I have been a member of Classmates.com for a long time now. Maybe 5 years or so. I just pay the minimum each year. I find it fun going there every now and then to see if I can find anyone I “used” to know and hope to catch up with someone. In all that time, I’ve not talked to anyone until just a few weeks ago. A “girl”, woman is hard to think about since I really remember her more by her picture in the jr high yearbook than I do by what she looks like now. With the picture in there that she has, I would never have place her. I could have bumped into her and not known who she was but when I looked at her picture from back then, I remembered her right away.
She lived across the street from someone I was pretty good friends with and that’s why she contacted me. She remembered me. So now I chat with her there and on Facebook every few days. It’s really been kind of fun. But, it got me to thinking, what was I really like back then and how do other people remember me?
I wasn’t a mean kid. I was pretty nice. I was involved in a lot of activities so my “group” of friends really varied. I swam, danced, played softball, broom-ball and gymnastics. I was a cheerleader in jr high and was on the dance-line in 9th grade. I also played the flute and was in the choir. So my “clicks” were all over the place. I seemed to know kids from everywhere. That in itself is a good thing really. I feel I was very well rounded as a child. I don’t think I did “to much” and most everything I did was done at different times of the year. I didn’t run from one thing to the other.
I hate to use the word *popular* here but it’s the only one I can think of. I was popular in the way that I knew a lot of different kids. I was borderline “really good” at what I did but I was more of a “coat-tail” hanger on. I was always on the “it” teams and did the “it” things but wasn’t by any means the “best” at anything. Well, except for swimming. I really excelled at that but that’s not like the cheerleader type of popularity. I think those of you reading this know what I mean and what I’m getting at.
To my knowledge, I was never deliberately mean to anyone nor did I ever make fun of anyone. I’m a pretty sensitive person. But even though it was never me personally saying or doing anything mean, I was in groups when others did it. I was a bystander but still, that isn’t nice. I should have stood up to things that bothered me. But at the time, I wasn’t sure what to do. I wasn’t a ringleader of anything. Nothing was ever really bad, more like ignoring but still, I feel bad now. I have felt bad over the years about this because when you get older, you think more about it.
So, it does lead me to wonder, what people do remember. It’s hard to say what others remember because there are things I remember that others don’t and things they remember that I don’t. What were you like as a kid? What “groups” were you in and if you could do things over, would you? Not relive it because who would want to do that but just little things, do they ever bother you now?
I was the quiet, odd, nerdy kid that you all were ignoring. And I was ignoring you right back.
I was deeply intellectual and spiritual. I was humble and shy on account of my dad’s example and our humble economic situation. I knew that I was academically gifted but never let my peers see it – I was trying very hard to blend in with the woodwork. I played four instruments and was a pretty good art student, but I shied away from social activities. I was a good student academically, but I would sometimes intentionally skip a task if I considered it “arbitrary” – I was a quiet rebel – so I had no hope of being “valedictorian” (nor did I want to be – who wants to give a speech?). I was tardy a lot and was once told I had the worst attendance record in the history of the school. I loathed gym and team sports – too socially brutal and, in my mind, pointless. My teachers did like me, and I used to hang out blabbing with them for a while after school on most days. I was invited to apply for stuff like NHS, but I chose not to because I didn’t see the point. I did participate in a gifted program outside of school hours.
I had part-time jobs that didn’t involve peers, did most of the housework for my large family (my parents both worked and attended school), and I loved that my mom allowed me to use all of my remaining “free” time raising my youngest brother and sister. I taught my kid sister how to read and do a lot of other stuff at age 4. I also loved to read the classics, draw, and write poetry, and I used to watch Nightline for 4 hours every night, while procrastinating on my chores.
I like to think that I wasn’t completely anti-social; but with five siblings, three of them close to my age, I had all the interaction I ever needed without having to make an effort to impress anyone.
I always had a handful of really good, “true” friends in school. We didn’t really “do” anything together, but we understood and respected each other; we could hold an intelligent conversation with each other; we stuck up for each other. I haven’t had any contact with any of these people since high school. I graduated early, so I was separated from whatever friends I might have kept. I must say I never minded that, really. I always made new friends – always just a handful, but who really needs more than that?
