When one thing doesn’t go according to plan, sometimes it feels like nothing is ever going to be right again. I’m sure that’s how our miss Murdo Girl must be feeling as she embarks on her long-awaited, and somewhat delayed first day of high school. I want to tell her so many things right now, but she will learn what she needs to know in her own time.
Well, high school is a different animal, and I just can’t seem to find my groove. As you know, I have been trying to firm up my style…
Since I had worn my Alden’s dress in New York, and spilled something on the white skirt, it had to go to the dry cleaners along with the motel sheets. The truck that comes every morning to pick up and deliver the sheets has big lettering on the back that says, “If your clothes aren’t becoming to you, they should be coming to us.” After all these years, John the driver feels like a friend.
(When we strip all the beds, we take one sheet and spread it out on the sidewalk. We bundle all the other sheets inside. There are two room cleaners and two bundles. I’m never late getting my sheets bundled in time for John due to my efficiency. I have a method which Mom hates, because I get done cleaning too fast.)
Anyway, I had to wear something different, and it had to be new. I chose another of my Connie like purchases and got myself ready. Dad would be completing his early morning drive around town, and pull up to the basement house at exactly 7:45 to take me to band practice.
It had only been a couple of days since I smashed my head into the side of a swimming pool, so I still had a black and blue goose egg on my forehead. My bangs hadn’t grown out overnight either, but I liked my new outfit.
Band hadn’t changed any since I’d become a freshman, and it was good to see everyone. Connie Jackson doesn’t play an instrument, in fact, neither do my best friends, Karen and Marlene. I like band, so I won’t be making any changes there.
The auditorium where we practice is just down a short hill from the high school, so after band, it only took me a couple of minutes to get to school. I walked inside, and all of a sudden I felt hot all over…panic stricken I guess. Now what was I supposed to do? Just then, I saw Karen and Marlene. They smiled big and said, “Hi, you’re back,” and took off for class.
I was still carrying my heavy saxophone. Where was I supposed to put it? I should have paid attention to where all the other band kids took theirs. I went to the office to get some help. Thankfully the secretary was there. (I can’t remember her name.) She showed me where to put my horn, where my locker was, and gave me a list of my classes. She showed me which classrooms were which, and pointed me in the direction of my next class. This whole time, I had a big lump in my throat to match the one on my head.
I walked in the room and I immediately felt better, although I still felt kind of feverish. There were a few new students, but most of my classmates were kids I had gone to school with for years.
When the whistle on top of the water tower blew at noon, we were all released to go home for dinner. I would normally walk with the kids who live south of 16, because it’s closer to home, but I hadn’t had a chance to talk to Karen and Marlene yet, so I caught up with them. They gave me the scoop as we walked and talked.
I had to keep wiping my forehead. It was hot, and I was sweating like a butcher. Karen stopped and looked me over. She hadn’t seen my new clothes yet. She said, “Boy, I can’t wait to see what you wear when it gets cold outside.” Karen has a very dry sense of humor. She and Marlene had on summer, Connie like skirts and tops with a pair of Keds. I was wearing a long-sleeved dark brown turtleneck with a beige wool vest, and a plaid wool skirt. When you considered my brown knee socks and brown loafers, I must have looked like the dead of winter. All that was missing was a stocking cap and some gloves.
I hadn’t seen Connie yet, so I had no idea what she was wearing. I was pretty sure she wouldn’t be dressed like me. Connie is colorful, and I’m beige. She has a cute short haircut. I have 5th grade bangs. I had really missed the mark, but I wasn’t ready to give up.
I went home and ate my chicken pot pie and baked potato. I didn’t have time to change clothes, but I did take off the wool vest and knee socks. Back at school, I continued to get the lay of the land. I love changing rooms and having a different teacher for each class. I have gotten behind the curve by missing the first week, but I’m a quick learner. Right now, I feel like a small fish in a big pond. Connie is a big fish in a small pond. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not a snob at all. She is very sweet, and everyone likes her.
After school, Karen, Marlene and I went to Mack’s Cafe and had a bing and a coke. If you don’t know what a bing candy bar is, you don’t know what you’re missing.
I’m home now. I have some homework, but that will wait until in the morning when I’m drying my hair. I think I’ll go look in my closet for some weather appropriate clothes. It’s possible I’ll have to put off my transformation for a little while. This isn’t how it was supposed to go, but it could be a whole lot worse. I could be starting school in New York like my cousins. Can you imagine what that would be like? No, I’ll take good old Murdo High School over anyplace I’ve ever been. All one of them.