Skip to content

Straight Up, Now Tell Me

Straight Up… Life hasn’t changed too much since the 4th grade for me.  I’m not the coolest hen in the henhouse.

I was on my way to meet some friends in “the city” (I’m using quotes because it’s still weird for me to refer to any city except NY as “the city”).  A station came on the radio playing back to back “Junior High School” music and I was very pleased with myself.  Suddenly, I found myself very comfortable with this music from my past.  I wrapped my arm around Bea (who was cuddled in the seat next to me) pumped up the music and danced in my seat for the hour long ride.  Albert looked at me with those “can I have a different mom” eyes of his that I get all too frequently.  I should have paid attention.

It was back in elementary school when I first realized that perhaps, I wasn’t “in” with the cool girls.  I spent my time ice skating with my sister, perfecting my flute and ballerina skills and pretty much waiting for summer to roll around.  By the time I made some school friends in 4th grade (the ones where you play together outside of school and  know each other’s phone numbers) my mom remarried and moved us to a town an hour and a half away.  My friends and I did not stay in touch.  Since they’re not on Facebook I’ve somehow convinced myself they don’t want me to find them.

5th and 6th grades in a new town weren’t much better except for the fact that I had been playing the flute a year longer then everyone else.  That was awesome.  I was moved to First Flute, which basically meant I rocked and all my practicing had paid off.  For some stupid reason, I assumed my new rockstar flute status would give me some pull in the popularity contest.  It didn’t.  I was harassed by the boys for my flat chest and nicknamed “Sister Rizer”.  Something about being a goody two-shoes and wearing a white headband to hold back by far too long blonde hair.  I think there was also something in there about being a prude.  I’m not sure, I tried to block them out.

When I moved up to Case Junior High, 7th grade felt a little less brutal.  This was despite the fact that a girl with very large hair and very large boobs made out with some dude on my locker for the entire year.  I think her name was Joceyln or something.  She was sweet but, it horrified me.  Anyway, I joined the Field Hockey team (soccer was the “cool-girl” sport) met some girls who (like me) cried over bad grades, practiced the flute a little less and really focused on making friends who did not include my Cabbage Patch Kids or relatives.  By this time my older sister was in High School which meant that once in a while I hung out with High School Boys.  That made me very uncomfortable but, since it was apparently  very cool, I tried to do it as often as possible.

By 8th grade, I got the hint and chopped off my long hair and started actually going to the Junior High dances.  With actual friends.  I was the awkward girl in the room wearing the wrong outfit and counting on the rhythm I learned in band to get me through.  I tried my hardest to fool everyone into thinking I might actually be “cool” but, at heart I knew it was never going to happen.  I will to this day never be able to do the dance steps those cool-girls could do.  Throwing their shoulders and jumping into a circle so effortlessly scared me almost as much as Jocelyn’s make-out sessions.

Back in the car the other day, I was dancing with Al and Bea, singing my heart out, “Biggy Biggy Biggy can’t you see…” , “Straight Up now tell me, do you really want to love me forever?..Uh oh oh…”, “With the lights out, it’s less dangerous, here we are now, entertain us…”   I was remembering the school dances in a different light, fondly rather then with horror.  Maybe I hadn’t been that awkward?  Had I grown out of that or am I still the odd girl in the room with the flat chest who isn’t quite cool enough?  It was then when I glanced out the window (still singing) and noticed a very cool car filled with very cool girls, staring and laughing at the very un-cool me.  The answer to my question was clear. Some things just never change.

As I drove the rest of the way into “the city”  in silence, it occurred to me that maybe everyone feels a bit un-cool every now and then? Even the cool girls?  Probably not, I guess that wouldn’t make them very cool but, it makes me feel better thinking that way. Regardless of my social status, I feel very very lucky to have the overachieving, band playing, field hockey friends that I made those many many years ago.  I’m also very thankful to have my summer friends and sister who were always far cooler then me and accepted me even with my long hair and flat chest.

I think there’s something very cool about being very un-cool.  It’s much cooler.  Some food for thought.


Sporting head to toe plaid, not so cool. My sister on the other hand looking very glam.

This speaks for itself. Something to do with my dad's horses winning. Nothing to do with me except embarrassing myself.

I could still curl my bangs like that in my sleep, I practiced so much. It didn't help me.

8th grade, finally some friends.

Apparently this was my "copying my sister" phase.

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hello! I understand your emotions. Sometimes I feel that I remained the same person as I was at school despite all the things which happened to e since that time. I think it is great that a part of ourselves remains untouched.

    Lora, from free flv to mp4 converter

    May 17, 2012
  2. DickL #

    I loved your post……great stuff. Thanks for writing it…..we are so hard on ourselves when we are young!

    February 14, 2012
  3. Maureen #

    Don’t forget your cousins who ALWAYS thought you were cool and awesome!!

    Love and miss you.

    February 11, 2012
  4. Ann Graham #

    Maggie, I love this post – especially feeling the need to share with my three daughters, who BTW, think I am cool ’cause I have a supermodel for a friend.
    Love You!
    Ann Graham

    February 10, 2012
  5. Maggie, you were always cool in my book! I mean, who could rock a Space Camp jumpsuit or over-the-knee socks with boots in the ’90s? That was light years ahead of the checked blazer and pleated skirt I wore to our first Case Jr. dance. 🙂

    February 9, 2012
  6. Maggie, you were always cool in my book. I mean, who else could rock a Space Camp jumpsuit or over-the-knee socks with boots in the ’90s? That was lightyears ahead of the checked blazer and pleated skirt I wore to our first Case Junior dance. 🙂

    February 9, 2012
  7. Jennifer Ransome #

    Dear, dear Maggie,

    I could say so much…However, thanks for singing the praises of the “not so cool” girls. You would probably be SHOCKED to find out I can relate!!
    Love you as always!!

    February 9, 2012
  8. Rita #

    Maggie… Mrs. Thomas (Olga) always used to talk to me about you. She would go on and on about you!! I miss that woman like crazy, she was the best teacher ever! 🙂

    February 9, 2012
  9. My son Matt Plante went to school with you. His daughter is in 5th grade and is going thru the “I’m not cool” stage. I have told her before that maybe someday she could meet you and see what it is like to be the cool person. Funny how we see ourselves. So to that end…if you are not cool, I do not know what is. Have a great day.

    February 9, 2012
  10. Victoria Gomez #

    Love it=) I to, remember how big Jocelyn’s hair was.

    February 9, 2012


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: