©Val Douroux 2022

6th Grade

Updated: 4 days ago

At my school, 6th graders were the oldest, and by virtue, the coolest! Ain’t nobody could tell me sh*t! Except my dad who'd swat me. And my mom who picked up his ghetto habit of swatting. And my teachers who'd call my parents. And the lunch ladies who'd tell my teacher, and the principle because she's a boss, but besides that, ain't nobody could tell me sh*t!

I rolled with the cool kids!

That's a young Mark Johnson, Justin Mace, Amanda Condie, and Taryn Katter's butt in Gap jeans. Her mom worked there and she always dressed like a classic American girl.

I dressed like a Cholo.

I wore overalls with knee high socks and a flannel shirt fastening the top button only. I slicked my hair back and would even address my friends: "Ey, Essay! You messin' with my ruca?!" I didn't know who I was supposed to be. I just replicated everything I thought was entertaining.

I was 11, a wannabe cholo, and ain't nobody could tell me sh*t! I was babysitting. making money, and shopping at the mall. As far as I was concerned, I made it! On the weekends, our moms would drop my friends and I off at the mall, and with $22 in my pocket, I was making it rain.

I had a stealthy group of girlfriends, who had a healthy group of boyfriends. We nicknamed them the David Street boys because they all lived off David St. and we played Night Games so hard! Capture the Flag. Kick the Can. Sardines. You name it! We were all 11 or 12 Years Old and the most exciting part of us hanging out was developing that 1st "crush".

I had a crush on John Nielsen. He's the only one that's not blonde except Mark the redhead (in the middle). Tee hee! He was the smartest boy in our class. He would win a game of Jeopardy! He liked to answer questions as much as I did, and when he turned his head, his eyeball looked like a glass marble.

His twin brother Jeremy had a crush on me.

Jeremy's the one sitting in the chair & isn't this a hilarious photo of a young Mark Johnson?! Mark had the best personality. Second to Mark was Justin Mace. Justin had a crush on me, and to be honest, I didn't have a crush on him.

Jeremy was the ugly twin. Just kidding! Jeremy was cute, but he wasn't as cute as John. I had a sickness when I was younger, and when I heard that a guy liked me, I automatically liked him. The only problem with Jeremy is that he liked every one, and like an idiot I dated Jeremy.

“Dated", ha!

We hugged once and that was juicy. Gossip.

Jeremy sent a carrier pigeon by the name of Sarah Patenaude (my best friend at the time) to let it be known that he liked me. The only problem was that Jeremy liked every one. Prior to us being "boyfriend/girlfriend" Jeremy liked a girl named Cali. Then, Jesse.

When Jesse realized Jeremy and I were "dating", she all of a sudden liked Jeremy. Oh, it was drama! We were all friends, and prior to us becoming a thing, she couldn't have cared less. Now, all of a sudden this trifling ho was interested, and Jeremy was interested in her. Sarah Patenaude told me Jeremy was sticking Jesse from Toy Story 2 stickers on the inside of his desk, and I was like, "Oh, hell no! I will not let the ugly twin play me like that!"

I broke up with him the instant a trusted confidant told me. Earlier that day, I had checked out a book from the library about learning the Sanskrit language. Being the complicated little woman that I was, I traced a breakup letter in Sanskrit that read: "Bye bye! It's over." Of course, I was too big of a chicken to do it in person so I had my best friend deliver that sh*t like a carrier pigeon and translate.

As for Jeremy... I drove your stock up. You, pootie! I'm mad, more than anything, I ruined my chances with John...

Or did I?

As for Jesse... She sucked!

I had just learned the word "homewrecker" and immediately applied it to my situation. "This homewrecker b*tch only likes Jeremy because I like him!" ... "This “homewrecker b*tch” is supposed to be my friend!?!" "I don't want a homewrecker for a friend!" I realize this is a terrible vocabulary for a 6th grader, but I was so salty about the entire situation, I let it be known.

Time passed, and in spring, we had the Hoops for Hearts fundraiser. Jessie and I had a mutual friend named Amanda, and Amanda asked if I'd be "ok" having Jesse on our Hoops for Heart team because "she's athletic." "No." I said. "That homewrecker b*tch plays soccer. Not Basketball."

On the day of Hoops for Heart, Jesse walked up to our basketball court carrying a plastic grocery bag full of gatorade. In attempts to make peace, Jesse handed me a bottle of Gatorade. I looked at it for a long, hard minute before saying, "I don't like this flavor... But I appreciate it." We became friends again. She dated Jeremy. They broke up, and in hindsight, it wasn't a big deal.

After school, the girls and I went shopping at the mall. It was the twin's birthday party that night, but I wasn't shopping for them. I was shopping for myself! We went to Media Play and I bought my first CD ever. 2 CDS! Korn "Issues" and "Got Your Money" by Ol' Dirty Bastard. Korn hit my child abused soul while ODB was fun to sing along. I didn't understand the lyrics, but I loved singing the chorus: “Hey! Dirt-ay! Baby I got your money don’t you worry. I said, hey!” I also bought a box of Bazooka Bubble gum convinced I was going to break the Guiness Book of World Records.

At the twins' party, we ate pizza, played games, and got hyper high on Mountain Dew. Jeremy's big news was that McDonald’s changed its slogan from "We Love to See You Smile" to "I'm Lovin It." Instantly, I felt grateful this was not my boyfriend. I was blowing a Bazooka gum bubble the size of my head and too cool for this poo- POP!

The phone rang. The bubble burst.

It was Amanda's mom, and she was livid! We could hear her screaming through the landline. Amanda cried, “good bye”, but we wouldn't let her go home alone. The girls and I walked her back. She was in serious trouble, and we had no idea why?

It turns out, Amanda’s mom had been snooping through our bags, and found my Ol’ Dirty Bastard CD. Being the strict Mormon that she was, Amanda’s mom was mad at her because I bought a CD that said “bastard”. I confessed it was my CD. “Your mom let you buy this?!” She asked. "My mom just bought a TuPac CD from Circuit City last week.” I said. “I don’t believe it!” She said. “It’s true!" I said. "You can call her.” She did, and Amanda didn’t get in trouble.

For the first time in my life, I actually thought my family, and especially my mom was cool. I knew Mormons were strict, but I didn’t know they freaked out like this. It was a strange encounter I hope to never have again. My family’s standards were clearly different than the Mormons, and for once, I was grateful my mom had my back.

6th grade was the most precious time of my life. Still a child. Still innocent. Still on top of the world.

The last week of school was magical. We finished our homework, took all the tests, and partied with a water fight and ice cream social! The very last day ended early with a yearbook signing and “crush” confessions. I remember listening to the Vitamin C song “Graduation” and feeling like that song was made just for us.

As summer break approached, so did a new era. We wouldn't be the queens and kings or our school anymore. We'd be babies in the brave new world of middle school.