Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pinehurst:: Seventh Grade


It was early in the school year, and may have been the first week. I was going somewhere, and needed to walk past the school. I was just reaching the breezeway, when I heard a "wolf-whistle." So I turned to see what was going on. A ninth grade guy, was standing by the doorway. He turned to his friend and said something about the "new" seventh-graders. I can't remember exactly what it was, but I had the distinct impression it was about my anatomy. I was mortified. (In those days you were.) I couldn't stand the sight of that kid from that day on, and if I went to the Tall Pine for lunch with friends, and any of the upper class men were there, I could not eat. I had to get my food to go.


In the seventh grade, at Pinehurst Jr. High, which was at one end of the grade school, I only had 3 different teachers. The first 3 hours was called "block" and it included English, Literature, Grammar, Writing, and Social Studies - or some combination thereof. Mrs. Clark was our teacher. She was a short lady who wore extremely high, high heels and a wig. She wasn't very old, but she must have had thin hair, because we never saw her without her wig.

I really liked her class. My favorite day was Friday, because we would play games and if we "won" we got a candy bar from her closet. I loved it when we took long words or phrases like "Merry Christmas" and had to make as many words as possible out of it in an alloted time. I usually won those contests! That's when I always picked a "Mountain Bar" - cherry or plain - it didn't matter. My second choice was either a Hershey Bar or something else chocolate.

In her class, we learned about prepositions. One day, I turned the tide on my enjoyment of her class. Now you have to realize I was a very curious student, and also very precise. If I was going to learn something, I wanted to learn it the right way the first time.

That day, she was teaching on the difference between the uses of "in" and "into." She said that one would use the word "into" when they were passing through a doorway or opening of some kind. I raised my hand to ask a question to clarify what she had just said. "So every time someone or something goes through a doorway, you use the word into?"

"Yes" she stated as a matter-of-fact.

"But you can't go into the outdoors, can you?" I asked trying to clarify her point.

She snapped, "Well, you don't have to act so superior!"

I was stunned. Did I act "so superior"? To whom? I was only 12 or 13. At the time, I was crushed, because she raised her voice and told me off in front of the entire class. Now I look back and wonder if she was intimidated by her students, and I just happened to hit on an exposed nerve.

My other classes were Science with E. Johnson, and Math and Study hall with W. Gilman. Now, Science class was okay, until we reached the chapter on reproduction. We were studying plants, but I thought that subject was "taboo" and was mortified that the word was in our books. One day when I was reading aloud, the word was there - right in the middle of my paragraph. I approached it cautiously, but when it was time to read "reproduction" I froze.

"Reproduction," Mr. Johnson said, as if I couldn't pronounce the word.

Quickly, I spat, "reproduction" and continued with the sentence. I probably turned 6 shades of red, also. Fortunately, I don't think any of my classmates noticed, as they had their heads buried in their books, afraid to look around.

My parents were somewhat concerned about me being in W. Gilman's class. I had known him my whole life, and they were afraid I'd call him "Wally" instead of Mr. Gilman, but I didn't. I was very respectful, even though he had dropped me on my head one time at Rose Lake when I was five. (He had given me a piggy-back ride down to the lake, and tripped. We both flew forward and I lost a chunk of hair out of my head. For a five year old, I was mad, and didn't want him to carry me ever again!) I didn't bring it up in class, however, or study hall either.

I don't remember if I had a study hall past the 7th grade. It may have been mandatory in 8th grade also, but I never took it in High School. I felt it was a waste of time. I wanted to get on with the schoolwork!


I was excited about being in Jr. High and getting to go to the dances. Some dances were held in the cafeteria, and some were held in the gymnasium. When they were held in the cafeteria, there was volleyball set up in the gymnasium. Most of the girls hated it when the dances were in the cafeteria, that meant all the seventh grade boys and some of the older ones were going to play volleyball all night, and there wouldn't be anyone to dance with. I don't think I was asked to dance more than once or twice each time I went, and sometimes not at all, but I still went because it was the happening place in Jr. High.

When a class "put on" (sponsored) a dance, members of the class volunteered to take care of the details. Some decorated, some "set-up" and some "cleaned-up." We also had volunteers who made cookies to sell at the dance, so the class could make some money. I used to make chocolate cake-like cookies with frosting on them. (The recipe was from D. Boje, who was an excellent cook, and raised a few great cooks). Those cookies were usually the first to go.


My seventh grade year, I was tapped for "Service Girls." Only 2 seventh graders were asked, and the positions were selected by a group of teachers or the principal or somebody "up there."
I felt honored and said, "Yes." C. Clemens was also a Service Girl and President that year. I was happy to serve with her and the other upper class girls. The other seventh grader was T. Cooper. Her mom was the school secretary, and I wondered if that is why she was chosen. I figured I was chosen for my grades. (Maybe we were chosen because we each lived about a block from the school! Now that I think about it, the Service girls that I remember all lived within the city limits and within 4-5 blocks of the school grounds!)

As a service girl, we got to wear cool green sweaters with Pirates on them - signifying our mascot - Pinehurst Pirates. They were similar to the cheerleader's sweaters, but their sweaters had a megaphone or a large "P" on them. We also had the "Girl's Service" insignia on our the upper part of our sleeves. I had to have a white pleated skirt made for me. I think it was Mrs. Weeks who did that. All she needed was my waist measurement. I wondered how she would know how many pleats to put into the skirt, but she did a great job. We also wore knee socks and saddle shoes.

I was so excited, because I got to go to all the basketball games free! We took money for tickets and stood at the doors to show people where they could sit. It didn't bother me that we couldn't sit in the stands until the 4th quarter - if there was any room! We may have taken tickets for other events, such as dances, but I don't remember.

I was a "Service Girl" for all three years of Jr. High. My freshman year, I was the President of Girls' Service as well as class President. One time, I was called upon by the Principal to escort a kid from first grade to the clinic in Kellogg for his immunizations. We rode on a school bus, just the two of us with the driver. I was astonished that they trusted me enough to go with him "out of town," and see that he got his shots. The kid was a hoot. I think he talked the whole way there, all the time we were waiting at the clinic. He made voices and acted out some really funny stuff. I don't remember the trip back to school, but I thought about him later when I was substitute teaching and thought he must have been a handful for the teachers.


Jackie said...

Great memory you have there. It's fun to read your 'school' posts. And isn't it something to be able to look back and see those 'grown ups' were not as savvy as we thought they were? Some teachers should definitely have been taught a thing or two - before they start teaching.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

I really don't know what was going on in her mind. Most of my teachers "loved" me because I was inquisitive, involved and obedient. (The fact I remember it all these years indicates the impact that statement had on me.)

When I got older, I did "try" the patience of a few of my teachers. Seems I hit that age where I realized they were just people. In seventh grade, I was still awestruck by their intelligence and command of the classroom.