Thursday, August 18, 2016
Perhaps it's a tad self-indulgent, but sometimes I like to play the 10-20-30 game with my memory. On the bus ride downtown this morning I got to thinking about the 30 Years mark, and it's absolutely crazy to me that 30 odd years ago I was ever 12, ever in the 7th grade, and ever starting junior high and absolutely terrified. It's long enough ago that there are really only snippets of memory. So much trepidation. Getting lost. Getting to class on time. The fear of figuring out the combination lock on my hall locker. The fear of horrible gym outfits with scratchy polyester shorts (and their attendant distance running and awkward gymnastic demands). But also my first experience carrying a purse on the regular, which was a knockoff Chanel quilted bag with chain strap, but later, after said strap broke, huge pastel colored totes. My love of the vending machine for fancy pens and a steady diet of roll on lip gloss. My typing class and learning to play the clarinet in a band room that smelled a little like brass, a little like old spit.
I loved my 1st period geography class, where every Friday, our teacher played current events trivia and I was a crack shot. I kept stealing my mother's clothes (oversized button up shirts worn over stirrup leggings). Ate a ridiculous number of odd peanut butter sandwiches with off-colored jelly that fell out of the sandwiches and onto your notebook. How I fell a little in love for the first time that December with a very funny blonde boy who was lukewarm through the year and wound up blowing me off the next summer. (a precursor to every funny boy who ever broke my heart). How intense that feeling and that scary in and of itself. I hadn't yet found my core friend group and wouldn't until the next year, so I moved on the fringes of a couple different ones. At 12, I hadn't yet caught the ambition fever of high school and future careers and colleges, so middle school was more like a calm before the storm. I do remember trying to write a horror novel in the 8th grade. Loving Edgar Allen Poe. Mostly, spending all my time reading Sweet Valley High-sh type books I'd check out in thick stacks from both our school and public library. Flinn's library actually did look like a library, with big windows and wood tables and a hulking card catalog, at least moreso than the orange carpeted nightmare of highschool (which was horrible and looked more like the Breakfast Club library) and I'd spend my lunch hours in there sometimes, browsing the fiction collection. Someday, I'll write a book, "Library's I Have Known" and Flinn's would be one of my favorites.