If there is one grade in all my public school career that I don’t remember much of, it’s the eighth grade. There are parts I remember: The girl I dated, being glad I didn’t have to do “square dancing” in eighth and a few teachers in that grade. Those are the finite points I remember. But there’s one, no, make that two, things that I remember the most…
I remember getting paddled twice that year. Once was for humming in CPR/Careers class. That humming wasn’t the reason, per se, it was the fact that I was a class cut up in science and just so happened to have the same teacher, Mr. Bowling, for both classes. I absolutely deserved that one. Absolutely, without doubt. And, I believe I respected him a lot more after that, not that I had any trouble respecting him before. He was a great teacher and I remember him fondly. Thank you for that paddling, Mr. Bowling! I was a better person for it.
The other time I was paddled was a complete joke as far as why. I, along with two other classmates, were paddled because we had things either passed over the fence or brought onto school grounds from sixth graders who had gotten to go to a little cantina across the street because they had just finished their standardized tests. I don’t remember when they stopped doing those tests, but there was no EOG or anything like that, at least that I remember in those days, but at various intervals of elementary and junior high (no middle schools for us, by golly), they had these standardized tests. The teachers marched the sixth graders over there during recess and allowed them to get frozen treats of some sort. I had a friend, a neighbor, that was going over and I handed him a dollar and asked if he’d bring me back a vanilla milkshake. Well, instead of
bringing it back to me, he passed it over the fence to me. It was a tall fence but I’ve always been tall-ish. I didn’t think anything of it and proceeded to drink of it. At the end of recess, a “friend” came up to me and said that Mr. Adams wanted to see me. Ok, then, I hadn’t done anything wrong, right? Wrong.
According to Mr. Adams, I had broken the rules about passing things across the fence. My smart arseness asked if I would have gotten in trouble had he brought it through the fence to give it to me. I don’t recall ever getting an answer on that. I didn’t know there was such a rule, but as the saying goes, “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” I get that, but where was this rule? I dare to say it most likely was not in the handbook and if it was, it didn’t say anything about milkshakes. A technicality, I know, but still silly. However, I am a staunch believer in following rules as well as possible and if I broke it, then I needed to face the music on it. My ‘Rents were quite upset and Ma Père went to the school, along with the parents of the other two, and was basically just a witness as the other two sets of parents were making spectacles of themselves and their kids. He said the same thing I am saying right now, I broke the rule. So, really where my resentment should lie is in the two other classmates that threw me under the bus. No teachers saw the transaction (I never sold the “smuggler” out, by the way) so how did they know I had done it? The a-holes that got caught decided that if they were going down, then I was, too. So. they’re the ones that got me in trouble. Still, I broke the rule.
I can’t tell you much more about eighth grade. It’s one grade that I can’t remember who my homeroom teacher was. I remember a Mrs. Jackson, but I didn’t have her as a teacher. I think Mrs. Blankenship was the English teacher and I think we did mythology in that year. I believe Mrs. Hager was the math teacher. I know I “dated,” or as we called it back then, I was “going with” a girl named Christina Smith. I wonder what happened to her? I “went with” her into ninth grade, I remember that. I think that’s all I remember about school that year. It may all come back to me and, perhaps, some of my classmates at Pineville Jr. High may be able to enlighten me, but that’s all I got.
So, all that comes back to today, when my son, 3B, starts his eighth grade year. A new haircut, new clothes and please to (enter deity here), please let it be a new attitude and new outlook on school. He’s thirteen and almost as tall as I am (not really that close). He’s my “itty bitty boy” as I call him but I guess I can no longer call him “hippie” as have for most of his life. Man, how time has flown. I try to instill on him that he has to go to school, he has to get an education. There’s nothing dishonorable about flipping burgers at McDonalds, but it’s also probably not a ladder-climbing career, either. If he wants to do what he wants to do, he must have an education.
And to all those who complain that their Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with nothing but back to school pictures… get over it. That’s what Facebook is for. It’s a social media platform. Not everyone is the curmudgeon, ego-centric fuddy-duddies that you are that only cares about yourselves. Most of us like to see what the people’s in our “social circles” kids look like now and the “oh how they’ve grown” and “I can’t believe he’s/she’s that age now” are what we want. If that bothers or annoys you, then buzz off, turn the channel, unfriend me, or just shut the heck up! Okay, rant over.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Like many parents after a long family holiday, I usually welcome the moment when my kids head back to school.” – Jose Andres Puerta