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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Friday, December 28, 2012

I'm Old, But I Remember

I just turned fifty-nine.
No way!
I can't be that old. Next year, the big 6..0..!
Uff da.

The other day I was sitting in church choir next to an adorable thirteen-year old.
She started telling me about her school and the classes she was taking. I could tell by the way she tried to explain things that she thought I couldn't remember what school is like.
Finally I told her that I clearly remember seventh grade.
The year was 1967. Jim Morrison yelled "Come on baby, light my fire," on the radio.
I read some wonderful books that year: The Great Escape, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Gone With The Wind.
I remember the kids in my classes, I remember my teachers.
I remember that I had secretly begun to shave my legs and wear just a smidge of makeup.
There was a boy I had a crush on but he was way older  and I knew he'd never look twice at me.
I played the violin in the school orchestra, studied piano at home and had started to develop my singing voice.

 I remember that I could run the 440 in 55 seconds and do fifty men's push-ups.
I hadn't yet reached my glorious height of five foot one inch but that didn't keep me from sprinting faster than any girl in my class...except for Jeanie Walton whose speed ran in the family. Her brother later went to State in track and field.

Mrs. Yamaguchi taught us English and tried to stay just one lesson ahead of us in Spanish.
My history teacher had heart trouble and so we got a long-term substitute by the name of Yerger.
Loved him. He was tall and black and super smart and had the best sense of humor. I wanted to have a crush on him, too, but being that he was so old (at least thirty) I wouldn't let myself fall for him. We studied European History and learned all about Charlemagne, the Great Plague, and the English and Spanish explorers. I wrote one of my best term papers about St. Patrick.

Then I caught whooping cough and had to stay home for several weeks.
I tend to bisect my memories of my childhood by that great illness:before the whooping cough and after the whooping cough.
After I recovered, it still took me a couple of years to stop feeling the urge to vomit every time I coughed.
It also took a long time before I could run the 440 without collapsing at the 400 mark in a fit of coughing.

I remember my locker was stubborn and sometimes I got to class late because that darn thing "just wouldn't open." I was mortified when Mr. XXX, the vice-principal had to come and help me open my locker. He was big and strong, and forced the locker open with his enormous, meaty hands. Then he proceeded to tell me—me, all five foot, eighty five pounds— to just give the locker a little extra muscle and it'll open, no sweat.
Then there was the little twirp who used to sneak up behind me when I was struggling with that same locker to smack me on the fanny. I never did find out who he was. He did it a lot. My twin brother Royce knew, but he wouldn't tell. Said the guy had a crush on me.

So darling thirteen-year old in the church choir, don't for one minute think that just because I'm fifty- nine I can't remember things that happened forty-six years ago.
I remember it like it was yesterday.

Now, if only I could remember what I fixed for lunch today.

What do you remember from seventh grade?


  1. Dena, how delightful and wow, what a memory. (Last visit comments didn't take...) I remember a horror: Science teacher called me out for wearing dark nail polish. :) Those were the days. A joy filled New Year to you both! <3

  2. Yes, those were the days when a teacher actually had some kind of authority.But sorry you had to experience that horror!