What would people remember about me? Probably very little. I don’t think I was weird enough to be “memorable” (like my brother was). If anything, they might vaguely remember that my weird brother had a sister in the same graduating class. As far as meeting people from the past – I doubt we would have anything in common after all these years.
Oh, more to your point. Here’s what I used to think about a lot of the “popular” girls. Most of them acted very vain. There was this one very popular girl who would stand in front of the mirror to dress after gym class – from underwear on up – checking to make sure everything was perfect. Every single day. Then you had the girls who would comb their already perfect, salon-styled hair throughout the day – both in and out of class. And the ones who couldn’t seem to talk about anything but the boys they were trying to attract, or to think about anything besides looking “attractive” to those boys. And the girl who always used to block my locker while French kissing her boyfriend. Eew.
Looking back as an adult, I can see that some of these behaviors were just normal behaviors for a young lady (I was the youngest and not particularly mature), others were symptoms of insecurity, while others were true cases of air-headedness.
But anyhow, this is what I thought of them. I liked to make a distinction between what was on the surface and what was beneath. And I felt like the more a girl focused on the surface, the less depth she had. And of course I felt that I had the most depth, because I surely didn’t look impressive on the surface. (Though I did obsessively comb my hair between classes, just because everyone else did and my hair was naturally wild.)
I also held in contempt those who would disrespect or condescend to kids who were not in sports and such. Not all of the athletes did this, but many of the cheerleader types did. Like they needed to prop themselves up by putting others down. I mostly felt sorry for them, because I felt they weren’t likely to have a happy or successful life with that kind of outlook. As an adult, I would put it this way: a truly excellent person must have (and demonstrate) a good measure of kindness, respect, and compassion for every person she meets. (Not saying I met that test myself . . . .)
NIce post! I did gymnastics too in high school. That was it! I was very shy. I wish I had been more confident and self-assured and stuck up for others being put down.
I was very insecure growing up at school. But I had a very close few friends-2 from grade school & 2 from high school-still friends with all 4 today. We had fun and I was very confident, the “leader” if you will, with my close friends.
I got good grades, was quiet, anxious in school, but was in the “middle” crowd-the nice kids who got good grades and stayed out of trouble-knew how to have fun by hanging out and making fun of the “trendy/populars” who thought they were cool. Not the “popular” crowd, but not the “nerds” or “geeks” either. Senior year I got into the “druggie/tough” crowd too-went back and forth.
I think it all leads back to how family life was for you as a child and how you reacted to the negatives, some withdrawal and some rebel, some develop high self esteem and some develop low self esteem. Research shows which way an adolescent goes mostly depends on family relationships. Authoritative parenting (Firm/gentle) is found to work best and develop the most well rounded teens. I am studying adolescent psychology right now. Very interesting!! I have been thinking about this topic, Joy 🙂
Joy, I DO love facebook for meeting up with old High School friends!! And childhood friends! I have connected with so many, and so far most say I was “sweet” and nice. Also, they wished I had been more talkative! Good to hear though!!
As you know, Joy, I’m closer to this period in my life and I still remember being a kid as if it were just the day before yesterday – actually, I’m sure you remember it like that as well in many ways, but what I mean is that to me the age of 10, 12 and 14 don’t seem ALL that young yet.
I was one of those kids who got picked on. A lot. My elementary school years were awful, but I had really good friends outside of my school, so I wasn’t actually miserable. I grew up befriending people I didn’t really like in school just so I would have someone to hang around with. When I got to high-school, all my out-of-school friends and I were suddenly in the same school, and so I finally found my niche and was happy.
I was probably what you’d expect me to be – the shy type, the brainy-do-homework-type and the one who was good at math and liked reading [thus, a nerd]. Still, I was then and am now proud of being a nerd.
I was the kid who stuck up for the ones who couldn’t/wouldn’t stick up for themselves. I got brought home from a youth group meeting one time for taking out a kids 2 front teeth because he was picking on a “slow” black girl. He was picking on her for being slow and for being black…and he lost 2 front teeth so I hope it was worth it. BUT it was my ass that got taken home. I told him to leave her alone and he kept at it until I got so mad my fist connected with his mouth. So when the youth pastor told my dad that I was “misbehaving” ..and my dad got the reasoning he told the yp that the kid was lucky he only lost 2 teeth..and slammed the door in the yp’s face.
