I met with a group of women who call themselves The Kennedy Girls for lunch today. Kennedy was the name of our high school. I have not seen them in awhile. I mean, I “see” them on Facebook every day. Especially Patti, who never fails to post. We met in journalism class at West Jr. High so that makes sense. Like me, she’s still writing:)
And Janet looks exactly the same, plus, we were super tight in junior high. We got into a lot of trouble together. Joyce was so funny today. I think she was like that in junior high, too. She talked about her recent marriage and I asked her if it felt the same falling in love now as it did when we were young.
“Nope,” she said “Way easier. Back then you want to impress someone, you want to be liked, now I don’t give a fuck. I am who I am.” I admire Joyce for being herself. I also think it’s pretty awesome that I’m not the only one in that group who on occasion uses the F word.
Janet and I told stories on ourselves, like the time we threw raw eggs at a guys’ house because she loved him. Of course this is what you do in junior high when you love someone. That or toilet paper their maple trees. We might have done both as I’m sure I loved someone too. In fact, Janet claims to have notes I passed her in class about a certain guy, still folded up tiny in that junior high origami. Guess they text now. No way to origami that.
So the reason I think of these girls as the West Girls is I did not hang out with any of them at Kennedy. Maybe they did with each other, but I was not like them then. I was, well someone nicely said today, a hippie. That’s a sweet word for who I was.
I was a drop out, a first hour ditcher, a girl who would thumb to Colorado with no shoes on a whim. Janet was a cheerleader, on Homecoming court, and also crowned Miss World or something like that. She wears an actual crown in the picture. Also she always did her homework, I’m pretty sure. At Kennedy, we could not have been more different.
Time has a way of mellowing even the most hardcore badasses, which I totally thought I was, even though Donna somebody-or-other was constantly threatening to “kick my ass.” I have no idea why. Every time I’d see her in the hall, she’d sidle up to me and whisper “I’m gonna kick your ass, Hines.” (That was my name then.)
Not sure why Donna had it in for me. Maybe because I didn’t wear a bra. I didn’t wear make up either. Or style my hair. I smoked Kools. I hit any joint offered. I dropped acid at 8 a.m. and drank Annie Greensprings apple wine to chase it down. I did all of this in school and after school and all summer long for three years. I didn’t worry much about getting my ass kicked ’cause I was doing a pretty good job my own self.
Senior year, I lived alone in a little shack of a house my dad owned because I was pseudo-cynical and a bit of a high-on. Even my own family wanted to kick my ass. And they did, to the other side of town. One day the principal called to see why I wasn’t in school. “Put your mother on the phone,” he said, pissed when I’d answered. “She doesn’t live here but I can give you her number,” I said helpfully. Bastard hung up on me.
I have no idea why the Kennedy girls decided to invite me into their group. I think it’s pretty sweet. Really long lost pals are a trip. Speaking of…I used to say everyone on the planet should drop LSD at least once, because having your mind blown is so far fucking out. The minute my own children were born I reversed my decision regarding this preposterous proposition.
I’m thinking now maybe I hallucinated that girl who wanted to kick my ass. And I’m thinking I owe the school that actually allowed me to graduate with my West Girls in ’73 a debt of gratitude. Or maybe they just wanted to be rid of me. Kind of ironic, I’m a teacher now, and I know I’d be glad to see the backside of somebody like that me-I-used-to-be. But those Kennedy girls. They dig me despite all that. Word: they are way too cool for school.