7th Grade Memories

Back when I first entered kindergarten, my mom did mild bit of forgery on my hospital birth certificate to get me into school a year early. So, I was 4 when I started kindergarten, 5 starting 1st grade, 6 at the beginning of 2nd, etc. I was a smarty-pants, so I did pretty well, spending all 7 years of K-6 in the same school.

If you’ve done the math with me, you’ll know I started 7th grade as an 11-year-old. Which wouldn’t be so bad if I’d gone on to the local junior high with my friends. But the summer between 6th and 7th, we moved from Los Angeles County to the San Bernadino Mountains. I would have to start those most agonizing school years, junior high, in a new school where I knew no one. Even worse, the school I would be attending was a diabolical experiment called a “junior-senior” high school (7th through 12th grade). Okay, it wasn’t diabolical. There weren’t enough students for two schools. But still, that was a lot for a nerdette like me to face.

I was positively geekish as an 11-year-old. I wasn’t too great at personal hygiene, knew zilch about makeup, was awkward and a little pudgy. I remember taking a stab at shaving my legs one morning before school, except I only had time to shave one. So I went to school with one hairy and one not.

So, not any kind of popular. Rubbing elbows with a bunch of cruel, haughty 13- and 14-year-old 8th graders was enough of a challenge, let alone those lofty high schoolers.

Luckily, the older ones ignored me as being beyond notice. The teachers adored me, since I was a Good Student. And there were a few students in my age group, the ones who walk with the angels, who were kind to me, even if they weren’t actually friends. A couple of the nicest were cheerleaders, so you can dump that stereotype.

But there were the mean girls, as there always are. They took such delight in embarrassing and belittling me. They were definitely not cheerleaders. There was nothing cheerful about them.

I sometimes wonder what happened to my tormentors. Maybe they married ugly guys and got fat. Maybe they had an epiphany and realized the error of their ways and were nice forevermore. Ah, I can dream.

So, worst high school memory–looking forward for weeks to the field trip to Disneyland, then getting hit with a horrible flu the day we were supposed to go. I went anyway and was miserable the whole time.

Best high school memory–dissecting a mink (long dead and preserved in formaldehyde). My lab partner and I decided to focus on the skeleton. When it took too long to cut the meat off the bones, I took the leg home to work on it there. Mom got the great idea to boil it on the stove in water with bleach added. Boy, was that a dandy solution. Nothing but bones left after just a minute or so. Don’t try this at home!

About karensandler

Lover of chocolate. A couple felines short of full-fledged Cat Lady. Author of the YA Tankborn Trilogy (TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and REBELLION), from Tu Books. Founding team member of We Need Diverse Books. Opinions expressed here are my own.
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One Response to 7th Grade Memories

  1. Angelica says:

    I was only 11 in 7th grade, too, and went to 2 junior high schools. Got out of high school at 16, though, so it all balances out.

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