The last year of junior high and up into my high school years I had detention on my schedule. It was just a known fact that I would spend a fair amount in detention. I ran with the rebels on the days I made it to school.
I guess I’m still like that…I tend to run with packs that go against the grain. That’s why I like this little group here. 🙂
I can remember a lot of things, way back. I was always adventurous. Since I lived on farms and ranches all my life, I was always exploring. I was always observing. I was always aware of my surroundings. These traits followed me in my life path, among others. I was in the marching band, orchestra, numerous clubs, and very “active” in jr high and high school. I still play my flute these days. My birds are my audience, no choice! LOL High school was, for me, a good time in my life. For many of my friends…they hated it!! I love all the stories people are commenting on this post!
Hmmm lets see. When I was very young I was very quiet and shy. Then around 5th or 6th grade I became kinda a snot. I talked back a lot and got into trouble with my mouth. When I was in 6th grade my teacher sent me to the 2nd grade classroom because apparently I was acting like a 2nd grader!! Then Jr. High came and my mom finally left my step dad, that’s when all hell broke lose!! I was a problem child, more like I was rebelling so bad. So much had happened to me I was completely messed up. Didn’t have too much love for life. Didn’t care where I ended up in the end. I skipped school got into too many fights, got kicked out of school for too many fights!! I ran away a few times.I just couldn’t care less about life or myself. Too many bad things to list! Then I met Jason and grew up a little, had Bailey and grew up a lot! I’m 100% different than when I was younger…thank goodness! Not sure how I survived all that but I’m thankful I did!!
Oh yea…the old friends I have found on Facebook knew I was troubled but never knew the extent of it. Most still don’t but they are all very happy I made it through and ended up quite normal. Okay maybe not normal but close..considering!
I changed alot in my school years.In grade school we were in St.pierrre.I was the outsider,picked on alot cause i wasnt french.Made a few friends,nothing memorable.But to fit in,a few popular ones got me to do things that got me in trouble.They were not real friends.I was taught by nuns.I talked alot at first,but was made to sit in a corner with a dunce hat on,that was the last time I talked.Then after grade 5,moved to Niverville,which was a german school in their 2nd language.Thats hard to switch over.I was quite the 1st year.Got to high school,then I begame a rebel.In the principals office everyday.I taunted the teachers not students.I dont think my parents knew what to do with me.I hung out with my whole class,we were close.One best friend,Kathy.We were not the popular ones,not the bullies,not the nierds.We were just our own group.I was in the band,I played clarinet,loved that.I was not good in sports,but my friends were.So for all sports i was the watergirl,so I could go with them to all tournaments.Isnt there a movie like that.Ha ha.I never had to study much,the teachers told me I could do better.By grade nine I smartened up and got all A’s.Over the years I have ran into a few old class mates and it was cool.I would like to no how others saw me.Cause usually how you see yourself is different than how others see you.
You played the flute???? Me too! So much so that I have a B.A. in it!!! Wow. I swam, too. Like a fish.
Anyway, the point….
I was awkward in school. I wasn’t the one targeted by the popular kids – I certainly was NOT in the “in crowd” – but they were nice to me. Kind of a reciprocal thing… I never gave them any ammunition, and was always nice, so there were never any problems. I had a few close friends, two of whom remain today, my closest friends and confidantes (one from grade school, and one from H.S.)
I was the girl with the long, straight hair, the jeans that were always a little too short, because I had freakishly long legs, and who loved horses to distraction. I was also way into individual sports (and yes, I consider ballet a sport, even though it’s an art), and not much into the team thing. I was on the swim team because I loved to swim, not because I enjoyed the competition.
People I meet today tell me how much I haven’t changed… I’m still the same down to earth, honest to a fault (and believe me, it’s a fault) person they remembered, the one who gets along with everyone, but only has a few intimate friends. But a LOT less skinny (shoulda kept up with those ballet lessons, dammit).
I could do a lot worse in the memory department!
This is a touchy one for me. It’s hard for me to answer this one because I don’t want people to think different about me but here goes………
I have done a lot of things I really regret now. I grew up in a trailer park. Fighting as a kid was almost a daily thing, I had to. That trailer park was like a different world compared to the rest of the town where most of the kids I went to school wth lived. It was survival of the fittest so to speak. Fight or get your ass beat was just the way it was.
