First grade at St. L’s was the beginning of a journey with a handful of kids whom I would spend the next eight years. Some would join us by being left back, others by transferring in and we lost a few from the usual, moving or transferring to public schools. The beginning was with four girls and one boy that took their places in the front row of seats in class room that next day, when school really began. Three out of the four girls (one left early on) formed a bond that stays with me today.
Not exactly a healthy bond, mind you. It seemed that the three of us could never get along as a gang. It was a cruel game we played during the day. We would splinter off when one would say, “You are my best friend and we are going to shun Mary/Missy this week”.
I call myself Alphawoman, but that girl, that B.K.A., she was the Alphagirl. What does not kill or crush you only makes you stronger!
She was teachers pet. She was the smartest , (until Mike showed up in 4th grade, but he was an early version of a nerd, so she continued to triumph), she had the perfect handwriting, her papers were always neat, the sandwiches she brought for lunch had the crusts cut off, and she had lovely dresses, and curly hair, she developed breasts and curves before the rest of us, the boys were all in love with her, she ended up being the teachers pet, she had the most wonderful school supplies including mechanical pencils, had the first “Nifty”, she had long eye lashes and blue eyes and Dag Gum It, when we had a school re-union (to celebrate 75 years of St. L’s) if she didn’t show up looking absolutely stunning!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
(Here she is with her arms raised up showing off her budding chest!! We were around 10)
For seven years, until she left after our 7th grade, I struggled with Missy to be BKA’s best friend. Other girls came and went, and Shelly and Frieda were always hovering the in back ground to take in the ostracized “third” girl (be it me or Missy). I did have one certain advantage over Missy. She lived on a farm way out in the country and had to ride the bus home every day. I, on the other hand, was able to stay after school. I was able to keep BKA company while she waited for her Mom (who worked at the factory and would pick BKA after her shift ended) and then I would walk home. We would help the nun’s and swing on the play ground equipment if the nuns would allow us to take the swing seats out of the shed and reattach them to the steel links bars. Or we would walk downtown and visit the 5&dime. Or we would play in the tunnel. Sometimes we played in the church (but don’t tell anyone) and on the church grounds.
I think BKA was my first crush as I coveted her friendship above all else and was granted it only every so often. She and Missy had much more in common, both farm kids, both with older siblings, and both of them being many , many generations deep Kentuckians. Their parents did not talk with funny Northern accents.
Nor did their parents did not try and change things (as my Mom had been known to do). They were inseparable and I tried to squeeze myself into their world. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it was horrible.
We all went to different High Schools and found new circles to run with. It was my first and very elongated introduction to cliques.
I have never liked them since, and have found myself on the outside looking in most my life. Beginning as a little kid, in the early 1960’s in Mayberry USA.