Which was horrible.
Bad hair, owl glasses, Chinese slippers. Tough girls who smoked and swore and had hickeys and who scared the crap outta me.
Algebra. Absolutely did not get algebra.
And there was some guy who had the locker above mine, and he'd always reach down and grab at my non-existent boobs. This was so traumatizing that I cannot remember his face or name.
Kids at this age are the worst kids EVER. My science teacher's husband committed suicide by jumping in front of a train, and on her first day back at work one of us said, "How do you feel about trains now?"
Girls would get in fights, and the object would be to inflict embarrassment by ripping each other's shirts off. And did any of us try to stop these fights? No, we'd stand there in a circle, screaming, screaming.
I was called "schoolgirl" and "virgie."
I do not recall a school library; I do not recall a school principal, school office, or any place or person of comfort other than my childhood friend, Paul, who walked to school with me every day.
I was pulled out of a class once a week—I can't remember which—to attend something called "High Potential." Every week at the appointed time, I would raise my hand. "Yes?" the teacher (male) would say.
"I have to go now."
"Oh? Where do you have to go?"
"To my HP class."
"What does 'HP' stand for?" he'd say, even though I did this every week, and even though he already knew.
"Um, high potential."
"You think you have higher potential than the other kids in this class?"
"No," I'd say, my face turning red. "I don't know."
"Well, someone apparently thinks that you do." And I would just stare at him, stupid in my owl glasses and bad short hair and red face. "Well, what are you waiting for? GO!"
And that, my friends, is some of what I can recall of junior high school. The idea of my own children having to be dropped into such scenarios makes my head hurt. But I have to say that the school I visited did not at all appear to be the same sort of lawless jungle that mine was. But we'll see, right?