Wednesday, May 15, 2019

LBDM Episode 21: 1979: 6th Grade Memories- Making New Friends

LBDM Episode 21:  
1979: 6th Grade Memories- 
Making New Friends

Going to Judson my 6th grade year was an unforgettable experience. In the last installment, I mentioned my going to a GATE meeting for the very first time and meeting Angela Stanmore, my first major crush. There were 30+ kids who attended that meeting, but from what I recall, Angela and I were the only black kids there. The rest were white, for the most part. There were both 6th and 7th graders in attendance; I don’t think that there were any 8th graders present. Anyway, that was the first of several GATE meetings we would have that year, and it’s interesting to note now of how much of an influence the meetings had on me and my future. Through these meetings I made friends with a lot of my classmates who I probably either would have never become friends with otherwise, or who I probably would have had a hard time getting to know since we were “different”, generally speaking. And I got introduced to the biggest thing in my life since the calculator…..the computer.

I made a lot of friends that year due to being in GATE and having to take Advanced Math and Advanced English, as well as having some of my classmates in my other classes, too. Of course, they were mostly white kids, since I already knew many of the black kids already attending Judson with myself. I wish I could name them all, and in time I probably will, but I will focus on the ones I remember talking to the most in mainly my advanced classes from my 6th grade year:
Paula Briley- I remember her being In English and Choir with me- she sat behind me in English, and she was very friendly and talkative.
Sherri Earhart- The next two (including Sherri) I list always either had lockers next to or above mine, or we sat by or in front of one another in class- So it was probably destined we’d all become friends by the end of the school year. Sherri was outspoken and could be a smart-mouth at times, but I liked her. She was cool.
April Eaton- Her locker always seemed to be next to mine every year- She was very nice and very friendly.
Cathy Edmondson- And her locker always seemed to be above mine every year- Cathy was the total package- Very smart, very nice, very friendly, very pretty- just one of the best people I’ve ever met-
Michael Foster- I remember him being one of the first kids I met in my math class- His mother, who I think was a counsellor or teacher at Judson, and him were very nice and friendly to me that year, and I’ve never forgotten that. Another good person.
Julie Grimes- I’m not going to mention the nickname she gave me later on during our 8th grade year, but she was in a lot of my classes every year at Judson- She was very talented as well as smart- could sing and cheerlead- I believe we became friends in English also-
Russell Hohlt- He was a genuine good guy, friendly and kind of funny- I had him in FOUR of my classes my 6th grade year.
Bobby Lorenz- One of the few I was able to have a lot of classes with both at Judson and LHS- A really, really good guy who loved cars (I wished I could draw a car as good as him!) and who was one of the calmest people I’ve ever met.
Rosey Mancha- She was friendly, very intelligent, and always seemed to have a smile on her face always- That’s what I remember most about her- her smile-
Marc Mayfield- You could tell he was going to grow up and become a lawyer someday way back when we were in the 6th grade- That doesn’t mean he was a bad person- He was as good as they come-
Brian Romans- He was kind of quiet, very smart, especially in math- A good person.
Mark Smitherman- The ultimate boy scout- Strong, smart, didn’t let anything or anyone bother him or defeat him- Very mature back then compared to the rest of us-
Lisa Supercinski- Another one of my first new friends in my math class, who I believe sat in front of me (we were not seated alphabetically in math)- Very smart, very friendly, who talked to and helped me a lot in class.
Tim Tutt- Very, very friendly, always smiling- he was just a very nice person-
Scot Walker- He was a good person, smart, sometimes a smart-aleck but very much a decent person-
Lee Warren- He was smart, sneaky-athletic (he really could run fast), and like Bobby, very even-tempered and calm.
Clay Whitehurst- The mad scientist of our group, he loved science even though he was smart in all subjects, and he was very friendly also- I remember talking to him a lot during math also.
Jeff Hampton- We’d become better friends in the 7th and 8th grades- He was a good person with a huge heart- Always down-to-earth, always trying and doing his best, someone I’m glad I got to know-
Mona Hall- She was very quiet at first, but once you got to know her, she was very friendly and smart-
John Shiver- J.D. was one of my favorites- He was funny, smart, just a great person to be around- I had a lot of classes with him at Judson also and always liked talking to him-
Melanie Braun- She was very smart and outspoken also- She always tried and did her best on everything from her classes to being in the band, and more times than not, she was usually successful.
Jamie Ivy- She was very down-to-Earth and one of the nicest kids I met that year - She was another I liked talking to, and I thought that her name was pretty.
Elizabeth Bassett- It seemed like most of the girls were smarter than the boys and Elizabeth was no exception- Very intelligent-
There were others who I probably met in the 6th grade, or who I met when I was in the 7th and 8th grades- Julie Swimm, Sue Lynn Tipton, Kim Russell, Kim Williams, Mike Gilbreath, Natalina Hernendez, Jarrod King, Roland Bailey, Mike Pless, Scott Branch, Scott Lamon, Traci Douglas, and Laura Peurifoy to name a few more- In all honesty, I can’t totally remember when I actually did meet and talk to them for the very first time- but all of them have been friends to this day and I’m thankful to have gotten to know them when I did.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

1979: 6th Grade Memories- The GATE Meeting and My First Real Crush

Episode 20 
1979: 6th Grade Memories
The GATE Meeting and My First Real Crush
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Sometime during the month of October, I'd just taken a seat in my 7th period class when the intercom came on. "We'd like for the following students to report to the library as soon as this announcement is over:" Then the voice continued to name the students who were to go to the library for God knows what. When I heard my name announced as one of the students, I thought, Oh Lord, what could this be about? I didn't feel like I was in trouble or anything like that, because they were calling out the names of the students who were in my advanced classes, but one could never be too sure. As soon as the intercom shut off, I got up and basically went next door to the library. There were a couple of women whom I didn't know standing there and they, after asking what my name was, motioned for me to sit at one of the long tables in front of them. I sat down and gradually other students started coming in and sitting down. Again, these were mostly my classmates who were in my advanced classes and who I had not gotten to know yet, and there were a few 7th graders also present. I sat there really being to myself and not really looking at or talking to anyone when something happened that would affect me for the rest of my years at Judson.

