A year of great anticipation. The thought of going to high school. Soon, free to an open campus to lunch at will. This great even if moon walked to. Dribbling a basketball everywhere around town in becoming the next great thing in the WMBA. Trips to the Hitching Post for Coke and Mrs. PacMan.
But for now, the last year of middle school. Starting my period. Singing in an all-school talent show ass-embly some ridiculous church song tribute to my mother. By choice and a little prompting on HER part. How stupid. Wow! And remembering I was nearly gonged from the stage, but saved by an empathetic faculty and Solid Gold dancers. Wishing I had been singing “Billy Jean” or something….anything else. Wanting to just run from this. Didn’t. I was capable of humbling even then.
Being at the top of my class and delivering the promotion to ninth grade speech. Going out to eat at Long John Silvers to celebrate with the family, my baby sister flinging hush puppies. No more nasty P.E. Classes with Coach Karr (the mother), and Coach Karr, (the creepy mustached son math teacher) in this German Wurstfest racist town. A town of 600, in which resided a darker skinned minority on the wrong side-of-town, along with a nine-pin bowling alley which employed Mexican children to set pins by hand and earn black eyes along with less than minimum wages.
No more mildewed locker rooms with those stubborn old swing- to- a- 45- degree elbow windows. Some of the more immature, pock-faced weird boys tried to look into these as if to score something big in mostly small cups. No more open showering and comparing endowments to deficits, mall clothes, and underwear. No more of this awkwardness. No. On to other, all new and deplorably improved high school awkwardnesses.
1980. Secretly being in love with John Travolta, and the Bee Gees. Barry Gibb. Wanting my own dream boyfriend in Scott Baio, Leif Garret, and any other popular postered “Teen Magazine” centerfold guy. Secretly in love with so many beautiful graduating guys, some of whom used to ride my bus, only to leave me behind like debris from a hot, south central Texas flash flood of emotion. Hanging out the bus window in looking back with the wind in my face. Roddy Potty throwing candy at me and cussing. Up to the bus wheels in high water warning drop offs. Leaving me lusting for unsung love and attention. Back seats off limits, just as hickeys, and real action. Guilty imagined pleasures.
Popular and fringe boys in collared prepie, or tank tops, with long feathered hair that would put Beiber to shame. Some boys with hair slicked back, flicking switchblade combs, or pocketing hard, wide Goody-s. Boys playing men and combing parking lots with chesty girls in Trans Ams and Camaros parking at Windsor Park Mall for moves and movies. Boys who stuffed socks down their pants to get girls’ attention. Football pep rallies every Friday afternoon on cue. Same old dull speeches of conquest and football holds.
1980. Me. Plain old, straight arrow, molly Mormon who didn’t go to keggers, or even to parties to play “truth or dare.” Who stayed home. Who had only been kissed by a father she hated.
Propositioned by creepy Doug Heggenour in the sixth grade, when he gifted a nic nac paddy whack give a girl a boner, night-capped figurine of a cartoon guy confessing “I could fall madly in bed with you.” Shocker! To which my mother shouted, “You are returning that thing promptly to that boy tomorrow!” and “I AM calling his mother right now!” Me who had barely “gone with” anyone…. maybe two guys in middle school, mostly feeling humiliated in this and humiliated in that. Not wanting to return the disgraceful thing…mostly in defiance….but because it was mine, no matter how dirty. And knowing that doing so would mean an end to holding hands at recess, or sneaking looks and touches during noisy reel-to-reel science and health movies.
Me finally being noticed for this thing by a history teacher I had secretly held a crush for. Mr. Ingerfinger, as my brother Rocky called him. Mr Ingersoll who was from Minnesota, a married Lutheran, and the best dodge ball player of all teachers past, present, and future. Mr. I., whom I had given a Book of Mormon to at the prodding of my crazy, religiously fanatical mother. All the while thinking myself the better for it.
1980. Just me. Nobody me. Me sitting at home studying, or reading, or writing, with no prospects, and listening to Casey Kasem count down “America’s Top Hits” on Saturday night. Tenuously watching in peace, the Twilight Zone, in being up past a designated bedtime, watching and warning headlights of parents coming home from Date Night. Late night listening to myself play guitar in trying to tune out parents’ dysfunctional fighting when they were home, which was TOO MUCH.
Wishing I were a chesty girl, instead of the athletic flatty “A” cup scholar that I was. Never comfortable in my body or satisfied with my teenage reality. Thinking it all very hopeless. A jail-like controlled existence. Wishing time would fly by and take me away. Wishing by some magical, wishing dust moment from the movie “Thirteen Going on Thirty,” that someone beautiful, and godly powerful would whisk me from my thirteen-hood non-existence. Some fairy god-mother type would drop me off where I would step into a sexy thirty-something fabulously hot body in having a meaningful, normal television reality.
1980. Wow! It has been some thirty-four years since I was nearly fourteen years old. Fourteen is now the age of my youngest daughter. Thirty four, the age of my mother back then when I was thirteen. Now I am forty-something and possess a Russel Crowe “Beautiful Mind,” that until recently I did not know was possible. JK. One of my gifts is that I am imaginative.
2014. It’s just sometimes I can hardly tell reality from fiction. This can be a problem. Other times a blessing as I see huge sparkly stars suddenly appear in the dark sky, and make believe friends into existence, who see these stars with me. This thing feels like a Copernicus break through, when in reality it is just a Ptolemy miscalculated model, one in which I am the Earth at the center, instead of Jesus, the Sun. At fourteen, I could unmistakeably tell my pathetic reality and wanted a better fictional one.
Somehow I thought I would be farther ahead of that by now. Truth is I am not. I am doing the same delusional thinking that I did back then in wanting more, only I can’t seem to escape the nightmares in moving on. The good news however, is that I have inherited a homemade telescope from the teacher workroom. I am working on the lenses, and Jesus is coming more into view. This feels warm and bright in displacing darkness. So where I am at is really pretty wonderful and denying this is futile.
I look at the digits of the year I am remembering…..1980.
My Fourth grade math teacher mind tries to find a pattern in this thing. The digits as addends add up to a sum of 18, a multiple of NINE. Astrologically I think that my new blog friend, lavernjdwilde, could explain this in terms of Numerology, as my AZ. friend Che’ tells me of A Newberry Nominee called Counting by Sevens. I think more literally toward Children’s and Young Adult Literature, something I would like to write one day. Maybe if it is not too edgy. I am doing a count down even as I count up. Ha ha.
I am stuck in nines for now. I think of a chance student doing the finger trick for multiples of nine. This word NINE being German for “NO!” This being the opperative word with that particular student. I think, NO, I would not want to go back to 1980, even if I could. I spin the statement to positive in…YES, as if in a game of “Spin the Bottle.” I choose to stay in 2014 in my North Summit happy valley most days. I am quite happy with who I am, and where I am. Besides, anytime I want to relive my teens, I know I can pause in being present with my own daughters. They are encouraging.
I think that in a few years my girls will have daughters of their own. When my granddaughters are 19, I will be nearly 80. This is when I will live in Italy, and travel to see the Monks on Mt. Athos. Such is my pathos toward a growing blogging family. And as I have told my Yoda Blog master mentor in learning the ways of the Force, “I will go down trying.” The words of Cyndi Lauper play on Sirius, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” I am living the abundant dream of the ’80s now and always. Generation X and I turn onto the lane that leads to home, and as I slow for deer, I smile a Ronald Reagan smile that would melt a nation. 🙂