Tag Archives: school

Finishing up school day activities and such

Ok, rather than get carried away with every memory I have from school, I’m going to focus on the activities, clubs, sports, etc that I participated in during those years.  So, I mentioned UIL in elementary school.  To continue with that, in 4th grade, I was in UIL Math.  It seems like I was in 5th and 6th grade as well, but I’m not certain.  I also did Poetry Reading in at least one of those years.  I’d have to dig through old photo albums to try and find out for sure.  It’s weird that I was so good in math.  That lasted through algebra, which I took in 8th grade.  For some stupid reason, our school had us take geometry before taking algebra II.  Geometry….well let’s just say anything I ever thought I knew went away in that class.  Primarly because our “teacher” was looney and when I say she didn’t teach us anything all year, I am not exaggerating.  She gave tests that no one passed (well mostly no one) but curved everyone’s grades so we did.  It was a complete joke.  By the time I got to algebra II, which I did ok in, but struggled, and then pre-calculus after that…that is what truly ruined me.  I couldn’t make sense of any of it.  Our teacher just kept saying memorize the formulas and follow them.  She would get so frustrated with me because I couldnt’ understand the WHY behind any of the formulas.  And in order for me to learn them, I needed to know what it all meant.  She just kept telling me to memorize the formulas and not worry about it.  So, I memorized them as best I could and scraped my way through the class barely making a C (I was a mostly A, some B student).  I gave up on math after that.

See?  I just can’t stick to the topic.  I get carried off on tangents, just like my Grammy K used to.  😛

Ok, junior high.  I was in UIL both 7th and 8th grade.  This time it was for Prose.  I remember in 8th grade I read an excerpt from To Kill a Mockingbird.  I had so much fun doing that one.  It was the part where the teacher freaks out over finding a “cootie” in a child’s hair.  I was the Student Council President in 8th grade.  I also started playing volleyball in 7th grade (first year we had the opportunity).  I played every year after that, all the way through graduation.  I was never what I would call “athletic” but for some reason, I fell in love with volleyball.  I was pretty good, too. 

Anyway, sticking to the topic, I also was a cheerleader in 8th grade and my freshman year in highschool.  I didn’t try out again after that because 1) it interfered with volleyball, and 2) it stopped being fun when it became all about popularity.  I marched to the beat of my own drum, and in a small town school, that was not something  that fostered popularity or a desire to be with that group.  Not that they were bad people, I just wasn’t into the same things they were for the most part.  I had my “bad boy” boyfriend by then, too, which didn’t help matters.  I hope this is not sounding bitter or mean.  I’m trying not to get carried away with stories right now and just giving some basics.  The bad boy and I got together in 7th grade and were off and on, mostly on, through graduation.  I’ve referred to him previously here as Psycho (he called himself that back then, so I’m not being ugly by calling him that). 

High school:  As I mentioned, I played volleyball all 4 years.  We had a freshman, JV, and varsity team.  Midway through my freshman season, I was moved up to JV.  By my sophmore year, I was on varsity.  My senior year, I was named to the All District team, voted my team’s MVP and Best Offensive player.  It was an interesting year because basically, by then, I was the only senior on the team.  It was a “rebuilding” year.  We had 2 juniors and the rest of the team were sophmores.  Apparently a period of disinterest in volleyball over those few years, I don’t know.  But it was still fun and one of my very favorite parts of my high school experience.  I was also voted the “Volleyball Sweetheart” for Homecoming.  I didn’t tell anyone I was planning to do this, but my dress had a long slit up on leg.  So, when they escorted us out onto the field and announced me, I popped one leg out from the dress and had on my red volleyball kneepad!  It was awesome!  My coach loved it and, for atleast the next couple of years while she was still at that school, it became a tradition that the volleyball sweetheart wear a kneepad out on the field.  :) 

I was on student council, but that was pretty lame and we never really did much of anything.  I only did that two years I think.  I was in FHA and the FHA reporter for one year.  That Future Homemaker’s of America.  Looking back, I’m surprised that there was a group essentially dedicated to those who aspired to be….stay at home mom’s.  No one took it for that reason though, but if I read back over some of the materials about FHA, that’s essentially what it was.  We all took it because it was fun and easy and the teachers were cool.  😛  I don’t think I was in UIL 9th or 10th grade.  Not for lack of wanting to be, the teachers just didn’t seek us out like they did in younger grades.  In fact, I don’t think I even realized UIL still existed until my sophmore year when my English teacher asked why I wasn’t participating. 

