From Ahawhnee we moved back to our great-aunt’s for the last time. It was just me and my sister.
What I remember most we had some friends. Where they came from and where they went I am unsure. But they would come to the property and play a game of hide and seek. We played it at night. It started off simple enough. But soon we learned how easy it was to hide in simple shadows. And to move in shadows.
Eventually we didn’t really hide so much as move around and try to avoid being caught. And we played it on much of the 13 acres. I have a clear memory of going down near the river. And my sister once encountered a pack of coyotes, which ran away.
But I still spent a good deal of time alone. This is when I took the long trip up the river and found the canyon. Maybe it wasn’t a canyon, but to us it was grand. On either side of the river was some high rocks. The river was narrow. And in some parts much deeper than near where we lived.
It was a period of transition. When I started school in Coarsegold I was popular. I hadn’t been back at the school since before my brother was born, in the second grade. Most of the students were new to me. Except the girl who broke my arm was still at the school.
Maybe I wasn’t popular. What does the word even mean? But I was the center of attention. At the time there was no difference in my mind. But looking back as an older and wiser person, there is a difference.
The other kids at school started talking me into doing embarrassing things for attention. Things I would rather no discuss in detail. But, I had no self-esteem. And I would do anything for the vague idea of acceptance or approval. Or just for attention good or bad. I wasn’t a very strong person. And I didn’t have much of a sense of myself, or my own self worth.
It was also the transition of puberty. Which created some touchy changes in my life.
Another memory from this time was of myself talking back to my great-aunt. She had told me something, I don’t even remember what she had said. But I wanted to feel like I had some power, and it was easy to be mean to her because I knew she wouldn’t respond.
At the time a TV show was popular. The show was Bosom Buddies. The theme song was defiant, and I wanted to be defiant so I told her:
“I don’t care what you say anymore, this is my life”
This is when I discovered Madonna and became a fan. I would sometimes find a Walkman and listen to the radio. It was pop music. Music which my great-aunt felt was evil. She told a story of the devil going to church. Someone asked the devil, why are you here where we worship God. His reply was they were worshiping him with their music.
And I walked away. She never mentioned it, and she probably understood me more than I did myself at the time. But, it was immature to say the least.
But it is a hard time isn’t it, becoming a non-child. But you still have years before you become an adult. You aren’t even a teenager.
It is during this time I think I first really started to feel alone the most. Not just alone in the singular sense of the word. But alone in the sense of not being understood. Alone in the feeling of people not being aware of me. My struggles, my general being.
This was the last school I attended, aside from going to high school. So my school memories of the time probably over lap with the next chapter. The last move we made was the next house.
There was a girl named Pepper. Yeah, who names their kid Pepper. But I thought she was hot. I wanted to get to know Pepper better, and I wrote her a note and I put pepper in the note. She never responded. Once I picked her some wild flowers. Other kids laughed, and one later pulled some weeds out of the ground and gave them to her. These things feel bad at the time. I don’t know how she felt about me. But we never even became friends. There were no friends in school.
This was also the time period when I was not chosen for a team sport. In PE the two popular kids would be the team captains. They would then choose players one at a time until everyone was on a team. But this time the count was odd. Neither team wanted me. Then they both said I should be on the other team. So I left. These things feel really bad a the time.
Of course it is just school. And the paid goes away over time. We grow up and we learn to value ourselves. We learn to understand the kids are wrong.
There was a girl who gave me a flower one day. I don’t recall her name. It stayed in a vase by my bed for a long time. Then someone else threw it away one day.
This was a short transition. We moved to Hilda’s at the start of summer and moved to our own house during my sixth grade year. The exciting factor was it was a house we owned. Well Mother was making payments to the bank.