Updated: Apr 27
In 6th grade, I thought I was the sh*t and no one could tell me sh*t! Except my dad who’d whip my ass with a belt... And my mom who picked up THAT ghetto habit... And my teachers who'd snitch to my parents... And the lunch ladies who'd tell my teachers... But besides that... No one could tell me nothin’!
I was a cool kid who kicked it with the cool kids! In this photo, it’s a young Mark Johnson, Justin Mace, John Nielsen, Amanda Condie, Zach Thompson, Justin Howell, Sarah Patenaude, and Taryn Katter's cute denim butt in Gap jeans.
All of my friends were Mormon except Sarah. I wasn’t either and my lifestyle was definitely different. My parents yelled at each other in public. Their families seemed more dignified. They went to church every Sunday, and dressed like Old Navy models. My mom and I ritually went shopping every Sunday, I dressed like a Cholo. My religion was entertainment. I wore overalls with knee high socks and a flannel button up shirt. I slicked my hair back in a tight pony tail and addressed my friends like "Ey, Essay!" I didn't know who or what I was trying to be. I just had a really fun time repeating the entertainment I found to be funny.
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 boy neighbors. We nicknamed them the David Street boys because they all lived off David St. On the weekends, we'd play night games so hard! Our favorite games were Capture the Flag, Kick the Can, and Ghost in the Graveyard! The most exciting thing about being friends with boys at the age of 11/12 in 6th grade is that we were all developing our 1st "crush" on each other!
I had a crush on John Nielsen. Tee hee! He's the only non-blonde in the photo (besides Mark the redhead). More simply said: He's the one in the middle! John was so smart, he'd win a game of Jeopardy. He answered just as many questions as I did in class, and when he turned his head, his green eyes looked like glass marbles.
John was a Scholar and my crush...
Through the "grapevine", I heard his twin brother Jeremy had a crush on me.
Jeremy's the one sitting in the chair with red demon eyes.
Jeremy was cute, but he was the ugly twin, and 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.
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.
On Friday's after school, the girls and I'd go shopping at the mall. It was the twin's birthday party, and 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.
I didn't understand the lyrics, I just loved singing: “Hey! Dirt-ay! Baby I got your mo-nay don’t you worry. I said, hey! Baby I got your mo-nay!” I also bought a box of Bazooka Bubble gum convinced I was going to break the Guinness 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.