Remember the popular kids in Junior High School? We all knew who they were. They sat with the other popular kids at lunch. When I sat with them, I felt a little unsure of myself. I mean, what if they suddenly realized I wasn't part of their crowd? What if I said "Hi" to the wrong person and gave myself away?
Here are some ways I could tell a girl was more popular than I:
- Her mother didn't make her wear socks, even when it snowed.
- She wore a two-piece gymsuit instead of the one-piece blue jumpsuit.
- Her hair was in a perfect flip.
- She wrote notes to all the cute boys.
- She knew to take cold lunch.
To top off my nerdiness, I have an old-fashioned first name. In 7th grade when the teachers called the roll on the first day, I was too shy to tell them my nickname, so throughout Jr. High I had an un-cool name.
I walked to school with a popular girl who was a year older than I. She didn't have to wear a coat--all winter! What was my mother thinking?
I occasionally walked home with two of the popular cheerleaders, and I couldn't bring myself to swear, emphasizing the fact that I was a complete dork. (I can't remember the 60's word for dork.)
Over my almost sixty decades, I have talked to numerous people who also went to Jr. High. They have the same recollections of the popular kids. My own children recognized them immediately, and immersed themselves in books called How to be Popular With Boys, and Advice for Teenage Girls.
So where are all the popular kids now? Does the same crowd just hang out in the cafeteria laughing and tossing their hair forever? Did they become the movie stars or the country club set, rich and famous?
I recently ran across one of the girls I envied in Jr. High. She was beautiful, and knew to shave her legs. The smell of Jergen's lotion has reminded me of her throughout my life, because she put it on every day in Mr. Neff's history class. It's interesting to find out she's got insecurities of her own.
A boy who was the dreamboat of the school turned out to be a regular guy--in fact we share some grandchildren!
There are a lot of folks who think they are pretty neat, who really aren't. And there are a lot more who don't realize they are. I wonder if Jr. High made the difference.