Friday, February 15, 2013

The Friday Five

Ceej auditions for the NBC Peacock
A couple of recent blog posts about junior high school, triggered some memories. I'm sure it's not a time anyone would want to repeat. An awkward age fraught with questions of self worth especially if one hasn't blossomed yet.

I attended a parochial elementary school which went to eighth grade. I didn't want to go to a parochial high school, and fortunately for me, my parents had spent most of their money on sending my brother to a parochial prep school, I got to go to public school. There were three junior high schools in town covering grades 7 through 9.

I went from a tight knit class of 48 (all in one classroom!) to a sea of a couple of hundred kids. Most of my parochial school classmates went to the two other junior high schools in town or to parochial high school. The only person I knew was Himself, but he was in eighth grade, and I saw very little of him in school.

1. Going to the public school was a culture shock. Students didn't have to stand up beside their seat to recite. Yup, I got laughed at most of the first day because that habit was so ingrained. For the first time, I didn't have to wear a uniform, but there was a dress code. Girls had to wear skirts or dresses. Mini skirts were all the rage, though there was no weekly hem inspection to make sure hemlines were at a modest length like I had in 7th and 8th grade. We were not allowed to wear trousers or jeans. My class did petition the principal to wear slacks. We were granted this privilege only during the winter, and only if we wore a pantsuit a la Carol Brady from the tv show, The Brady Bunch.

2. It was the first time I had male teachers. I, and every  other girl in the school, fell madly in love with The Algebra Teacher. He was also the assistant football coach so I went to home games to watch him. All the girls stalked him. Stayed after school to clean the blackboards in his classroom. Hung around his car in the afternoon, or his parking space before school. There was a long line to dance with him at the 9th Grade Dance. Was a long time before I washed my right hand.

3. We were allowed to take electives, but parents had to approved and sign the form. My mother took me to enroll in the school so as the guidance counselor presented options Ma yayed or nayed them. I wanted to take technical drawing. Ma deemed that a "boy's" class. So instead, I had to take a half year of cooking and a half year of sewing. The cooking class was fun and the teacher was nice. We got to make things, and to eat them. At the end of the year, all the cooking classes put on a spaghetti dinner for the teachers. I did not like sewing. Didn't like the teacher and she wasn't too fond of me.

4. I had French starting in 6th grade, and would not be given credit for first year French class. The guidance counselor figured that the 3 years I had French were not accredited. On the first day of class, the French teacher asked who attended the parochial school  I raised my hand. I was informed she would not call on me the entire year as I already knew what she was teaching. Happened in 10th grade, too. I didn't bother reviewing and that hurt me in 11th grade when I struggled to make a C.

5. I did not have gym classes in parochial school. Found the locker room to be another culture shock.  We did have to wear a gym uniform. It was a navy blue, sleeveless shortall. The armholes were small so the edge of the material cut into your arm pits. Not very comfortable. A white sweatshirt if the weather was cold, and white Keds oxford sneakers.  I wouldn't have minded gym if we played softball or kick ball. Gym was an endless round of push ups and sit ups and running  laps for The President's Council on Physical Fitness test. We also did stupid floor exercise dances and an embarrassing dance to a song, Chicken Fat.

Oh, and one more, because junior high wasn't all bad.

6. There were also extracurricular clubs to join, and you didn't have to be a cheerleader or a jock.  I joined the Art Club.

What did you like or hate about junior high school?


  1. Forgot to add, this was 1970 in case you couldn't tell by the length of the collar points on my blouse.

  2. 1970's...I try so hard to forget!

  3. I went 1-8 also. Our class had 31 in it.