I wasn’t popular in school, “trailer trash” kids never are. Most of my friends were fellow “trailer trash”. The poor kids hung with the poor and the money kids hung with fellow money kids. Have you ever seen the movie “The Outsiders”? I LIVED that movie.
I made fun of a LOT of people. Teased a LOT of people. Got into fights with a LOT of people. Love was something that didn’t flow in my “house”. I was NOT an angel and regret A LOT of things I have said and done. I can’t take them back, all I can say is that I’m sorry.
Then….I grew up.
I was a choir geek. Actually I was pretty much just a geek! I was the overweight kid who hung out with the punk, new wave group. I learned how to be quick with the come backs because of my weight and my weird friends. There were a few kids we really picked on and hopefully they don’t hold any grudges.
I have my 20th reunion coming up this fall and I still have not decided whether or not to go. I keep in touch with a bunch of my friends from high school so a reunion is not that big of a deal.
How timely… I just opened a Facebook account a couple of days ago and have already “met up” with about half a dozen old school chums.
I was the class clown and I really excelled in track and football.
However, it is a bit wierd for me since I quite school at the end of 10th grade and went into the Navy.
I don’t get any invitations for class reunions which kinda stinks. But then since I didn’t graduate with them. But I did go through school with them.
I was the quiet, nerdy one with her nose in a book who some of your friends would have said really mean things about, Joy. Except I learned pretty quickly not to care, because I thought they were just being silly. In fact, I used to make a game out of it.
For example, I discovered that the in crowd wouldn’t let me stand anywhere near them. There was one day everyone was waiting outside for the bell to ring after lunch, and I herded them around the courtyard like sheep. They had no idea I was doing it, either. They just kept moving away when I inched closer, so I drove them wherever I felt like. I was laughing then, and I’m laughing now remembering it. 🙂
Thing is, I liked some of the popular kids–the ones who weren’t mean to me and who would actually say hi if I saw them in the hallway. I guess I learned early to see people as individuals and to not care which crowd they hung with.
I also learned that some of the people who were most mean to me were the most unhappy with themselves. That was a valuable bit of knowledge to gain.
If I regret anything, it’s that I was so quiet and not very social as a result. I had to learn that once I got to college and grad school. I also really regret putting my career aspirations ahead of my high school sweetie. My career aspirations fell apart, but I think he would have stuck with me if I hadn’t moved off in search of my dreams.
Then again, maybe I wouldn’t have been as happy as I am now if I’d never pursued those dreams? I don’t know. You only get to live your life once, and there are always things you did one way when when you could have done them another.
Anyway, I think what matters is how you treat people now, and not so much the things you regret from the past. I think the regrets show that we grow as people–they’re things you wouldn’t do again because you know better now. So if someone didn’t have any regrets, then maybe it just means they haven’t yet learned something they need to learn about life. We all have things to learn.
It looks like Bloggers tend to play flute. I played flute for a bit in school. The dog use to howl and then the family started to howl when I practiced, so I quit and sold my flute. Silly, today I would just laugh and hopefully not take it so personally. I think growing up I took stuff too personal at times. I would have liked to have played more sports in school. Maybe basketball my best friend in high school played. The couch asked me to be the basketball manager. I was happy to so, I could hang out with my best friend, I enjoyed keeping score, but looking back I may have enjoyed playing. I never felt popular I felt somewhere maybe in the middle. If there is a middle. Probably more of a loner really usually one good friend. I moved a lot so I went to many schools. OK up from the couch. LOL.
hey Gary…just to let you know trailer park trash can be some of the “coolest” of the cool..just ask me I’m one of them! 🙂 Didn’t grow up here but have lived here for the last like 15 years.
OH my gosh YES The Outsiders that’s what the crew that I grew up with was just like! I miss those days! DAMN!
You know, I couldn’t agree more. I think i’m pretty cool anyway! 😀 I don’t live in a trailer anymore but did for 21 years. You can take a kid out of the trailer park but you can’t take the trailer park out of the kid!! 😀
I miss those days too!! Just call me “Pony Boy” 😀
I also really loved The Outsiders. I wrote a post about it a while back. One of my favorite movies of all time.