Looking through my yearbook from freshman year, I think it was the first time I had a large chunk of comments that said more then "Have a fun summer!". This was the year, as the big students on campus, we had our own talent show. I never understood it in the former years, but only freshman had a talent show. Of course as a 7th or 8th grader I thought how unfair that was, but when it came my turn to participate, I was all for it!!
(This is one of the 2 photoes taken for the yearbook this year, I didn't like this one so I had retakes done but for some reason, I have more of this photo then the other one.)
I suppose it was intentional, wrapping up everything from the year all at once, but our formal freshman dance fell on the same day at the talent show. In fact the talent show was at the end of the school day and our dance followed after the school was cleared out.
I was so excited when my dad took me to buy my very first formal dress! I couldn't believe how expensive they were though. Who would pay $100+ for a dress you may only wear once?! Well, we did! I felt like a bride in my long white gown that sparkled with bits of silver woven in some of the floral pattern on the fabric. I felt almost naughty having a gown that only had spaghetti straps and along the side had a gradual slit from the waist to my arms, held together by strands of the fabric in a criss-cross pattern. I even had shoes to match! I was Cinderella already to go to the ball!! But first I had to face a whole day of school in my formal wear.
Of course I wasn't the only one dressed up, most of the upper class men were as well. I even remember in my history class a boy named Jared, who I thought was one of the cutest boys in my grade, told me I looked beautiful! For a girl who felt invisible for much of her time in school, I about melted to hear those words from this cute and popular boy!!
Before school let out, all the freshman headed to the gym for our very own talent show. I was so excited and so nervous! But everything went perfectly! My friend and youth leader, Roy, showed up to play the song on the piano as I sang, "Hero" in front of all my friends and classmates. And I also shared a poem I had written in honor of our years in junior high.
Afterwards I said goodbye to Roy, as I found my way into the line of freshman lining up outside the school to wait while last minute touches were done inside to prepare for the freshman dance. Everyone was in a particularly kind mood, as school was about to be out for the summer and our junior high days were almost behind us. Girls who had always stuck their noses up to me, were all the sudden so sweet and offered me a great job on my song and poem.
(This was actually my sophomore year homecoming dance which I went to with a group of friends from my youth group, but it is the same dress I wore from my freshman formal- I am the one in white!)
Once inside for the dance, I don't remember much about what happened but my 'date' was a boy I knew named Jesse. I wasn't really interested in him, but I wanted to have a date, so I had approached him to ask, very last minute actually. He didn't wear a tux like some other boys had, instead he was just in khakis, a white t-shirt, and a fleece vest with sneakers. We danced a few times but otherwise I hung out with my friends in the lunch room area talking. I wasn't really into any of the fast dances that even at that young age seemed dirty to me some of the moves the other kids were doing. I did however love slow dancing. It seemed so romantic to me. I was Cinderella dancing with Prince Charming...well a boy at least. Though I think those thoughts came from the idea of a boy actually asking me, showing some interest in me more then the actual dance itself. Mostly the school dances were just about socializing with my friends and having your picture taken when you were dressed up in layers of tulle and satin and shiny sequins and glitter.
I remember always looking forward to all the school dances throughout the years with so much anticipation, only to feel hurt and upset during the dance as I sat alone while all my friends danced with their dates. Even the freshman formal ended up in tears, as the next day Jesse began telling everyone I forced him to take me. And of course in junior high, no one dared to think, how on earth I could've 'forced' him to take me?!! He was believed with unquestioning faith and I became the subject of a short-lived rumor that quickly fizzled out though not before leaving me feeling hurt and betrayed by him.
I guess that is just part of the drama we refer to as junior high!! But I will always remember my shining moment as I sang Mariah Carey's "Hero" in front of almost 300 of my peers!
This is my 11th post in a series of 15 that I am doing to record my youth with other women at
. We are almost done with the first session, but starting in October there will be another one! Check out the website and email Janna to participate! It is a lot of fun, and someday now my children can look back and know what shaped the woman I am and get to know me even better! What a treasure to leave your children and grandchildren!