Friday, July 22, 2011

8th Grade (A Shameful Memory) - Memory Lane Friday

Memory Lane Friday is a weekly blog carnival where you can blog about your memories and link up.  Everyone is welcome.  This week's suggested topic is 8th grade, although you can blog about any memory and participate.

In December of my 8th grade year we moved across the state.  It was not a move I approved of.  Not one bit.  I wanted to stay with my friends in the school I knew and loved.  In my new middle school, I was no one.  And with my new school being in the suburbs of Washington D.C., I found the students to have a much higher focus on material things - and me without a single pair of Guess jeans.  Fitting in was hard.  On my very first day of school, I walked around all day with a lint sheet hanging out of the leg of my pants.  I was convinced, once discovered, that everyone must've thought it toilet paper.  I knew that was a bad way to start my new life.

But things got worse.  I walked into my Physical Science class, where students were seated in long lab table rows according to last name.  My teacher made everyone in the rows rearrange until I was seated next to the one girl who shared the same last name as me.  Her name was Mary.  She was beyond unpopular.  She had no friends and she didn't bathe regularly.  I loathed sitting next to her.  I would scoot my chair as far from hers as possible, trying to hold my breathe from the stench.  She never spoke to me, and I never spoke to her.  We grandly pretended the other didn't exist.  All we shared in common was our last names.

It was an ill-fated day that the Big Incident occurred.  The teacher was up front lecturing.  I was distracted by Mary, who had her head down on the desk, moaning on occasion.  I didn't bother to ask what was wrong, but wished I could've scooted further to the right, further away from her.  That's when I heard the splat of liquid on the floor.  Mary had thrown up.  If there was one thing, one fear I had, it was vomit.  VOMIT!  Right next to me!  And no one was doing ANYTHING!  I sat, sweating, heart racing, waiting for intervention that didn't come.  No one noticed.  Mary continued sitting there, head on the desk.  The teacher kept lecturing.  The smell kept drifting.  And there was foamy white and yellow vomit right next to my feet.  Finally, I couldn't bear it one more second.  I stood up, and exclaimed, "CAN'T SOMEONE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS?" and then I ran out.  I don't remember the evacuation or what happened to Mary or the clean up.  What I mostly remember is refusing to return to class that day.  I sat in the hall and said I wasn't going anywhere near the vomit.  Little princess much?

Mary didn't return to school for a few days after that.  When she did, we never spoke, and continued pretending the other didn't exist.  I only made one friend that school year, and was happy to move on to high school and better things the following year.  I don't recall ever thinking of the situation from Mary's perspective, or wondering how awful that must have been for her, until I was an adult.  What can I say?  Thirteen year olds are self-absorbed and selfish.  Or at least I was.  Thankfully we grow up and broaden our minds a bit.  I hope that Mary found more happiness in her adult life than in her teen years.

Want to link up to Memory Lane Friday?  Just add your website to the link up below.  Be sure to take the time to visit the blogs of other participants!


I'm taking some time off from Memory Lane Friday, so there will not be one next week.  Thanks for participating!

Got little ones?  Be sure to check out my giveaway for Toddler Toes HERE!

20 comments:

Sonya Heilmann said...

Oh, my goodness! I can only imagine how she must've felt.

But I can also imagine how you must've felt, having to move to a new town, a new school at that age.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Mary sounds like someone who had a tough time in middle school. I too hope things got easier as she got older.

texwisgirl said...

our young teenage selves are capable of stupid and sometimes almost cruel things. at least you didn't taunt her. you just ignored her. and yes, i hope she found happiness later on.

Nicole said...

That had to be hard. moving somewhere new and not knowing anyone!

Sorry about Mary, I hope things got better for year through the years too.

School... they say those are the best years of our lives, sometimes I wonder about that!?! lol
The only reason they were my 'best' years is because I didn't have to pay for anything!! Other than that, my best years were after high school!!

Jill said...

I can only imagine how hard it was for you to move to a new school...especially at that age.