In 11th grade, I took typewriting (yes, back when we still actually used typewriters instead of computers) as one of my electives.  That teacher immediately recruited me for UIL typing.  So, 11th and 12th grade I did that.  In 11th grade, I won at district, advanced to regionals, and right before the contest, I jammed my finger playing volleyball.  It was off-season, so it was just a stupid injury from goofing around in the gym during athletics.  Needless to say, my typing teacher wasn’t thrilled with me.  My finger was swollen and I could barely bend it.  But I suffered through it and still managed to get 3rd place.  Not high enough to advance though.  My senior year, after again winning and advancing, my teacher joked with me about how she better not see me anywhere near a volleyball before contest.  Yet somehow, I don’t even remember the circumstances, but you guessed it, I jammed a finger (different one this time, but also from volleyball).  She heard about it before I even made it out of the gym to head to lunch.  I was less driven and less serious about typing that year, I will admit.  And I will never pass up a chance to play volleyball, so….I did ok at contest, but again, not enough to advance to state.  When I think back, I’m irritated at myself for that.  If I’d been 100%, I have no doubt I could have advanced.  Based on the scores of those who did, I KNOW I could have.  I was getting practice scores that high on a regular basis.  But, I was having too much fun being a senior to practice and focus (and skip gym for a few weeks).  It would have been fun to go to state contest, but at the time, I would rather stay home and hang out with the boyfriend and my two best gal pals.  Ah, the follies of youth.

I was also in One Act Play in high school.  Every year except freshman.  That was a lot of fun, too.  I won a couple of awards my senior year.  I was never in a starring role, which was fine with me because, as I mentioned before, I was kind of flaky in high school.  I was all about spending every spare second with Psycho. 

Ok, I think that pretty much sums up my school activities, the officially sanctioned ones at least.

Tell me about your past.

There’s far more I need to get out about Red, but don’t have it in me today.  Instead, I’ll move on to the next assignment of chronicling my life.  I guess all therapy sessions get around to this at some point, but let me start out by saying I did not have a troubled childhood, my parents weren’t abusive alcoholics, and I don’t think I’ve got buried memories too painful to recall.

I was born in Memphis, Tennessee.  I have 3 older brothers so I am not only the youngest, but the only girl.  I’ve heard the stories told many times that, while my mother loves all her boys, she really wanted a girl, too. When she was pregnant with me, I think it had pretty much been decided that, girl or not, my parents were stopping at four children.  My dad (in a life before I knew him) used to be big into deer and bird hunting.  It was something he did with his father, who died long before I was born.  Dad had a hunting trip planned with some of his buddies the day mom went into labor with me.  He called his friends later to tell them he had caught himself a doe…a two-legged one!  It was December when I was born and they brought me home on Christmas day in a big red Christmas stocking.

I wasn’t even a year old when my family moved to Texas, so I have no memories of ever living in Memphis, though we went back to visit regularly for many years.  My dad had a job opportunity that he and several of the guys he worked with in Memphis took advantage of so he moved our family to Southeast Texas.  This is where all of my childhood memories are found, starting around kindergarten.  I don’t think I have any true memories earlier than that, only stories and pictures I’ve heard and seen enough to make them feel like my own.  I do know that I loved school and was probably what you would call a teacher’s pet in kindergarten and first grade. 

In kindergarten, I remember those blowup alphabet people were the big thing.  I can’t remember what they were officially called, but I remember they were these large squarish vinyl characters and there was one for each letter of the alphabet.  It seems like each one had a trait or hobby or something that started with the corresponding letter.  Maybe there were songs for each one, too, but I’m pretty fuzzy on this memory.  I remember we had “Grandparents’ Day” and since both of my grandfathers died before I was born, and both of my grandmothers were back in Memphis, a lady from church went to school with me as my adopted grandmother.  Lila Whitford, I think.  I just remember she was a sweet lady and I had fun serving her cookies and punch.

My primary memory from first grade is that we had spelling tests each week.  One week, my teacher, Mrs Jackson, had lost her voice and so, me being the pet that I was, she had me sit at her desk while she called out the spelling words to me as best she could so I could take the test.  After I had completed it (with a perfect score, thank you very much!) I stood in front of the class and called out the words to the class so they could take the test.  Maybe I was oblivious, but I don’t recall there being any of that annoyance over the whole “teacher’s pet” situation.  I got along well with the other kids and had lots of friends.  Perhaps I was too naive to realize they were rolling their eyes at me behind my back, I don’t think so, but it doesn’t really matter now.

The summer after first grade, we moved further from town, just outside the city limits, so I would start 2nd grade at a new school in a much more rural, small town setting.  When I first started, they had me in Mrs Handy’s class, but in less than a week, they moved me to Mrs Allen’s.  There were 3 second grade classes:  Mrs Allen, Mrs Davis, and Mrs Handy.  It seems so terrible now, but we all knew, even back then, how the classes were divided.  The “smartest” students were in Mrs Allens, then it went to Davis, then Handy.  Whether they knew it or not, they had created this miniature caste system among us.  When I moved to 3rd grade, it was the same setup, just 3 different teachers.  But even then, it was a small school, we all knew each other and everyone got along for the most part.  It’s weird to me now to realize that, even at that young age, there were cliques, and of course the “popular” kids.  I like to think that even though I was popular at that time, I “played well with others.”  If I’m honest with myself, I know that isn’t 100% true.  I do remember making fun of a couple of kids.  I feel bad about that now.  The two I recall both moved away so I often wonder what happened to them and hope they are doing well.