Before we get to that, let me state what the meeting was all about. The ladies, Mrs. Foster (one of my classmates' mother) and Mrs. Jackson (our librarian) explained to us that we were the first members of a program called the Gifted and Talented Enrichment program, or GATE, for short. To quote from our school newspaper at the time, "The purpose of GATE is to provide challenges and enrichment for participating students. To become a member of the GATE program, students must be recommended by their teachers, have above average scores in all areas, and possess a willingness to complete all projects. GATE students are currently studying ways to improve study habits, examining career opportunities, and are entering a writing contest (we are?). There are approximately 30 students involved in the GATE program (at the time)." Mrs. Foster, Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Motley, Mrs. E.J. Johnson, Mrs. Starr, Mrs. Henderson, and Mr. Parr were our sponsors. All of these teachers either taught math or English, or served in the capacity of a librarian or counselor. Obviously, I'd been recommended by my teachers (Mrs. Henderson and Mrs. Starr) due my grades for the 1st six weeks. I'd made all A's on my report card and 1 B. I wound up making the honor roll for the six weeks, and didn't even know what that actually meant at the time, since I'd never had that in elementary school. And now, here I am sitting in the first ever GATE meeting, and wondering if I belong in here or not. I looked around and saw more than a few blank faces, and I thought, well, at least I'm not the only one not sure what this is all about. Later on, once we started doing different activities and being introduced to new inventions and concepts (such as computers and VCRs), I really started appreciating being picked to be a part of GATE. In fact, one might say if not for GATE, I might not have ever come close to my future destiny.

More on that later. Let me get back to another major event in my life which occurred at this particular meeting. As I stated, I was sitting there minding my own business when someone tapped me on the shoulder from behind. I turned around and saw the prettiest girl I'd ever seen in my life up to that point. They say you instantly know it when you fall in love (or get a serious crush) with someone for the very first time (you see fireworks and you get hot and all that), and they're right- The first time I saw Angela, who was in the 7th grade at the time, I liked her a WHOLE lot. In the past, I liked a girl named Tracey when I was in kindergarten, and when I was in the first and second grades, I liked Deyavor, but those were me just being a little kid and liking them as friends. But THIS was different; this was more than just liking somebody- this was extremely being attracted to somebody to the point of being in love. I had never felt this way about any girl before and it caught me by surprise. I mean, I didn't go to school thinking, I'm going to find me a girlfriend or fall in love with the first person I see. I was still interested in sports, playing with toys, riding my bicycle, catching frogs, etc. And as far as girls went, I had never looked at any as anything other than friends (or enemies) or noticed their appearance. Angela changed all that. The very first thing I noticed about her was how pretty she was, how long her hair was, her cute face, pretty eyes, and nice smile. I'd never noticed those things about girls before then. Then after she tapped me on the shoulder and got my attention, she spoke in a friendly voice and said, "Hi Cedric. My mother knows your mother."

HOW did she know my name?? Who was she?? Who was her mother?? Where did she come from?? Why? What? How? So many questions- and so, after she said what she said and smiled at me, I did what I would mostly do for the next couple of years whenever I was around Angela: I'd turn red, smile like a fool, and mumble or say something stupid, or say nothing. Most of the time, anyway, that's what I’d do. This day in time I said something like, “okay”, and quickly turned back around sweating bullets. I wanted so bad to ask her her name, but I was too shy to even talk to her.

The rest of the meeting went by quickly, and I wasn’t too focused on what was being said by Mrs. Foster and Mrs. Jackson anyhow, considering I’d just met the girl of my dreams for the very first time. I couldn’t wait to get on the bus and ride home so I could ask my momma who this girl was whose mother she knew. But if only I had a name to go by! I thought I heard one of the kids call her Angela, but I wasn’t sure. For once, I was glad when the 3:30 bell rang, so I could go run and jump on the bus, which still was the consistent negative highlight of the day, but I just wanted to hurry up and get home.

Once I got home, I asked my mom rather casually did she know any of the mothers of my classmates or somebody close to me in age. “Well that depends on who you are talking about,” she said. Then I told her of the GATE meeting I had gone to and how the only other person who was my skin-color had tapped me on the shoulder and said that her mother knew my mother. I told her that I think her name is Angela. “Oh, I know who you are talking about,” Momma said. “You know her mother, too- She used to teach you.” I was like, Huh? The only people I could think of was Mrs. Moore and Mrs. Eckhardt, and I knew it couldn’t be one of them. My mom continued, “Mrs. Stanmore- don’t you remember Mrs. Stanmore who used to help teach you in the first grade?”

Mrs. Stanmore! I had totally forgotten about her! She and Mrs. Nelson (who ironically was the secretary at Judson at this time) were my teacher aides who used to help us when I was in the first grade at East Ward (Everhart). I remembered how pretty she was and I thought she was a teenager, if not a grown woman (because she was so young-looking). Which she obviously was back then since Angela was older than me. I almost couldn’t believe that Angela was her daughter, and that she also had a son who was in the same grade as my sister. I thought to myself, I can see where Angela got her looks from then. But I still wondered how did Angela know me and who I was, unless it was her mom who told her. Or could it have been someone else? Why did I react that way towards her? I’d never reacted like that before- Was this what they call, love at first sight?