First day of school – 7th grade

Today was Q’s first day of 7th grade.

I remember 7th grade. I had just gotten back from a trip to St. Louis, with my mom, on the train, to visit my Aunt Kris and to make a pilgrimage to Rocky Ridge Farm, the home of the adult Laura Ingalls Wilder.  (The pope died while we were en route to Missouri; I remember this clearly.)  I saw Pa’s fiddle and Mary’s organ and Laura’s china box with the little dog on top.  I got a copy of Donald Zochert’s book, Laura, as a souvenir.

I was in Mrs. Knobloch’s class at Circle View School; I had a green tote bag with an elephant appliqued on it (a souvenir from the St. Louis Zoo) instead of a backpack. My best friend Amy was in my homeroom (and, thus, in all my classes). It was 1978/79, the year of velour tops and designer jeans and “My Sharona.”  Amy and I were Raggedy Ann and Andy, respectively, for Halloween.  (We did not run with the popular crowd.)  We learned about Jonestown in Mr. Collier’s class, while Mr. DuVal taught us that “the age of the earth is 4.5 billion years.” That fact was on every test in 7th and 8th grade science.  I did pretty well on sit-ups in the Presidential Fitness Testing, but couldn’t do one pull-up.

My sister was an 8th grader with feathered hair and a cheerleading uniform and boys who were interested in her. I got sent to the principal’s office one day at lunch for threatening to cut her hair off with a knife.  I cried and explained that the knife was for cutting my apple – I had braces – and that the person I was “threatening” was my sister and that it was all a joke.  He let me go.  I think I got after-school detention, but that was no big deal, because I got detention all the time for talking in class.  Detention caused me to miss the bus, but Amy lived around the corner from the school, and I could walk over to her house.  We could do our homework, read Louisa May Alcott books, watch M*A*S*H, and maybe even cook miniature food.  If I was lucky – and I was often lucky – I’d get to stay for dinner.

Last summer, I visited with Amy after our 30-year Circle View reunion.  Amy pulled out a box with every single letter I’d ever sent her, from 6th grade on, all quite organized.  I was impressed.  All I have left from 7th grade are some photos, my yearbook, that copy of Laura, the book I got at Rocky Ridge Farm… and a ton of happy memories.  That’s what I wish for Quinland this year.

  • {Stress} released: I dropped my broken car off at the Subaru dealer tonight.  Go, me!

3 thoughts on “First day of school – 7th grade

  1. They mostly ended up to be jerky boys, as you recall, and the hair was to hang down over my face, like a veil or a mask, so that I could feel pretty without being seen 🙂 That story is awful! I never knew that! (Or, as my dear sister knows, if I did know it, I forgot it like everything else.)


  2. You didn’t turn me in for the “attack;” it was an extra-vigilant lunch lady. I think you were more annoyed than anything. 🙂

    I really liked 7th and 8th grade. People talk about how stressful middle school was for them, but I never felt that. Sure, I wished I weren’t such a late bloomer (and I wished I could walk in Candies without falling over), but I think it was all for the best. We had crushes on boys, but didn’t have any of the drama of actual relationships (since we never actually spoke to them!).


    1. Thanks for the laugh, and the memories of my own jr. high years. And memories of how ugly I dressed in 7th grade. NO fashion sense whatsoever. And no notion of daily hair-washing which should have been a requirement for me…but love the lack of drama of actual relationships; ah, those were the days.


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