The rest of that summer was spent talking about the new school year. We hoped that we would be in the same classroom when we started the fifth grade. Like all the other first days of school all of us who lived on the cul-de- sac would always meet on my parents front lawn. Walking together we talked excitedly about our first day. Who would be our teacher? Would we have the same classmates as the year before? Thinking about that I couldn’t wait to get to my room and my desk. I was there early. The room was empty. Finding a place near the door I sat and waited while watching the front door. Classmates began flowing into the room. Each time someone else walked in I began to get discouraged. Then I saw him. He saw me too. It was not Leslie that would be in my class. Instead it was her brother Donny. We tolerated one another. It seemed he did not want to be there either and made a brief comment of the fact. He must have had other hopes as well. Then as quickly as he was there he was soon gone. The family was moving. I was heartbroken. Another friendship was ending. Later I would ask another friend where Leslie had moved. All I got was that she was living near the Dairy Queen on the east side. “That could be anywhere!” I said. Eventually she was out of sight and all that was left was the memories. I still had my very best friend. Sue and I had known each other since we were three. We spent a lot of our times together outside in the shade talking and making each other laugh. Some of my most memorable moments were riding our bikes around the neighborhood or hiding from the world in her German Shepards’ dog house. It may not have been large enough for us to stand up inside,but,it was enough room for us. I can only imagine what the dog must have been thinking when he could not come inside to lay down to get out of the heat. No one could hardly imagine what that poor dog must have felt when he was kept out of his own house. Why would he even want to go in there. It was just as sweltering inside the wooden interior as it was outside!
A picture of a dog during the “dog days” of summer
Sue and I never shared any classes together. She was always in one classroom while I was in another. We still had time to catch up during lunch. That is until the seventh grade. Lunch time had always been a time when friends could talk and share their day. Seventh grade was different. The students could not talk to one another. Teachers kept a close watch to make sure that the rule was obeyed. We were not talking the afternoon that it happened. She was on one side of the table. I was on the other. We could not talk, so, maybe we could write notes back and forth instead. Then before we knew what had happened one of the eighth grade teachers had us leave the cafeteria for talking! I tried to explain. He would not listen. “We weren’t, really!” Still he walked us out into the hall. There wasn’t much lunch left to be eaten. I was hungry and upset, and, I felt horrible. Thankfully the school year was almost over. Unbeknownst to me I would have the very same teacher during the eighth grade. Not once. Not twice. I would have this teacher for homeroom, English and Reading! When I walked through the door on that first day I did not know if he remembered me. Not too surprisingly he did and he reminded me of the time I was caught for “talking” during lunch. I didn’t know if that was a bad thing or a good thing. It turned out to be the latter. H e was a kind man, compassionate and surprisingly funny. I almost regretted it when eighth grade was over. Unlike the kids today who go to their last day of school in shorts and tee shirts we dressed up for the occasion. I wore a pink dress that day. With long sheer sleeves and tied in the back I felt pretty. There was a quick graduation ceremony for the entire eighth grade class. Afterward we were ready to walk home excited about the summer. My friend and I had only walked a few feet when we were stopped by a couple of high school freshmen. They wanted to know if we were eighth graders. Learning that we were they explained about the initiation into the ninth grade. We were about to be smeared!