My loving son, after I applied to him for DVDs to watch, loaned me the first season of Boy Meets World. The show was made more than a couple of decades after I was in Junior High, but apparently not much has changed.
Moving up to seventh grade was less stressful for me than I expected. This was the mid-sixties with the civil rights movement changing the colors of our world, and Warren G. Harding Junior High School in Philadelphia was integrated. Sixty percent of the students were black, and my parents were fussed about that for reasons that I could not comprehend. I loved Junior High.
One of the things that I loved about it was the trolley. Every morning I grabbed my book bag, walked five blocks to the trolley stop and climbed on board to ride to school. It was about a mile from the trolley stop to the school. I felt so independent!
We had some unforgettable teachers. Mr. Paisley was what we called the art teacher. He spent the first quarter teaching us to draw paisleys. (If you aren’t sure what a paisley is, look here.) Our science teacher was Mr. Edelson (who happened to be Jewish). He seated me at the back of the classroom – never a good idea. One day my body was sitting at the lab table, and my brain wasn’t. I was clicking my pen in an absent-minded way. Mr. Edelson boomed from the front of the class: “Haviland, stop clicking that pen!!” My mind rejoined my body immediately. I told my parents about that, and to their amusement, in a parent-teacher meeting Mr. Edelson clicked his pen the whole time. He also talked them out of sending me to to Girls High. His reason? “Those Jewish girls over there will eat her alive.”
My favorite class was Home Ec. Those teachers opened up a new world for me. We all received a basic cookbook from the Philadelphia school system. I still have mine and use the hot cocoa recipe. The book told you how to plan menus, set tables properly, and how to manage your home. The boys coming out of shop class hovered outside the door when we baked cookies. (One of them had a motorcycle, and walked me the mile home one day, and kissed me. The first.) Sewing. I loved learning how to sew. I should have gone to Drexel and majored in home ec.
I had some good friends in Jr. Hi. Kathy and I pretended that we were super heroes. I was Batman, and she was Robin, and we solved imaginary crimes. We put anonymous notes in lockers of boys we thought were cute. She liked Dark Shadows, and was in love with Barnabas Collins. Carolyn I met in orchestra practice. We played cello, and got permission to practice during classes if we were caught up. We abused that – skipped out of English almost daily. Eventually, we got busted. I don’t remember in what class I met Gloria, but we frequently got in trouble for passing notes or talking and giggling in class. We had our own integration program: Kathy was Chinese, and Gloria and Carolyn were African Americans. We would have been life-long friends, I think, if my dad hadn’t uprooted us in the spring of ninth grade and moved us to Wyoming. I still wonder where they are.
What do you remember from junior high or middle school?