Chapter 4

So I move on to junior high school. I remember the school and basics of these 2 years but trying to remember names of a lot of people and details of day to day life is not so easy. I still do not understand why but I will write what I can…

I do not remember the fist day of junior high school but I remember some of my classes especially orchestra. I wasn’t the best violin player but I did enjoy it. At some point pretty early on we were asked to volunteer to play the string bass. I volunteered and was put in a room with book and a bass. I was given the basics and since I already knew about playing a string instrument I was left to my own devices. It took a few weeks before I rejoined the rest of the orchestra. I did enjoy it. By the second year I was in the youth string orchestra… top players of all the junior high school students. It was a way of getting away from my regular life and do something I was proud of.

I also ran track. I was a distance runner…mile, 2 mile, mile relay and the 2 mile relay. I wasn’t the best but I did my best and really enjoyed it. I also did basketball for either 7th or 8th grade…I do not remember. I was on the B team…again I wasn’t the best but I tried. I was trying to find ways to be out of my house and doing something structured. I also tried out for the cheerleaders but I wasn’t in the girly popular crowd so that was a no go.

I took a home economics class. I learned to sew in this class…that I still do to this day. It was helpful for what ended up being a part of my longest career choice so it was a plus in my life. I made a skirt and a book bag. I cannot say I learned to cook there…my step dad taught me how to cook. He was instrumental in my ability to do just about anything in life. He taught me just about everything that would be useful in my life. Step dads are much more valuable than they are given credit for. (at least the good ones…there are bad ones too)

I had some friends in junior high school although I only remember a few names and only 1st names for all but a few of them. It started to become more clear in junior high school that I was more of a tomboy than a girly girl. I was much more interested in jeans and t-shirts and playing sports with the boys than to wear makeup and skirts. I was interested in boys not girls but didn’t feel the need to doll myself up. I wanted the boys to like me for me. I have always hated being fake. What I find interesting is the boyfriend I had through junior high school was my neighbor and he would figure out later that he liked boys…So not sure what to think about that. I wish him all the happiness in the world but does make me wonder about the whole tomboy aspect of that.

During the summers (when I wasn’t at my grandparents farm working) my step dad and I would do a garden and raise rabbits for food. The first time I had to kill a rabbit I was to hit it in the head with a hammer. I didn’t hit it hard enough and it started squealing and going in circles. I had to grab it and hit it again. (that was very hard for me) But I survived and I never had to hit one twice again. When I went to gut it I found some babies in her. So I grabbed a dropper and some towels and nursed them. 2 of the 3 survived.  We raised them to eat them later. He also took me fishing and taught me how to be a lead on a John boat going down a river and navigating the rapids. We used the rabbit manure for the garden. (Best fertilizer I have ever used) We would spend a lot of time at the 80 acres his family owned north of town. I loved this land. I think those 80 acres gave me a refuge from life. I loved walking in those woods. I used to sneak out there and just walk the woods when I needed to think and get away from my life.

In the fall my step dad would take me to the 80 acres to pick persimmons and to did sassafras roots for tea. That is my favorite tea of all time… he would give me swig or two of apricot or blackberry brandy just to keep me warm. It would get pretty chilly out there. Never got me drunk or anything like that so don’t get any ideas on that. My mother and I never got along and my dad was vacant in my life so he was the adult I connected with. I am glad that he taught me what he did during my formidable years. All girls need to learn a few things so they are not dependent on anyone for anything.

I did have an 8th grade graduation party to try and get more friends before we went to high school. A few people showed up but it just wasn’t my thing. I had fun but sucking up to people was not something I was comfortable doing. I wanted the boys to like me but couldn’t bring myself to be more girly to do it. I am not weak and cannot play weak to win a boy over. Made my life difficult but well adversity makes people stronger in life.

If I remember correctly it was during these 2 years of school that I met my biological. I last saw him when I was about 2 or 3 maybe. Either way I didn’t remember him. I found out that my sister had been in touch with that side of my family the whole time. I never saw any of the birthday cards or anything. Being that I had a strained relationship with my mother I was vulnerable to any sort of affection from him. I had fun during that visit. Asked for him to get custody of me even my sister went along. His wife Donna was so nice to me and I loved the way she was with my brother that I had never met. I was so hopeful just to be sent back to my mom. Dad did not fight for me and he just sent me gifts after that. Money does not buy love. So both of my parents didn’t want me and it made me feel alone. I did like the thought of the large family I had on my dads side. They were all so close and I didn’t have that in my life. It was like a slow torture…

I think this is why I was so attached to my step father. He showed interest in me and my life. He showed me parental love and taught  me like a parent does. It was also during this time that I called my step dad “dad” in the middle of a conversation with my step-sister while we were cooking in the kitchen. BIG MISTAKE! Next thing I know there is a butcher knife stuck in the wall beside my head. She threw it at me… needless to say I never called him dad again after that. I am sure she wouldn’t mind at this point but after that I was respectful of her feelings and never did it again.

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