I remember Junior High and grade 9 with many fond memories. Sleep overs, volleyball tournaments, floor hockey tournaments, water skiing up the lake. Up at 6:00 to head for gymnastics class. Hanging out with the popular crowd. Being able to go to the teen dances and stay out til 11:00pm….wow! Thinking I was invincible and life was a breeze.
I remember a summer full of fun and laughter, excitement and waiting for the ‘big day’ after September long weekend when I would finally get on a bus and go to ‘Senior High School’, outfitted with my new wardrobe from the Sears catalog. I was looking forward to a continued relationship with all my girlfriends from Junior High. I thought we would have loads of fun and that nothing would change.
Boy, did I get a kick in the teeth….the new school was so big and I felt so small. I couldn’t find my friends and when I got to my homeroom, I didn’t recognize anyone. I wanted to cry, but being in Senior High, that wasn’t allowed. I felt dreadfully alone and out of place. I think that was the start of my downfall. I was younger than the other kids. The way my birthday fell, I started school at age 5 so I was 15 in grade 10. Emotionally immature and physically smaller than most of the other kids. I remember being teased a lot and having a difficult time making new friends.
At the start of the year, I still got together after school and on weekends with my old friends, but that soon changed as they made their own new connections and I made mine. Most of the kids at the new school knew each other. They could walk to school and lived near by. I came by bus and didn’t get an opportunity to stay after school and hang out. It seemed the more I tried to make friends with the new girls, the more I was ostracized. They were a tight group, and were not about to let a new kid into their circle. Looking back, I realize if I had of waited a bit longer, things might have changed….but I didn’t.
I started hanging out with the wrong crowd, the only crowd that seemed to accept me. It was all so new to me that it was exciting and fun at the beginning but then my grades started to fall and my parents started to lecture me. Not a good thing to do with a stubborn pig headed person like myself. I got instantly rebellious. I forgot about all the things I loved about home, my life and my folks. I started talking back , coping an attitude and just being a proper bitch.
I made it through grade 10 by the skin of my teeth and spent a miserable summer feeling sorry for myself…of course I ended up being grounded more than I got to go to the lake or to any other fun things. My carefree days seemed to be over.
Grade 11 was more of the same. Sneaking around, smoking, telling lies…oh mom, can I stay at Pat’s tonight? It’s OK with her mom….Pat…oh mom, can I stay at Sandra’s? Her mom says it’s OK and then we were off and running. Our guy friends were older and already out of school. Boy did we have some fun. The guys had their own place and we called it the Sugar Shack. We pulled some real foolish pranks. Tipping over the dugouts at the ball field, stealing garden ornaments from peoples lawns. Throwing eggs at police cars. Skipping school. Of course, we eventually got caught. I remember washing police cars every Sunday for a month! I remember how embarrassed I was when I had to go and apologize to all those folk who’s garden stuff we took.
My poor parents didn’t know what to do. They grounded me and I just waited until they were asleep and jumped out my bedroom window. They threatened me with reform school and I just said OK. I was not a nice person at that stage in my life. I treated my parents very poorly. I remember two occasions very clearly. I had jumped out the window and was out drinking with my friends. I got so drunk that I threw up everywhere. My friends brought me home and I was trying to sneak in when my dad came out and caught me. What a sight I was. My beautiful back combed beehive hairdo was stuck to my face, full of puke and my clothes were ripped where I had taken a nose dive on my knees and I could barely stand up. I actually thought he might hit me but all he did was call my mother and tell her to deal with me. I was very ashamed. My mom just laughed and said ‘I think she has suffered enough’. She put me in the shower and then into bed. I was still loved….thank goodness for that.
The second memory is of my 16th birthday. My girlfriends brother was having his 21st birthday on the same day as mine. He was having a big party. My father said I was not allowed to go. Well, John’s mom was part of my mom’s sewing circle and she told mom she would be supervising so it would be OK for me to go. Conveniently, my father was out so I went. Part way through the night, I was standing there watching my friend Pat dancing. She happened to have a long-necked bottle of beer in her hand. Of course, she was jiving and as she did a twirl, her hand came out and that damn bottle hit me square in the mouth. It’s a good thing I was drunk since it knocked out a good portion of my front teeth. Oh the pain….but the worse was yet to come.
John’s mom concocted a story for me to tell my dad. We decided that I had fallen going up the stairs and broke my teeth that way. Well, my dear old dad was no pushover. When he found out I was at the party he was livid and when he saw my mouth the next day he was angry. Angrier than I had ever seen him. I was permanently grounded! He had the perfect punishment for me. He dragged me to the dentist and he made me pay for the dental work. Back then they didn’t do root canals, so I ended up in hospital where they pulled all my teeth and stuck in a pair of dentures which I still wear to this day. Not the same ones of course.
In the meantime, at 17 I had just started a part-time job with the telephone company. I worked weekends and some evenings. This caused a bit of a problem. It was pretty hard being a telephone operator with half my front teeth missing, but they were very understanding and it wasn’t long before I got my new dentures. I figured I was a working girl now so why bother with school. I quit half way through grade 12. Never graduated. Things were getting worse at home. I had lost my virginity, was pretty wild and was totally disrespectful to my parents. Right before they were going to send me off to reform school, I met a handsome fellow passing through town working for CN as a lineman. Well, here was my way out! He was headed off to Prince George so I put in for a transfer and off we went. My father’s last words were ‘you made your bed so now lie in it’.
By 18 I was pregnant with my first child and that started a whole new chapter in my life. I worked until my 8th month and then we moved to North Vancouver and my life changed yet again. Thankfully, for the good…..and we are now up to 1965 and the birth of my first child.