Boarding the yellow school bus, the last stop on the route, was hell.
There were a lot of us waiting to climb aboard. There were never enough seats left. One child made the less-than-brilliant move to mark my li'l brother's neck with ballpoint pen. It was the '80s and I'd bet my favorite Bic pens were the culprit - I preferred blue, but that day black was used.
That bus. That bus stop. Those kids. I couldn't stand it.
I needed another method of transportation to the seventh grade. Definitely.
Feet. They worked. Often.
On the days I needed to go faster, a bicycle worked. Black and white ten speed. Pedals turning. Chain cycling. Wheels rotating. Faster.
Two get-myself-to-school memories are etched into the ol' brain. Perfectly placed bookends.
Fall. And then falling. Autumn coats the air. Pumping the pedals to climb the last hill to campus. Two nameless boys in front as I miss the rhythm, pulling a right leg too early to hop off. Landing hard.
Grumbling internally. Some unknown, surely less than witty remark to hide the embarrassment, tossed their way. Rising up to walk the bike the remaining distance. A big, huge hole at the knee of the only pair of jeans - any pants at all - owned.
I wore skirts the rest of the seventh grade.
By spring, a friend from the same neighborhood, was joining me on the avoid-the-yellow-school-bus trek.
The oh-my-goodness-what-am-I-going-to-tell-my-mom about this or that talk that went on as we walked home caused giggles to erupt. But, it's The Pole memory that is the solid bookend to the get-myself-to-school memories.
Once a week, the school newspaper - a two sided ditto - came out. We took turns reading it to each other, whether we were on bike or foot.
Coming out of the wooded patch, onto the steep hill, we climbed. Once at the top, the street leveled out. Then it was much easier to dive into the school news.
She read to me, completely captured by whatever tale that courier font regaled. Listening intently, I no more saw what was in front of her than she did.
A pole. A light pole? I don't know what exactly it was in the moment. But, she walked right into, school newspaper in hand.
From that day on, it was her pole.
Every school day after, she would give her pole a li'l hug as we passed by it, on our way home.
And on the last day of school, we even stopped to photograph her with it.
I'd share it with you, but then I'm sure she'd have to kill me. And I'm not ready to do dead.
So, that particular seventh grade memory bookend will stay right where it is.
But, I remember both experiences vividly - acid wash jeans destined to become cutoffs after I crashed and burned in front of those boys for me and navy blue shorts, navy blue & white stripped tee for her and her pole.
I. Loved. Seventh. Grade.
You know how I'm sure?
My memory banks are bursting from that particular year. Thank goodness.
Ran with Mama Kat's first prompt: a seventh grade memory. I had oodles to choose from for that particular year. So, to keep indecisiveness at bay, I ran with the bookends!
What do you remember from your seventh grade year?