A blog about the amazing things teenagers do, about writing for teens, books for teens, and occasional forays into my world and the world of publishing.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Firsts: The First Day of School

To begin my new feature and start things off, here is one of my "First Day of School" memories.

On my first day at South Fremont Junior High in the little town of St. Anthony, Idaho I was a little excited, but mostly terrified! My best friend from grade school had deserted me, (or so it felt). Our little school didn't have an orchestra program, so her parents sent her to a bigger school down the road that did.

I remember everyone milling around in front of the building, waiting for the first bell to ring. I was looking at the different groups and trying to decide where I would fit in. In one cluster were the kids that I had gone to grade school with for the past seven years, in another were some girls I knew from church, and in yet another was my sister's best friend's little sister, a girl I kind of knew. None of them openly tried to include me, and I was too shy to just join them.

I didn't know who I would walk to lunch with (our junior high didn't have a cafeteria so lunch was at a grade school a few blocks away). I didn't know where my classes were, and I didn't have one close friend to "hang out" with. Eventually, I just stuck with my eight grade and one-year-older sister, (probably to her mortification.)

I don't have many concrete memories about my first day of junior high, mostly I just remember feelings. However, a two things are firmly ingrained in my mind. My locker number was 118, (18 was and still is my lucky number), and when I bent over to put my things away in that bottom row locker, a boy, (and I still remember exactly who that boy was), pushed me headfirst into it. Not my finest moment or my finest memory.

In the end I survived the day (and the rest of junior high, but just barely).

From the standpoint of an author the first day of school has endless story possibilities. Maybe you started a new school. Maybe someone new caught your eye on the first day of school. Maybe you transformed yourself over the summer. Maybe your best friend moved and you're on your own for the first time since kindergarten, (like I was). Maybe you're mourning the loss of a summer love that didn't quite go the way you had planned.

Whatever it is, I would love to hear about it.


  1. Junior high school, eighth grade. My first year at this school, my first year in this school district (we moved A LOT). I wanted, desperately, designer jeans. Jordache to be precise. (Just to let you know how old I really am...) We couldn't afford Jordache. We could afford Venture (for you not in the know--think K-Mart, but less). My mom bought me two pairs of the darkest bluest straightest leg (aka cheapest) jeans she found at Venture. Again, showing my age here, but back then, acid wash, tapered leg was KING. I was going to start school with several strikes against me.
    My mom decided--perhaps due to my complete inability to express myself at that tender age--that the only difference between Jordache jeans and my Venture jeans was the pocket design, so she stopped by the craft store and picked up some patches.
    And then she ironed them on to the back pocket of my jeans.
    What did she add to my jeans? A fox. A cute red furry fox with its head tilted to the side and the word "FOXY" written under the fox's curly tail.
    I wore those jeans proudly to school, because, well, that's what you did when your mom went to all that work.
    I walked up the front steps to the large double-doors leading to the school, books in my arms (backpacks were so LAME back then). As I walked, I heard snickers behind me. I hunched my shoulders, held my books tighter to my body, kept aiming for the double-doors.
    Then, I heard it. Clear as day. "Foxy!" is a boy-soprano. More snickers, more "Hey, Foxy!"
    I got inside the school, freed a hand, untucked my shirt (yes, I wore it tucked in) and pulled it as LOOOOOOW as I could. For the rest of the day. Tug, step, tug, step, tug, step.
    All that exercise paid off, as NO ONE said, "Foxy!" for the rest of the day.
    The damage was done, however. I remember EXACTLY who called out "Foxy!" and EXACTLY his tone while doing it. When school was out and I got my yearbook, I maturely highlighted that boy's picture in green.
    And I NEVER wore those pants again.
    And as soon as I could, I got a job at Colonel Days--a denim store--and used my employee discount to buy several pairs of acid washed tapered leg jeans with NO patches.

  2. I threw a fit on my first day of kindergarten because my teacher put a Tinkerbell sticker on my name tag. I considered it "too girly."

  3. These are great! I wore watermelon print pants on my first day of Kindergarten. I was so excited about them until I walked to the bus stop and several girls in about the sixth grade started snickering about them. I was humiliated all day long. Not sure what happened to those pants. Might still be hidden under my bed or something. Funny how devastating some things can feel. Particular simple teasings. I guess we better teach our children not to do it. Oh, and Jen. I want to know who the boy was. Shh, I won't tell. :)

  4. 4th grade, and for once I wasn’t the new girl. But I saw one; she was staring out the window. She looked so scared. I walked right up to her and introduced myself. We became best friends for most of that year.

  5. I love these. Val, I think "Foxy" fits you!
    Becky, Jon N. our age. I think you can figure out who that is.

  6. Hahaha. I forgot about Jon, apparently you didn't. Conveniently, I tend to repress most negative memories, which must mean that most first days of school weren't that great for me.

    I do remember my first day of kindergarten. Mom and Dad were in Panama and Grandma took me to school. I went to school the first day in a red three piece suit--jacket, vest the works. I have a picture to prove it. I also remember I had a vinyl flowered book bag.

    But I would prefer to write about a last day of school. I still count it as one of my top five best days ever.

    When I first arrived at school, I had to check the music room door. I had auditioned and wanted to find out if I had been chosen to sing with the show choir. I not only made it, but the guy I'd had a crush on the entire year had also. I would be spending a lot of time with him the next year.

    Then when Jake Neilson signed my yearbook, he asked me if I would sing with his garage band. Something I had fantasized about since I saw them practicing in a store front window one day. I never would have guessed it was possible.

    Lunch that day was spent at my friend's house. Her brother just happened to be the major crush I mentioned previously. He was there and we talked about how we loved to sing the whole time.

    I don't remember any other details (should have written them down back then), but it was also the beginning to my best summer ever!

    And if it helps I don't remember you eating lunch with me the first day of seventh grade, so it must not have been as traumatic for me as it was for you(unless I have repressed it), but I have never had a problem with you hanging around. On the contrary,it's always been for my benefit.:)

  7. I can only remember my first day of school at my new HS in California. In Louisiana, even the public schools had conservative dress codes and when I showed up for 11th grade and saw girls in daisy dukes, I had no idea that Katy Perry's version of Califonia Gurls is kind of on the money. I kept waiting for a squad of teachers to sweep the campus enforcing dress code. But it's flip flop nation. They didn't sweat stuff like cut offs and halter tops. Definite culture shock.