3 Things You May Have Forgotten About Middle School

Here are some middle school memories you may not have thought about in a while. Do you remember….

1) Being asked out by the friends of a kid in your class?

During lunch last week, a 7th grade boy approached me on the blacktop.

Boy: Ben wants to know if you’ll go out with him.

Me: Does Ben know that I’m 16 years older than he is?

Boy: Yeah. So will you go out with him?

Me: Well, since I don’t know him, I guess I can’t go out with him.

2) Passing notes in class?

My friends and I passed notes constantly without getting caught. The dangerous strategy of note-passing was one of my favorite things to do at school. My friend Danae and I even fashioned a note-passing marker by removing the internal ink cartridge. We’d roll up a note inside, replace the bottom piece, and say casually, “Hey, can I borrow your pen?” I specifically remember doing this while watching the Sex Ed video The Miracle of Life, which we all thought was lame — particularly the graphically gloppy birth scene.

Within my friend circle, we started a trend of drawing Scotch tape on our folded-up notes and labeling the tape with a subject, like “Mr. Reese is nice today tape” “Thanks a lot! tape” or “I’m sorry tape.” The notes contained silly exchanges about boys (“Come spend the night, and we’ll call B.L. to see if he likes you!”) and boredom in class, as well as dramas. As many of us did, I went through the painful experience of losing a close friend to a more popular group of girls, and we’d documented some of those fights in note form.

3) Writing letters to a distant pen pal?

In 6th grade, our class was matched with a class from Montgomery, N.Y. My pen pal, Melissa, and I wrote letters to each other that exceeded 20 pages, back and front. They would bust out of normal-sized envelopes and need lots of extra postage. We began writing in the fall of 1991, when she was just getting braces, and stopped in the spring of 1997, after she could drive and was thinking about college. I hadn’t realized that we’d written for five and a half of our most formative years. I looked Melissa up on Facebook yesterday, but her name’s so common that I couldn’t find her. I may send a letter to her old address, and who knows? Maybe I’ll get my old pen pal back.

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