Saturday, December 09, 2006
ORIGINAL GIRL POSSE
Imagine a little girl, driven from the bosom of her family and forced to go to school! Actually, I think I was looking forward to it. My mother too. So much so that she sent me a day early for that first day!! How she could have gotten the day wrong? The public schools started a day ahead of the Catholic School, so maybe my Mom just assumed since the bus was coming, I belonged on it. Finally one kid out of the house!!
I remember that first day of school, hanging out with the Nuns, taking all the chalk erasers outside and beating them silly. Then making the long walk home.
The next real first day I got to meet all the kids in my class for the first time. I thought that my one day jump ahead of everyone would make me the Teachers pet, but I was wrong. Very wrong. Every nun and teacher chose Brenda Kay (the angelic looking child next to me, I am receiving First Communion) as their favorite. Every single one of them.
And so did we, the Original Girl Posse.
Someplace somewhere there must be written and explained the mysteries of the Theory of Three. For seven long years I lived the highs and lows of this phenomenon.
Everyone wanted Brenda Kay as their best friend. We wanted an exclusive arrangement. Brenda was drunk with this power and played us against each other for almost the entire time I attended Grammar School.
First she would be friends with Missy (The angelic blonde in the second row, she had on gold shoes while the rest of us had white flats). Being exclusive friends meant everyone else was shut out, the outsider (me) would have to hang out with Twin (in the second row behind me) and Cynthia (the freckled face charmer unfocused on receiving the flesh and blood of Christ, but looking good for the camera).
By being totally shut out, I mean totally. They would not acknowledge your presence nor look at you. If you spoke they would look at each other and say, "Did you hear something?" and then laugh wickedly and run away to the swing sets and leave you seething.
Gaining back into the position of the Best Friend was a tricky business. First you had to be acknowledged again. This could be achieved with a special gift, such as a cookie or a cupcake from your lunch. Other times, it meant handing over a precious pencil sharpener or mechanical pencil (I can still feel in my hand this red mechanical pencil that was three beads and highly coveted)or Holy Cards that were particularly fancy.
When it was your turn as the Selected one you got to play the cruel game of shutting out Missy, banishing her to play with Twin and Cynthia.
I swear to God, this went on for years and years.
Cynthia left after second grade, her family moved away. She was replaced with Freida, a country girl with 10 brothers and sisters!
We could never play together peacefully and there was always a foot race for the swings, a shoving match to see who got to sit by who on the Merry-go-Round, and much jockeying for position at the picnic tables for the lunch hour.
Don't even get me started when Brenda Kay decided she liked boys better than girls!
Brenda Kay left the Catholic Grammar School right before seventh grade.
The drama left with her. She was always the smartest girl in the class, now that was up for grabs. She always had her pick of the boys, now they were despondent and entirely icky again. No more playing Beatles and Monkees on the front porch.
Everything calmed down to a normalcy that was foreign to those left behind. Our Star had been removed and it was dark without her.
Ah, Brenda Kay, you shaped every single female companionship I have had since.
At times, this was not a good thing.