Once Upon A Time….
Beginning in second grade I was a devoted wanna be girlfriend of what I thought was the hottest guy in class. I attended a small, quaint school where a large class size was twenty two students and the whole school was well under two hundred students. The teachers were actually great with us and with a school that size there are little issues with violence or misbehavior. It was a different time though. It was pre-consolidation, pre-nine eleven, pre-school shootings, pre-when the child with the last name “Rose” was taken from school and murdered and the nation began to think about how secure our kids really were. Our classroom doors were not locked, we did not use hall passes, and nearly anyone could sign us out to go home. That America was kinda nice and foreign to my own children now but I digress:
Second grade wasn’t even the last year I wore pop bottle glasses that eclipsed my whole face due to a lazy eye. I had long, thick curly hair (very fuzzy due to my mom dry combing it every day not knowing its a no no for curly hair) that was braided almost everyday. I wore hand made clothes because we were that poor and my mom was crafty. My dad, like most dads then, was a coal miner and my mom hadn’t went back to college yet to earn her degree. I’ll include some wonderful school pictures for reference.
Also second grade was probably one of the worst school years ever because I had the meanest teacher and I sit here with a college degree and I will still stand by that statement. She was one of the top three worst teachers I’ve ever encountered. I won’t mention her name But if you are reading this and you were at my grade school you know who I’m talking about. If you are reading this and you are her or her family, I’m not sorry. If you want students to look back fondly at you maybe you should not have carried a ruler and slapped our hands whenever you wanted to. Paddling was allowed in the school system at this time and this teacher had a couple chosen students that some how escaped her daily wrath. Everyone else was game and she abused that power like no one else. I was terrified of her. Just know as a grown woman I still have nightmares about second grade.
At some point in the year a new student arrived and he was the highlight of the year for me. Scott Campbell was the cutest thing I thought I’d ever seen. To me he was a ray of sunshine in the bleak world of second grade. I looked forward to day dreaming in that classroom about dating him someday and it took my mind off constant battering by the teacher because of any thing she could find to berate. We saw a large turnover rate of students because our economy was coal and people moved a lot and I only hoped he’d stick around. He did and I’ll give you the highlights.
He sat in front of me and we became friends. Oh, the agony of “Just friends”. My heart was reformed and broken each day. I took a book to school and read anytime I was through with my assignments. I wrote in empty notebooks. I made straight A’s. I liked Star Wars. Boys did not like me.
He became aware of other girls. The ones he liked were thin and what I perceived to be prettier than me. Scott and I remained friends and he’d talk about other girls to me. Our moms went to college together and we were thrown together outside of school fairly often. I lived for those occasions. Our moms needed to study and the library was an hour away and he and I would ride in the back of my moms Chevy celebrity and talk and play game boy. A whole hour there and back in the back seat with my friend, Scott.
This was painful. We were together more this year outside of school and he’d never tell anyone about time we spent together. He’d never tell anyone we spent hours on the phone. The girls he liked had already been kissed and didn’t have curly hair. They were allowed to go to the movies with boys already. They wore makeup. A couple times that year I told him I liked him or was in love with him and he stood by the decision to just be friends and said he liked me like that. He’d say I was funny and smart and he liked to just talk to me. He never shied away after I’d agree to remain friends but secretly I think he liked the fact that I was always on his back burner.
I lost some weight over the summer, grown a few inches, and gained some bra size. I remember other boys saying things to me and Scott making a comment about, “Maybe we should be more than friends.” I said something to the effect of, “I’m the same person you’ve always known. You didn’t like me last year and I won’t date you now.” I have no idea where that came from but in this life I’ve always been proud of that 11 year old me. This was the first time I experienced that type of behavior. You drop a few pounds and suddenly people see you as a different person. It’s disgusting and shameful. But that’s a whole other post. Scott and I remained friends.
I became lost in what would eventually be my first marriage. SPOILER ALERT, it wasn’t to Scott. My childhood sweetheart did wind up being my first husband. This school year he moved away for a bit so it wasn’t so serious right then. He was older and once again, times were different then. In two years time I would become head over heels for him. At this time though I harbored a secret attraction to Scott still.
Scott came to me during an after school program. We had days left in eighth grade and we’d attend a much larger high school. We talked for a long time and then he kissed me. It was a peck, nothing more, but for me it was the end of an era.
That summer I have no idea what happened. We didn’t call anymore. We lost touch. When high school started he was with a rougher crowd than I was comfortable with. I took more advanced classes than he did. By the holidays his girlfriend was pregnant and I assume he dropped out but he may have changed schools. I’ve seen him once or twice throughout the years and I’ve heard rumors. I’ll simply say we live in a drug soaked area with meth addiction that is rampant. It’s nothing to be told I look fifteen years younger than I am and I think its because my generation typically looks 20 years older because of drug abuse and alcoholism. (That and good genes, makeup, and essential oils).
I would’ve dated him. All he had to do was ask. I had fostered a desire for him to accept me and to admit he had harbored feelings for me all those years that left me almost desperate. He never admitted it. Maybe he would’ve sucked me in and destroyed me and maybe I could’ve grounded him and kept him safe. Who knows?
My point is, we should all thank God for unanswered prayers.
Here I am writing this with three children (I swore I’d never have children) and five cats (that part I always wanted). I’m married to a man (that I refused to date several times in high school) who comes home every night and deposits his payday (however small it may be). He’s not my childhood sweetheart (and that is another story entirely) but he’s my adult sweetheart. To have this life I had to let go of what I thought was intended for me and accept what I was meant for and to see it was so much more than what I believed myself to be worth.
Sometimes you have to accept an ending to get to your once upon a time.