HOW to spell that name for real) he was Samoan (or maybe Tongan, I'm apologizing now for the mix up, i know they don't like that). Point is, he was really funny, and cool, and we were friends. We would walk between Wierdo Mr. Gulbrandsens mathclass to Odd duck Mr. Iversons Core class. David and I spent a good amount of time doin this walk...AS FRIENDS. Then one day, OUT.OF.NOWHERE, as we left math, he just took my hand, and held it, all the way to our next class. It was the strangest, most unexpected moment of my life thus far. Boys didn't just go around holding my hand, that is for SURE! I probably looked somewhere between stunned and catatonic on that walk. Though my inner monologue was definitely "OH MY HECK, OH MY HECK (yep, I had given up the swear and moved firmly into the good mormon girl speak of heck) WHAT IS GOING ON, DOES THIS MEAN WE'RE GOING OUT, WHY IS HE HOLDING MY HAND, DO I LIKE HIM? WHAT ARE WE DOING? OH MY HECK, OH MY HECK!!!!!" Whilst my outer language was probably limp hand and pleasant face of stone. We arrived at our next class, he dropped my hand and then NEVER said a thing about it again. Never attempted to hold my hand, never talked about it, nothing. As if it never happened. It remains one of lifes great mysteries to this day.
Hey DAVID....what the heck?
I made a new friend, her name was Phaedra. She and I were really close that year, and I was totally fascinated by her name. Plus, she was ::gasp:: Not.A.Mormon. There weren't a lot of those around me (really, living in Mesa is a bit like living in Utah) and she was so interesting. She rudely moved away in 8th grade and I lost her forevermore...UNTIL last year and facebook reunited us. Wouldn't you know, she lives a few miles away. Crazy world.
Whilst most kids turn 12 in 6th grade....I, being the special case I am (see 1st grade post, of my genius) did not turn 12 until 7th grade. And.....my Birthday party was OFF.THE.HOOK.
As we know, me madre knew how to throw 'em. And the 12th Birthday Party was the official
HOLLYWOOD STARS Party.
The invitations were made to look like giant sunglasses, and they were awesome!
Requirements for attendance were: Dress like a Hollywood Star (which was loosely interpreted at best)
As I have NEVER been an all that creative person, and dressing up stresses me out (no really, I HATE Halloween, I HATE wearing costumes, unless I am in a show) I'm sure my Mom or sister came up with this. I do remember getting the dress at D.I. (the mormon equivolent to Goodwill).
Ladies and gents.....I dressed up as:
You see that right? hahahahah
More importantly...TWELVE in this picture.
Nicole R. as Private Benjamin, Andrea as Minnie Pear, Robin N. as Punky Brewster
Karen as Shirley Temple
Others there were dressed as Snow White (clearly she stretched the meaning), Angela Lansbury, Annie Oakley (again people, HOLLYWOOD, sheesh)
There was a giant board of baby pictures set up, and you had to guess who was who. Then there were other games, which I can't remember. Of course dinner was provided as well. But the real piece of awesomeness was:
Was this cake NOT rockin? My sister Dana made that. A HUGE movie camera. She made all of our birthday cakes. But I think this was extra clever. I mean really, How MANY cakes do you think it took to do this? Upon review, i'm guessing five!
So, guess what Nicole R gave me? A can of Mighty Dog dog food. She thought it was the FUNNIEST thing EVER! What a douche! I didn't think it was all that funny then, and come to think of it, I STILL don't.
I believe I spent that entire year growing my hair out, so that I could join the ranks of the "bob" it was really becoming the rage. And well, let's just say...I got there by 8th grade and never looked back.
Overall, 7th grade was fairly low key. There was the bad hair, the unrequited love, the hideous acne, the random hand hold and the making of new friends. It was all good in the hood. Is it wierd to anyone else that I have LESS memories locked up in this here head for jr. high than all of my elementary memories? Yeah, wierd to me too.
Pimples and parties,