I also remember we used to have to take the CTBS (I think that’s what it was) Test each year.  I never have figured out why, but they always took me and one other student in another room, usually the teachers’ lounge, to complete our tests.  We were both “brainy” but I still can’t figure out why they singled us out like that.  The other student, let’s call him Hebert, and I were always at each other’s throats.  We hated each other.  Or at least that’s what we called it up until at least 4th or 5th grade.  I think it was a competitive thing in one way, but perhaps partially a childhood crush of some sort.  Because isn’t that what you do to people you like at that age?  I remember Hebert actually formed a club, the [Daisy-Head] Haters club he called it.  There were several boys I remember being part of it at one time or another.  Seems like there was a girl or two at some point as well.  I think that lasted until about 5th or 6th grade…and then, when the ringleader moved away, the club fizzled.  They never really did anything but get together at recess and make faces at me.  There were words exchanged, but I don’t remember any of it really being that bad.  I wasn’t scarred or traumatized or driven to tears by it.  Funny enough, Hebert and I recently reconnected (after 20+years!) on facebook.  He seems like a likable guy and managed to hang on to his “smarts,” while I think I started to get uncomfortable with mine and “dumbing down” by junior high.  Anyway, he apologized for starting that club all those years ago, and we’ve laughed about it and moved on. 

In 2nd and 3rd grade I was in UIL Storytelling.  This was where students from all over the region would meet and compete in different categories.  For storytelling, the students were put in a room together and read a story.  Afterwards, we left the room and then were taken back in one-by-one and had to retell the story from memory.  To practice at school, the teachers would read me a short story in the hall and then I (and a couple of others who did it as well) had to go in front of the class to retell the story.  It was fun and apparently I was pretty good at it, pausing for dramatic effect, changing my voice for different characters, and remembering the tiniest of details.  I could never do that today.  I can’t remember the movie I just watched, much less be able to tell someone about it in detail!

I also remember that, when I was in 3rd grade, it was all about Michael Jackson.  We had small cassette players and my friend, SS, had copied his Thriller album (yes an actual RECORD) onto tape so we could listen to it at recess.  Oh boy.  I have to tell the whole story here.  We didn’t just listen.  There was a group of about 8 of us girls who would all gather around the tape player, with the album cover propped up (with him laying down in the white suit) next to it and just swoooon over him.  We also danced.  Every day at recess.  The full routine to Beat It and Thriller from the videos.  My family didn’t have MTV, but SS did so she recorded the videos for me.  We learned the dances and taught the other girls.  We would actually get up and PERFORM these in front of the whole school at recess.  We (thought we) were so cool.  We even had a Dance Off with the guys once…and a moonwalking contest.  I still crack up when I think about it.  It’s too bad (or is it?) there’s no videos of that.  Would be hysterical to watch at a class reunion. 

Perhaps one of the greatest memories of my elementary school days was on my first day of school in 2nd grade.  SS, who was the principal’s daughter, came up to me on the playground and said, “Hi.  I’m SS.  Will you be my friend?”  Of course I said yes, and I was, and we are still friends to this very day.  We couldn’t have been more different from each other.  She lived in the country, raised animals, was in 4-H, showed her animals at the fair.  My experience with animals was limited to dogs and cats.  She listened to country music and dreamed of owning a “duelie” truck when she was older.  I listened to alternative music and wanted a Porsche.  As we grew older, she wore Justin Ropers and Rocky Mountains.  I wore crazy tights and big chunky-heeled shoes (I still do actually!).  She was a good girl and I was the wild child.  But ever since we met that day on the playground all those years ago, we’ve been great friends. 

I think these assignments are far too broad.  Or I’m too long-winded.  It’s been far more than the suggested 45-minutes, and I haven’t even made it to middle school yet!  Ah well, stories for another day.  My hands can’t take anymore.  And I’m taking a vacation day from work tomorrow to give myself (and my hands) a rest!

The Facebook Phenomenon

I believe I’ve mentioned before that I am addicted to facebook.  In recent months, a number of old high school friends have joined and I am having a blast reconnecting with some of them.  I don’t remember who started it, but there is now an abundance of our old school days photos being uploaded there and it’s great to reminisce. 

In a lot of ways, I miss who I was back then.  I miss my independent spirit.  I miss my devil-may-care attitude.  I miss the feeling of being totally, head-over-heels for someone.  I miss trusting people and having close friends that I could talk to about anything.  I miss being so open and unguarded.  And I totally miss that body!!  What the hell happened to that girl?!  I know she’s buried in here somewhere, under many layers of fat and abuse and self-doubt that have accumulated over the past 15 years. 

I’m not one to make New Years’ resolutions, but this year, I’d like to try and find that girl again, dust her off, and let her shine.  Even just a little bit.