Hello all you wizards of words, the last few days my trigger button was pushed and the security door was open letting out my Chum in all his forms. Today I’m feeling better, in fact feeling good enough to dive head first participating in a weekly ritual those of us on social media “Throw Back Thursday”. The inspiration for this memory is my eighties playlist. With songs like “I Ran”, “Union Of The Snake”, “Your Love” I am transported back to my Jr. High years. It was a time where my life completely changed. Taking on new responsibilities as my generation steps one foot closer to adulthood. It’s funny when you’re a kid you spend your childhood trying to convince everyone you’re old enough to handle things than once you become an adult, you spend the rest of your life trying to recoup your childhood. I guess this is why trending fads like Flashback Fridays or Throw Back Tuesdays are most popular.
Popping The Bubble: Entering Jr. High School I transformed from this little snot-nosed kid who only social life revolved around family activities and Church social. In the African-American community Church is essential. You will spend you entire life participating in Church functions. Monday was senior bible study. I went with my Grandmother who in my view was the highest power there was, only God was higher. My Grandmother had the power to stop Church if us kids were acting up. I use to sit next to her, she will sneak me a piece of candy or give me a little toy. Oh and during the summer months the drone from the fan would put me to sleep. I would slouch on Grandma shoulder. She was always comforting force in my life. Tuesday is some type of clothing, toy drive or bake sale. Wednesday is bible study. Usually at a Church member home. I wasn’t too happy going because we would be at someone house for hours. I couldn’t wait til it was over then you can eat cookies and punch. Thursday was youth night. Never quite understood the purpose. I guess it was a way to keep us off the streets. We would watch movies and play games things like that. Friday is choir practice. Saturday is usually when we have a visit from another Church. Then Sundays oh my dears, the first Sunday of the month is an all day event. Sunday school in the morning then breakfast. Afternoon service then a snack and even service with dinner after. We didn’t get home until way after ten o’clock. Most of our family function revolved around the Church schedule. This was the routine.
Notable Births of 1982:
Adam Lamber* Kelly Clarkson* Nicki Minaj
Back To School Shopping: Back then, summer ended on Labor day. All of LAUSD goes back to school the day after Labor Day As the dog days of summer comes to a close, my Mother had two weeks to get me and my big sister Box who is seven years older ready for school. I am the youngest of six and always up to antics. My last-minute summer antics of fun flies by as school shopping approaches. Shopping wasn’t high on my list of things. I wasn’t allow an opinion or make any decisions as to what wear. The three of us would spend hours in Zodys, JC Penny’s or Sears. Combing through thousands of clothing. My mother had a particular liking to corduroy jeans, sandals and lets not forget those multi-colored shirts the one that has some kind of rainbow splashed across the front. This time, however, things were different. My mother said I am a big girl now ready to make big girl decisions. For the first time in my life I was allowed to pick my own clothing. This was revolutionary and the kind of change that I welcomed. I walked into the store a grade-school kid and walked out grown-up-ish.
Junior High: School, finally arrives. It’s a time that I was looking forward to. It’s funny looking back I realize what Junior means. Not only it’s a prequel to High School but it’s the door you open to adulthood. You become more independent and able to understand the decisions you make has consequences. I remember lying in bed anticipating the clock hitting six-thirty. I was so excited I couldn’t breathe. I was up early had my breakfast and packed ready to go. Since it’s my first day my big sister Nay Nay was taking me. Oh I am the youngest of six siblings. It’s a family affair. My brother Jr. gave me five dollars for lunch. Off we go. At school I remember walking up those steps through those big iron double doors stepping into a hallway of mystery. It’s like a scene from a movie. Kids everywhere. The echos of voices in all direction. I admit I was overwhelmed. After getting my package from the office, we located my locker. My sister hands me my backpack I tell her I’m good and can manage. She’s leaves waving goodbye. Oh my gosh I was so terrified. First time I felt so alone standing in a crowd. I managed to find first period. Standing there looking around the kids staring back as if I was on display, I scan the room for a desk. I pick a desk next a girl who would completely change my life and we would become fast friends
Introduction To Friendship: As I enter my first period, I feel uneasy and awkward. My speech was off. I have a bad speech impediment. I have a hard time pronouncing words with letter R, Y and W. I was terrified that I would get picked on and laughed at. I take my seat. The girl sitting next to me is pretending to read. Completely ignoring her surroundings. Like a douche I started a conversation. She actually engaged back. A little chatty box. But we would hit it off. She’s of Indian descent. She starts to tell me about her culture. Naila and would become the best of friends and members of this budding group of what I call misfits. As the day progressed, lunch time is now upon us. I go to the cantina get my grub find Naila. We ended up at a bench where another girl was having her lunch. I seen her in three of my classes. Blu-Jasmine is her nickname but she is an amazing person. The three of us chatting under a tree at a bench looking over our Trapper Keeper. Oh yes Trapper Keepers were the rage. I like my white so I can drawn and add stickers of my favorite bands. Naila loved Culture Club, Blu was a fan of Duran Duran and me Men At Work. Despite our background we bonded over the love of music and to this day these two women have a special place in my heart. Blu & I go way back she’s is one of my champion.
Class Act: Like with everything in this country there’s level or classes. Jr High is no different. You had all the Jocks and Cheerleaders as one group. The Goth Kids, the Freaks and Geeks, the Preppie Kids (the wealthy), the rocker/skateboard kids and then there were us. The Misfits. We didn’t fit into anyone particular group but he managed to find each other. This is how the dynamic would be for seventh and eighth grades. Eventually we “the misfits” would be come popular. Isn’t that a kick in the head “popularity”. Jr. High was interesting dynamic, not only did we learned the basic fundamentals of education, Jr High is where I learned how to communicate, how to socialize, how to be a diplomat. I learned what battles to pick and what wars to fight. It’s a lesson that is since lost with millennial.
It’s an experience I am grateful and blessed to have.