The first two of my friends that came along at the new school were Jim and Jenny.
I will always remember that Jim had bad ankles so he wore cowboy boots for support. When the weather was bad, recess took place in the indoor gymnasium, but due to his bad ankles, Jim wasn’t able to wear sneakers to play on the basketball court. So on those rainy/winter days, I sat with him on the bleachers and we played board games and/or talked to Jenny. But on nice days we had a mission that I will never forget. Some of my favorite memories of grade school was of an oval blacktop track, in the back of the school, that was used by the track team. Jim and I would create maps (usually during class lol) that showed enemy army positions along this oval ring and during recess we would fight our way around the entire track field.
(I will also never forget the time when Jim and I were playing on the playground and I saw a group of girls covering something with rocks on the road. I can’t remember if I knew what it was, or if I wanted to find out what it was, but I went and got it. It was a doll arm that the girls had “buried”. Well they told the teacher what I had done so next recess I had to write 100 times on the black board “I will not dig up graves.” Are you kidding me?!? So now the curiosity of a child is likened to a grave robber. Teachers suck, just like people.)
Jenny… I don’t know why Jenny hung around with us. She was a pretty girl and I guess I kind of took a shining to her even at that young of an age. You know that feeling you get in your stomach when a certain someone comes along? That was Jenny. She was cool too and didn’t seem to mind hanging out on the bleachers with us.
Later on, Lisa began to hang around with us too. I think she fit in well because she was sort of a tomboy who liked to play our imaginary war-games. She soon became the third musketeer in our conquest of the track-field.
The sad fact is all good things must come to an end.
Jenny would be the first to go. I think it was the start of a new school year and she… just wasn’t there. I lived in the country so I never kept in contact with other kids. I don’t know why, but I never used the phone to talk to other kids and I can count the times on one hand that any kid from school came to my house to play. During summer break it was just me, myself and I for the most part. I only played with kids from school during the school year at recess. But I have never forgotten her and she always seems to pop into my mind now and then. I still wonder to this day about her.
Jim was the next one to come and go, almost like a gypsy. He had disappeared for a year, maybe two (the early school years are a hazy memory for me), when to my surprise I saw him again at the start of a new year. I know I asked where he had been, but he never really said and I didn’t push it. I was just glad he was back. But the following year Jim didn’t return to school and I never saw him again.
And Lisa, I think Lisa just became less of a tomboy and more of a girl. We graduated together, but at some point in time during the years of grade school we became distant and I don’t remember why. It is odd how my memories work. I remember the times we played together but I don’t remember when we stopped.
I guess it is normal for people to move in and out of friendships as time passes, but that didn’t happen to me. I never made friends easily. When I finally reached 7th grade, my group was gone. I didn’t even seem to fit in with the misfits anymore. I wasn’t a jock, or a brain, or a motor-head, or druggie, or, as it would seem, even a misfit. I was 100% under the radar.
(This is also the year that my brother will die. He will graduate in May and be killed four months later in a car wreck. Even though, by this point, we are no longer hanging out, it will still be one less person in my life.)
Being under the radar had a good point and a bad point. The good was that I didn’t belong to any group that someone hated. I got along equally well with almost everyone in my class. The downside was that you never had friends or were invited to do anything.
I really like what Martha said in her comment on part 1.
“Introverts are very selective about friends, and sometimes end up alone for awhile until they find the right ones.”
How true this is.
School, at this point, became something I had to do. I no longer had any interest in it. I watched the clock everyday until 3:15 for the next six years. By the time I reached 9th grade I had stopped bringing books home. I had figured out how to complete everything I needed in a one hour study hall. My work wasn’t great by any means, nor was it even good, but it was enough. I even stopped reading books for school assignments because I could just randomly pick answers and still pass with a “D” on the exam.
My world, the place that I belonged, the place where I could recharge and become alive, started at 3:16.
The greatest school day of my life was the last one. The one that I left that hell hole behind.