When I was growing up, I looked forward to one special Sunday in August every year. On that one day, the entire school year was mapped out ... as the homeroom lists were taped to the gym doors at Blessed Sacrament.
I remember the thrill of running over after mass to find out which homeroom I'd be in ... and which teacher I'd be strapped with. Mrs. Mosley was a great draw, by the way. Sometimes you were thrilled to see your best friend on your list ... and sometimes you were bummed to find out they would be spending the next year across the hall.
Location was everything at Blessed Sacrament ... and I remember the mixture of nervousness and excitement as I climbed those stairs for the first time. Moving from the "kiddie floor" to my 5th grade homeroom meant so many things ... skirts instead of jumpers ... actually changing rooms for different classes ... and the loss of recess.
Puberty is inevitable ... even for Catholic kids ... and I remember the buzz that went through our class when we heard the boys had been taken to the gym to watch ... "the movie." Shortly after that, we were herded into the gym for our own screening. They gave us the opportunity to ask questions afterwards ... but, common, who has the nerve to raise their hand up to ask a nun about sex? I've always wondered if they showed both groups the same filmstrip ...
Everyone waited for 7th grade ... because that meant you got to attend the "sock hop." Yes ... we had a sock hop. And for Catholic kids that was a huge thing. I danced with a boy for the first time that year ... his name was Robbie and the song was Christopher Cross' Sailing. Even now, I love that song ... because it runs four minutes and 15 seconds ... which doesn't seem like a lot of time now ... but in 7th grade it felt like hours.
By 8th grade we felt like such big fish ... and I remember the awe I felt as I walked up another flight of stairs to the teachers area. Our class won sodas ... and back then they came in glass bottles that we pulled out of a cooler. That was such an amazing year ... working hard to earn service hours before confirmation ... making plans for which high school you'll attend ... and the whole time trying desperately to churn out this god-forsaken "constitution book" which was basically a scrapbook assignment from the bowels of hell itself.
I've got a thousand good memories like those. I've also got a thousand sad memories that still hurt ... even today. Like the time I begged my mom to buy me barrettes like Shelley wore ... only to wear them to school and have her friend say, "Well, guess we won't be wearing those anymore." I took them home and cried as I hid them in the back of a drawer ... too embarrassed to tell my mom why I wouldn't wear them.
Fast forward to this weekend. Mom's friend asked me if our BSS class had ever organized a reunion. I literally cringed at the thought. I have fantastic memories of the school and of the teachers. I have good thoughts about Sr. Anne ... Miss Amrhein ... Sr. Marie ... and a dozen more teachers whose names I can't remember. In fact, I still see Mrs. Mosely at the library now and then ... and she always takes time to talk with me.
But would I go back and visit my classmates? Not for all the money in the world. I have no desire to see the little girl who made me ashamed to wear the beautiful barrettes my mother bought. I have no fond memories of the girls who teased me because I was lousy at kick ball.
It's odd that I remember the faces of all the wonderful BSS teachers ... but not their names. Conversely I can't remember what most of my classmates looked like ... but I can tell you the first and last name of the girl who wore a different colored Izod shirt to gym class each day ... and taunted me because I didn't own a single one.
God, wouldn't it be great if everyone grew up and became better people? I want to believe those girls matured into kind human beings who feel bad about how they treated those of us with less means ... but I have a hunch that, just like Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion, they're the same people ... only with bigger toys.
I'm thirtysomething ... and I make it a point to only associate with people who treat me with kindness and respect. Over twenty years have passed since I walked those halls. I wish my classmates ... and even those particular girls ... the best that life has to offer. That is the closest I will ever come to contact with them ... because quite frankly ... that's more kindness than they ever extended to me. Bitter? God, I hope not ... but hopefully wise enough to not re-live experiences that weren't pleasant the first go-round.
It's my own remorse
Help me to decide
Help me make the most
Of freedom and of pleasure
Nothing ever lasts forever
Everybody wants to rule the world.
Tears For Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World