Monday, June 8, 2015
No, she really did. I spied her the very first day in junior high in Mrs. Nichols' homeroom. She and her friend Sophie were both curly blondes, wicked smart and oh so quiet. I mean 'didn't talk quiet'. They were cute too. This was a new world for me, away from St. Joseph's School where I had gone since kindergarten knowing the same faces every year. This was my brave new world. Cynthia and Sophie never got in trouble. Trouble found me. The girls both carried home report cards each quarter with nothing but an A+ next to each subject. I struggled for B's and C's and sometimes less. You might say, as a 7th grader, I was an 'active child'. Let's leave it at that. I loved PE (gym class) though. Well, I loved it until the day Mr. Atwood announced that the following day we'd start square dancing... with members of the opposite sex. Yikes! I was nervous. I couldn't sleep. I think I had a mild case of diarrhea. I was in tough shape. I even thought about 'playing sick' and staying home from school but thought that would only make it worse. 10:30 and Gym class came and Mr. A. lined the boys on one side of the gym and the girls on the other. The first day the boys would walk across the gym and select their partners. The next class the girls would. What to do? Walk fast and pick a girl I'd like to dance with or walk slow and get what was left. What to do? I'm just happy I didn't stop 1/2 way across the floor and breakdown in tears or worse. One kid did. As I was walking, I spied Cynthia standing there and made a beeline for her. I must admit she hardly gave me the time of day in class, except when I was up to mischief. Then I always thought I detected a small smile creeping my way. So I knew she didn't hate me. What to do? I had readied myself for rejection, but she nodded yes and we headed for the center of the floor. I must admit it wasn't torture. I think I had fun. She admitted she was as nervous as I was that day. I guess you could say we survived!
The next day she and Sophie were absent. It was a Jewish holiday. Darn. Now what?
Gym class. What to do? I KNEW she would pick me. What now though? My stomach wasn't feeling too fine. All bets were off. What girl would pick me now? Well, Bente did. It was fun again. After a couple more classes, square dancing was over for the year.
I had survived!
And thank you Cynthia.
You saved my life!
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I taught 7th grade for 12 years during my career, and I can sympathize with your feelings. You were such a brave lad!!ReplyDelete
I taught it for 40! I feel my pain.Delete
40 years! I never would have lasted. I loved that grade (and 9th) more than any of the 10-12 grades that I later taught, but my stamina did not withstand the energy level. They were funny and loving kids. Still hear from many of them, now in there 40s!!Delete
7th grade was not good. I taught 8th grade. Overall, that was a great age!ReplyDelete
The only thing I remember well about 7th grade was having to find my locker. :-)ReplyDelete
I too remember square dance classes and I hated them! The girls were just as nervous as the boys. I recall that our teacher made us draw our partner's name from a bucket. That way no one was embarrassed to be the last one chosen. I think that was a much fairer thing to do. I know how horrible it feels. I was always the last one to be chosen in softball or volleyball. I was a horrible player and I couldn't understand why I always missed the ball when I was at bat and couldn't catch one to save my life. Then as a late teen when my parents had my eyes examined I discovered that I was practically blind in one eye and had absolutely no depth perception. No wonder those balls always eluded me! So I quit trying to play ball and excelled in other things. Maybe I should have gone back to square dancing!ReplyDelete
Oh I hated the dancing lessons in gym. Better than dodge ball though.ReplyDelete
Ugh, all I remember about years of gym class is that I blocked most of out because it was absolutely horrid..from the stupid ugly gym suit they made us wear, to the frozen hair after swim, walking across the street back to my next class in 20 degree weather.ReplyDelete
Oh ugh, I remember those days very well. I remember those square dance lessons. We all hated it not so much for the dancing but the pairing up part. I was awful at sports so I was used to being picked last but, when it was for dancing it somehow felt worse.ReplyDelete
7th grade seems to be an anxious time for many reasons.ReplyDelete
What a cute story and a walk down memory lane. I remember the square dancing days in gym classes too. It was fun but the picking partners was awful for everyone!!ReplyDelete
We also had formal slow dancing and that was even worse. LOL
Thanks for sharing.
Have a great week ahead. CM
'one kid did.' how sad!ReplyDelete
What a story!ReplyDelete
Quite a story! In fairness, it's square dancing, and who wants to do that?ReplyDelete
Square dancing at that young age really can be torture! ;)ReplyDelete
We did square dancing in 6th...having to hold hands with the boys we grew up with! Our reaction the first time? Wild giggles!!! We also had local ballroom dance classes & a cotillon with white gloves and some giggles there too. I never outgrew my love of folk dance, except my knees did at a certain age...I'm glad your teacher let the girls have turns choosing as well.ReplyDelete
I just noticed the photo. I guess we had pretty lucky childhoods when you stop to reflect on the life of European 12 and 13 year olds, Jewish & otherwise, during the holocaust...ReplyDelete
What darling memories. Everything was so critical back then, wasn't it! :) Oh, yes, it surely was for me, too.ReplyDelete
Loved the narration, so visually evocative!!ReplyDelete
Wonderful post Birdman.ReplyDelete
Sometimes I think you may become the Mark Twain of 21st Century New England. Keep going. You're retired now. Write a book.ReplyDelete
Cute story. Cynthia was probably happy she was picked too. No one likes to be left out, especially at that age.ReplyDelete
Great story, wonderful post!ReplyDelete
oh my gosh. That is hilarious.ReplyDelete
We took such things so seriously back then!!
Aww. Did Cynthia's life-saving story earn her a place in the Jewish Museum of the tree of life synagogue?ReplyDelete
Absolutely! At least in my book.Delete