Morningside Drive

9 March 09

Mrs. Royce’s 7th Grade

Filed under: Childhood,Grade School — by turtlemom3 @ 6:58 pm

This was the beginning of about 9 totally miserable years. Socially, I was inept. Not part of the “in” crowd, not part of any crowd. I suffered greatly from lack of friends. My oldest and dearest friend was 6 years older, and our interests had long ago diverged, not to re-connect for nearly 10 years. My other long-time friends had gone to a private school, and I seldom saw them. I had no social circle, and their circles were unknown to me. So we no longer had anything or any person in common. With no support system, I was afloat in an unknown sea. I had no idea how to behave or what to say to people.

Puberty was impossible. So I buried myself in reading. I think during 7th grade I read about 125 books. Some new to me, some re-reads. I’ve always found solace in books. They always have the right thing to say at the right time. Unlike friends, associates, acquaintances and other students.

This was the last year of taking French. This was the year I took a stand in favor of the Tasker Twins. They were affected by some kind of brain damage from birth, but were able to pass each grade. I was sick of the tormenting that they received from some of the other students. Since I had no friends to lose, I befriended them and defied the coterie that had decided to make their lives miserable. I don’t know that it was through any sense of altruism, or sense of responsibility. Perhaps it was the burgeoning sense of needing to nurture and “take care” of other people that led me into nursing. At any rate, The Tasker Twins and I were all ostracized. I spent much time with them helping them with their schoolwork. Mrs. Crown showed me how to help them use a 3×5 index card to “stay on the same line” when reading test material. I worked with them on that, and helped them memorize spelling words and social studies facts.

This was the year I realized I enjoyed history – maybe it was that we were looking at English History of the 19th century – but I really enjoyed it. In literature, we were studying the English poets – and I loved poetry. Arithmetic was arithmetic – what can i say?

Elvis was new on the youth music scene – and all the girls were ga-ga about him. I was insecure enough to pretend to like him, but I truly found him totally revolting.

This was the year that polio “got” one of the kids in my grade. Bless her heart. She ended the year in a wheelchair and heavy braces on her legs. She needed crutches to walk. Everyone was terrified of this disease when I was young. It was one of the “Killers and Cripplers” that killed and maimed children in those days. I suspect that was one of the reasons Mama sent me to camp in the mountains every summer. It was thought the virus was spread through stagnant, contaminated water, or even through the hot, stagnant air of the summers.

The effects of the spectre of polio on parents cannot be exaggerated. They lived in terror that their child(ren) would be affected. A good overview of the history of polio may be found HERE.

Seventh grade ended with a “Tea Dance.” Sweaty handed pubescent boys reluctantly danced ineptly with eager pubescent girls – who were taller than the boys. The group photo taken of that event shows me looking off to the side with a thoughtful and wistful expression on my face. I wonder what I was thinking? Perhaps that all this was futile and that {dramatically} Life was a Misery. Typical adolescent angst stuff. It went on for 9 miserable more years.



  1. You weren’t the only one. ‘Nuff said (except that I am gladder than ever that we are friends!).

    Comment by Mrs. Mutton — 10 March 09 @ 6:37 pm |Reply

  2. For life, girlfriend, for LIFE!!

    Comment by turtlemom3 — 10 March 09 @ 8:48 pm |Reply

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