My heart hurts for Mary. Hopefully, she has found happiness.

I will miss your Memories next Friday.

Melodie said...

We are not wise enough at that age to think much beyond ourselves.We were all just trying to survive middle school!

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

This would be traumatic to you but also Mary. I know the sympathy after becoming an adult. I feel for some of those kids that did not bathe and had no friends....

Farmchick said...

Gross for you and for her.

Valerie said...

I can relate to this. I had to move from Arlington VA to Washington state after the 10th grade. It was such a culture shock going from a big city to the sticks. I met a couple other newbies and we banded together-luckily I never had to sit next to anyone who tossed their cookies though! That would have been truly awful!

camp and cottage living said...

It was so honest of you to share this. I just wish we could have had more compassion when we are young. But we are so worried and influenced by peer pressure. I had a lot of Mary's walk in and out of my life as a teenager and never gave much of a thought to what their lives where like I'm ashamed to say. But I'm thankful for God's forgiveness-cause I sure needed it!!

Angela said...

That was gross! I think if I were sitting beside her I would have thrown up right after she did! I can't deal with vomit! lol

I would never want to go back to school. Kids were cruel! I feel for my daughter who is going to be in the 8th grade next month when school starts. So far there haven't been any problems. Let's just hope it stays that way!

Have a Great Day!
Angela

Kim said...

So sad that a kid can be sick enough to throw up in class and noone even notices.

Standing up, yelling, and running out is actually pretty brave for a young, shy girl to do!!

Ginny said...

Too bad you are taking a break from Memory Lane, I always enjoys yours so much. And as usual you kept me glued to the screen! But I was also stunned by this post, because you were ME!! In the eighth grade, we moved from D.C. to the suburbs in Maryland, about a half hour away on the beltway. I was the new kid in school and got hassled unbearably. I never did fit in at that school. The kids were extremely tough cookies. But there was one other girl more unpopular than me, much more unpopular. She had problems, ate extremely messy, and was very unkempt. She was the joke of the school, and I think her name may have been Mary.

OneMommy said...

I don't deal well with vomit now, so I can understand. Can't believe the teacher didn't notice before that!

stopping by from Mom Loop

Richard said...

I remember 8th grade, and how much i hated school. But then again that was in New York city which in my opinion had one of the worst school system in America. And maybe still does not not sure. I remember the over-crowdings at that time in the 1970s with budget cuts, those years were not memorable for me. Richard from Amish Stories.

An Irish Italian Blessing said...

Awww man, I think we all have those kind of memories and most of them probably revolve around school. The good thing is we learned from our mistakes and can teach our children a better way to handle those situations. xoxo Thanks for sharing!!!

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

I was pretty happy in junior high but pretty miserable in high school. So glad those days are ovah! :)

Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

I don't think most people would handle that situation well either! I knew a girl like Mary. I wish I would have had more perspective back then. I would have gone out of my way to be nicer!

jennohara said...

Oh my gosh, what a memory to have! I feel for both of you. It must have been hard to go to a new school for your last year of grade school!

Snappy Di said...

When I was in school there was also a girl named Mary who did not smell good, and many of the kids made fun of her, would not walk home on the same side of the street as her. She just always smelled really bad.

In 2007 I was in charge of our 35th High School class reunion and I got in touch with her since no one else ever had in those 35 years. She opened up to me and told me that she still bears the emotional scars from her school days. She told me that her dad was an alcoholic, spent all their money on booze and they did not have money for soap, shampoo or clothes detergent. I begged her to come to the reunion. Told her that people had grown up and would not treat her badly. She would not come. Won't even join Facebook to chat with the girls from those days. I rode the school bus so was not one of the ones that teased her on her walk home from school.

Sorry that girl puked next to you. I'm sure it probably gagged you. Hope one day you can find that girl and invite her to a class reunion too. It's nice when we all grow up and no longer judge like in our school days.

I enjoyed this post.
Di