Middle school was AWESOME!  I remember the very first day of 6th grade.  How could I not, my teacher had my brother the year before me and he was a "terror" to her.  Her name was Ms. Cole and she was all too familiar with his name from sending him to detention so many times.  I am positive today that if she is still alive that she would remember his name.  You see, my brother, John did not care for his teacher.  So much that he came to her class first thing in the morning and told her that he had a gift for her...a pineapple paper weight.  Next thing you know, he is reaching for something in his backpack and pulls out a grenade that looks exactly like a pineapple paperweight.  He then pulled the pin, released the handle and waited for the handle to hit the floor.  Everyone in the room was praying for a miracle.  As time passed and people slowly started realizing that it was a dummy grenade, you could hear the sighs of relief.  Not for Ms. Cole.  She grabbed him by the arm and once again hauled him to the principals office.Grenade

So back to the first day of middle school.  I remember the teacher calling out everyone's names going down the roster.  It was only when she got to my name that she stuttered and I could hear her voice tremble.  She asked me straight out if I was related to John. I said yes, he was my brother.  I could see she was very pale and ashen in color.

There was so much to do that I kept busy from about 6 AM until about 8 PM with extra-curricular activities.  I joined the acting club, academic team, debate team, the morning news station, chess club, Spanish club, photography, joined band to learn to play the flute and French horn, the science club and almost everything that I could. I even joined the Girl Scouts thinking it would be a lot more exciting than it actually was.  Being the thrill seeker that I was I even hopped a train to and from school.

You would think that with all this distraction that I would forget about my trouble at home.  No, these were the years that I would acknowledge to myself that we had big problems. 

My dad was drinking and doing drugs with friends that he worked with at his job.  At least that would keep him away from us, but there was one other problem.  My dad was a "mean" drunk. When he came home the fighting would start.  The difference now was that my brother and I would interrupt my parents and try to get my father to quit yelling, throwing things and hitting.  We had now become a threat to him and his jealousy.

The more intense fighting got at home...the more I stayed away.  Especially when mom could not be there because she was working all the time. I was lucky enough to have my uncle live right next door to us.  This was my moms oldest brother and he was a lifesaver.  I would go over there to get away from the chaos.  I still remember watching "Hee Haw" after school and drinking a soda with him as well as his elaborate stories that he would tell.  My uncle Don was not afraid of my dad nor intimidated by his personality. 

I also was fortunate enough to have my grandparents live right down the hill on the same block as us.  This also was a "safe place".

As 6th grade went on, I found that I could bury myself in books and activities and not have to focus on my problems.  Every now and then my principal would drive me home after functions because it got too late to walk.  I wouldn't dare tell him that I caught the train and it only took about 5 minutes to get home by train.  I also would have him drop me off at my grandparent's house, duck around back, and after he drove away I would walk to my house.

This cat and mouse game lasted all through middle school.  I absorbed everything I could about school and almost quit fighting among my classmates.  Almost that is.  I still had the "fear of god" in most people.  If not from my reputation, then it was from knowing I was related to the paper weight guy. By the end of school I had made a core group of friends and we almost always were together. 

One of my best friends growing up was named Marc.  I had his dad as a history teacher in 8th grade.  I am a math and science person.  Meaning that my skills, knowledge and desire to learn was mostly from these 2 subjects.  History, English and social studies were not of real importance to me.  That was until I met Marc.  You could say we hit it off right away.  Although to this day I am not sure why.  He was very nerdy.  Although, I liked thinking intellectually, I had a rough and tough side to me and mostly hung out with a core group of friends that were similar to my personality.  Marc was different.  You could say he was probably my first crush in middle school. We were in several activities together after school and I got to know his family really well.  His dad was a great teacher and caused me to have a greater appreciation for history.

By the time that middle school was over, I had become a perfectionist towards school by being a straight A student.  Any other grade was unacceptable.  I had high standards for my self and when I did well I was "good" and when I failed at something I was "bad".

Here is the beginning of my journey.