Thursday, November 12, 2009

Those Schoolgirl Days Of Telling Tales And Biting Nails Are Gone

but in my mind I know they will still live on and on.
-To Sir With Love

As I am sure you have noticed I have been somewhat MIA blog wise the last six months. A number of things have contributed to this like work, illness and travel. Travel included a trip to Denver for my husband's 40th high school reunion back in September; something he was looking forward to with trepidation. It was scheduled to be a three day event but his plan was to go to only one as he knew that no more than three of his high school buddies would be there. We ended up going to all of the planned events since it turned out to be so much fun. Everyone was so happy to see everyone else since all the reasons for the social cliques back in high school had slowly evaporated as people aged and matured.

I myself had a great time too but days later I slipped into a funk that I could not shake. My husband volunteered to help the reunion committee find missing classmates for their next big event, the year they all turned 60, and with each classmate he found the deeper my depression got. Part of this was because his high school reunion make me see how much I had missed by not going to high school. The other reason for my depression struggled to the surface of my subconscious a few days later.

When I was in seventh grade the first time, my mother, siblings, and I moved back to Denver from Thornton where we had been living with my father. We moved because, once again, my father had deserted us. My mother found an old house on 23rd Avenue just off Federal Boulevard directly north of Bear Stadium, home of the Denver Broncos, soon to be know as Mile High Stadium. It was late Fall when we moved into the house and Spring when we moved out of it. My father was back and for reasons I don't remember but that probably had to do with non-payment of rent we moved to another old house on York Street between Colfax Avenue and 14th Avenue.

All of this would not have been so nerve racking for me if my mother had not left it to my father to enroll us in our new schools. Unfortunately for me but probably deliberately for her, she had neglected to tell my father before she left for work that she had never gotten around to enrolling us in school while we were living on 23rd Avenue. I expected anger when I told my father this but he just stood there looking at me with a mixture of sadness and resignation on his face. Then his face changed and he told me and my siblings to get in the car. He drove us to Stevens Elementary and herded us into the main office saying to the woman behind the counter, "My children haven't been in school and I'd like to register them here."

The school took us but put us behind a grade which meant I was back in the sixth grade for the remainder of the school year. When I got to my new classroom my teacher wondered out loud where she should seat me. A girl in the row next to where I was standing stuck her hand up and said I could sit next to her. We became good school friends and at the end of the year I thought I would never see her again but it turned out I was wrong.

That was the summer my father tried to kill himself, my siblings and I spent time in the foster home, and we moved to another old house on Elizabeth Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. That house was right across the alley from Stevens Elementary School. In the Fall I started seventh grade again at Morey Junior High School. I was very surprised to run into Sandy, my Stevens friend, on my first day there. It turned out that not only was she at Morey, she also lived right down the block from me on 12th Avenue. We became better friends as we walked to and from school each day and ate lunch together. At Morey we also became friends with another girl, Vicki, who walked part of the way home with us. She lived on the Morey side of Cheesman Park and she would walk with us until we reached Humboldt Street then turn south to her house while Sandy and I continued through the park and on to our neighborhood.

I considered Sandy and Vicki my best friends even though I knew Vicki wasn't happy with the fact that I was Sandy's friend first. I knew this by the sarcastic things she would say to me but I did not understand how deep her jealousy really was at the time. As the months passed things started to change. Vicki and Sandy were in a hurry to grow up while I was in no rush to do so. I already knew about the responsibilities of adulthood and had no illusions about the relationship between men and women. They thought I was a baby but I was the one older than my age, old enough to think most boys were immature jerks, old enough to know that dressing like an adult and doing the things that adults did, did not make you an adult. I knew one day they would "outgrow" me, it just happened sooner that I thought and in a brutal way.

(continued tomorrow)

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