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Entry date: 9-23-2022 - School days - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Yesterdays blog got me thinking about my own school history and how I felt about being there and such. We ask a lot of children to be present and ready to learn when the rest of their world is often chaotic and full of uncertainty. I’m realizing that I had my own version of that, and it had to make an impact on how present I was at school.

As I was beginning my educational ride, my parents got divorced. As I’ve mentioned here before, I don’t have a ton of memories that come flooding in about those days. The ones I do have of my parents still being married are not good. I’ve been told that I was an angry kid at school. I didn’t care much for it because, well, it was too easy.

This is not a brag, so I don’t want it to come off as one. My mom, from what she has shared with me, worked with me a lot on the basics and when I got to school, I was not happy about waiting for the others to catch up. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, Tom and Amy, and they did not talk to me like I was a child all the time, either. I suppose, being an only child in those days, nobody really talked down to me.

My brain goes back to that whole “angry” thing, and I do have a lot of memories of getting in fights in the early days of being in school. I was not a kind and patient kid a lot of the time and I had a serious inferiority complex. Going to schools in the Madison district exposed me to a lot of other students who came from some means. I was very jealous of this.

It’s not that I was lacking for anything. My parents did the best they could, and in some cases, probably better than they really could have or should have, so I “fit in” but I never really felt like I was as good as a lot of the other kids. This created a lot of resentment, and I had a bad temper. Probably not a winning combination.

I was also really lazy when it came to doing my schoolwork. I love to procrastinate, even to this day, if I can, although being deadline driven a lot of the time helps curb this urge. This laziness, though, would cause me a ton of stress because I would often wait until the last minute to do big projects. The stress and frustration I sometimes (or often) took out on my peers was all created in my brain.

So, I didn’t really like school. I never felt comfortable there or like I belonged. Maybe no one really does, but it certainly seemed like they did. I would watch others coming to school and seem to be having the time of their lives and wonder what I was doing wrong. I was envious of my friends, even, when they seemed to have some secret that I didn’t have.

Friendship was very important to me. I’ve always thought it was part of being an only child. I wanted to have that feeling of being a brother growing up, and I did have that kind of relationship with my cousin, Ben, but we were only able to be around each other on weekends and in the summer until we got into our later high school years.

I looked for this feeling from my friends growing up and it probably placed a lot of pressure on them. I had some great friends, don’t get me wrong, and I appreciate what they added to my life to this day. I remember being so sad, though, when I had to move schools due to Madison changing the school boundaries around 1978 or so. I tried to hang on to my friendships with people from my original school, but it didn’t last.

Fourth – Sixth grades were really tough on me. I was lonely a lot and tended to gravitate to other lonely kids. My friend, Greg, and I were really close, but I remember trying to explain to him how I was feeling when my mom took a job out of state for a while, and he just didn’t seem to get it. I was so frustrated by that situation that I pulled back a bit. It’s strange the things you remember.

He and his mom lived over by Madison Simis school and had a pomegranate tree in the back yard. He taught me how to eat the tiny bits of meat around the seeds. I thought it was way too much work, but we still would pick one when I was over and mess around with it trying to get the good stuff out.

He and I lost track of each other during seventh and eighth grade after I moved on to the friend group I fell in with during those years. I still wasn’t particularly comfortable with who I was, but it did feel nice to belong to a group of friends. I hadn’t had that feeling, really, ever unless it was a little league team.

Sports was one of the areas where I could gain a little social clout because I could always play well enough to not be among the last people picked for a game unless the “captains” turned it into a popularity contest. I suppose, as I think of this, it was often the case that people picked their friends first. I could get a little revenge on someone for not picking me, though, by making a difference in the game.

The body image stuff didn’t help. I was always a bit chunky so I hated being in a situation where we were playing shirts and skins. That became very popular, it seemed, in junior high and I always figured out a way to be on the shirts team. I would claim that I had allergy issues, which I did but not skin allergies, and say I had to wear a shirt. I always wondered if people knew I was lying. I’m sure they did. It was not uncommon for me to make up stories in those days.

Inferiority is a terrible thing.

See you tomorrow.

Simis now. A big change from when I was there.

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