Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Memories of Junior High: 9th Graders in Love

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Right next to me, in the back corner by the window was a new girl, a blonde, nicely dressed and smiling. Stumbling for words, I introduced myself and welcomed her to my corner, attempting to impress her by telling her a few things that went on in the back of the class. Then Mike, who sat in front of me, sat down and joined the conversation. Soon we were in competition, each vying for the new girl’s attention by trying to outdo the other with our stories. She smiled, even blushed a bit. So intent we were to impress, that we didn’t give her time to say anything. The bell rang, the teacher stepped up to the front, class began and reality sat in.

Our latest test was returned. I quickly took mine and put it under some other papers, shielding it from the new girl. “She looks smart and wouldn’t be impressed with my grade,” I thought. We were over the test, our teaching showing where I’d made mistakes in calculations. Then she handed out our report cards. Again, I snatched the card quickly and stuck it in a book. The new girl was the one person other than my parents that I didn’t want to see my grades. I promised myself I’d study harder and do all my homework this next term. She was worth such sacrifices.

As the class wound down, I was trying to think of a good line for when the bell rang and we went down to the cafeteria. But a few minutes before the bell, the principal, Mr. Howie, stepped in. He’d never been in this class and I thought this was strange since we’d be fairly well behaved that day. Politely, our teacher yielded to the floor to Mr. Howie, who informed us that our teacher was being promoted and would be our new assistant principal. At his clue, we all clapped, not sure what that meant. As a general rule, by this point in my academic career, assistant principals weren’t on radar. I was the type of kid that got to bypass the assistant’s office and head straight to the big guy’s door. After only six weeks at Williston, Howie and I were on first name bases.

After all the accolades for our teacher was over, the principal, as if he was introducing a political candidate, said it gave him great pleasure to introduce our new teacher, Ms. Gooden. As he was speaking, the new girl in the class stood and stepped forward. Mike and I slid under our respective desks. I swear, as she introduced herself to the class, she smirked every time she looked over to our corner. This was going to be a long year.

Like most school boys, there had been a few teachers who, because of their looks or kindness, had encouraged my fantasies. There was my fourth grade teacher who once brought me a soft-drink, and of course my seventh grade math teacher with her ten dresses. But in all those cases, my fantasies stayed where they belonged, deep in my psyche. I’d never said anything inappropriate to any of these teachers. But now I found myself with a new teacher that was not only a knockout, but one that I’d already been hitting on. Yes, this was going to be a long year.

Ms. Gooden was fresh from college. She was probably twenty-two, but could have easily passed for fifteen. I’m sure she was still being carded. She was beautiful, far more so than the rather plain girls in our class. And she knew who, in her class, to keep an eye on. I suppose it was to make the point that she was no “Mrs. Robinson” that Ms Gooden had her boyfriend drop by one day. He was a Marine, an officer in the Corp and was decked out in his dress uniform that including a sword engraved, if I’m not mistaken, with the words, “hands off my girl.” As he greeted us, he kept looking over at my corner. I’m sure he’d been clued about us. I don’t remember if it was he or Ms. Gooden that told us he was heading to Vietnam, news that upset everyone in the room except for Mike and me. We were secretly relieved.

I should say that nothing ever happened, but that wouldn’t be quite true. Certainly nothing romantically happened, but there were still adventures to come as we finished out my ninth year in school together. I’m sure nothing in Ms. Gooden’s teacher training prepared her to have a class like ours at such a time in history. Next I’ll have to tell you about Williston’s first ever white Christmas and how to extend one’s Christmas vacation. Add that to riots and other extra activities going on that year and you'll see that she was baptized by fire.

20 comments:

  1. I'm pretty sure that 'bumbling' was the right adjective to use for you. ;-) Did you stick to your promise of doing exceptionally well in that class from that point on?

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  2. These stories of primary school has awakened a whole trove of stories within me that I may have to start writing down.

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  3. Love it and can't wait for her baptizism by fire

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  4. How neat to look back on those feelings with you. Your writing is very good and makes me feel as if I am there to witness the event. Know that you are NOT alone though!

    I was hitting on a guy my 10th grade year and he turned out to be both married AND working for the school. (In my defense though, he wasn't wearing a wedding band- nor did he introduce himself as a staffer.) Oh well... makes for good writing later on doesn't it? LOL

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  5. How neat to look back on those feelings with you. Your writing is very good and makes me feel as if I am there to witness the event. Know that you are NOT alone though!

    I was hitting on a guy my 10th grade year and he turned out to be both married AND working for the school. (In my defense though, he wasn't wearing a wedding band- nor did he introduce himself as a staffer.) Oh well... makes for good writing later on doesn't it? LOL

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  6. How neat to look back on those feelings with you. Your writing is very good and makes me feel as if I am there to witness the event. Know that you are NOT alone though!

    I was hitting on a guy my 10th grade year and he turned out to be both married AND working for the school. (In my defense though, he wasn't wearing a wedding band- nor did he introduce himself as a staffer.) Oh well... makes for good writing later on doesn't it? LOL

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  7. "She was beautiful, far more so than the rather plain girls in our class."

    I'll bet that if you now go back and look at a class photo, you'd be surprised how pretty the girls really were . . .

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  8. Murf, I was like the guy on a crashing airplane, promising all kind of things if he gets safely down, then when he lands safely, looks around to see if anyone was listening... No, I was never a star student until my second term in college when I made the Dean's List (I'd never made honor roll or any other such honors in my 1-12 years at school)

    Ed, we're waiting to read those stories!

    Pia, it'll come, I thought the "white christmas" piece might be appropriate for the season.


    Trail lady, It's amazing we get through school, isn't it!

    Traillady 2 & 3, appears blogger is acting up again, or encouraging me to go to beta.

    Diane, this was the era when teachers still dressed up but when kids dress codes were going downhill and we were all dressed in rags like hippies... But those same girls seemed to clean up by the time we graduated!

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  9. oh wow ... what a great memory, riveting really :)

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  10. "I was the type of kid that got to bypass the assistant's office and head straight to the big guy's door."

    That and the hands off my girl sword were hilarious, Sage.

    Funny how we'd change our whole lives for a girl. Sometimes I wonder if that ever stops.

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  11. Hi! I'm here via Blog Fodder!

    Great story!

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  12. Speaking as a teacher that married one of his students, I love the story!

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  13. Speaking as a teacher that married one of his students, I love the story!

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  14. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall in that class the day you met the new teacher.....LOL

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  15. Sage that was one of the funniest personal stories I have ever read on a blog buddies site! That cracked me up! You did such a good job telling it I think I blushed right with you! Hilarious!

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  16. black daisy, thanks for stopping by.

    Bone, glad you like the humor!

    Thanks Teena

    Kevin, you'll have to share more about your student/wife... did she "hit" on you?

    Kenju, It would have been interesitng, I'm sure!

    Deana, glad you got a laugh, but it wasn't that funny as she was walking up front!

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  17. Hmmmm, did it post multiple comments for me? Sorry about that, I had a ton of trouble trying to leave you a comment on that one. Beta is GREAT- I'm lovin' it! :O)

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  18. You can delete multiple postings by clicking on the little trashcan at the bottom left of any comment.

    (You probably already know this, but just in case...)

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  19. see i was reading and thinking you were 9 or 10! i wish we'd all use the same year system!

    so sweet. ah crushes.

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  20. Oh I loved it when the students didn't realize I was the teacher. You hear all sorts of "good" things!

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