Junior high boys
are the most peculiar barbaric animals observed in the human world. And I am speaking boys of my own generation. Not middle school boys of the recent generations. And speaking of middle school I’m not really sure why we went from junior high designation to middle school classification. We societal wonks are always trying to revarnish a concept or institution. When in doubt or just tired of the same old words, change its name or label.
But anyway, we are talking about 1950s junior high males. Preteen and teen boys. Boys in the change of life. Boys with pimples and hair growing in secret places. Boys who do not like to touch each other or show any kind of sympathy resulting from insult or injury. Doing whatever it takes to slam or put down each other. It seems like a constant rebuke or rebuff coming from so-called friends about our own status or integrity. “Your face reminds me of a chimpanzee with zits. Or, you have body odor like a pig wallowing in cow poop.”
Plus, you do not want to be seen in public with your parents by your teen guy friends. And especially not to be seen in public playing with your younger siblings. And most of all not be seen with a younger little sister. Just isn’t cool. Looks bad and gives you a “kissypooh” girlyboy image. The type of image your teen friends would disparage and avoid at all costs. “Charly is a weeneyboy babysitter.”
So, one day I was walking home from junior high all alone and thinking about what might be in our home refrigerator. I came to a corner and if I go either straight on or turn the corner, I end up at my house in the same amount of time. So, I chose to turn the corner and go up to Madison and go east all the way to Sixth street and go north. It’s basically a mindless slog. Walked it hundreds of times.
Then I suddenly came up on something I would prefer to have avoided. A little girl looking about nine years old and crying. Tears were flowing down her sorrowful face. She cried out to me that she was lost and couldn’t find her way home. So here I was standing near a little grade school girl crying and she rubbing her eyes with the backs of her hands and appearing to be lost forever. Or so it seemed. And I’m standing there hoping none of my junior high friends would be nearby observing this drama. Possibly would be guffawing and speaking in besmirching nattering grumbles. “Look guys it’s Charley and his new little girlfriend.” However, and fortunately none of my so-called friends were close by.
The little girl mentioned this was the first day at her school and had just moved from another faraway place. And I was thinking how could I get out of this situation. Then I had the presents of mind to ask her if she knew her home address. And to my surprise she did. I knew actually where she lived. Then I told her I might know how to get there and follow me. I mean follow me at a fair distance. I tried my best to be a few steps ahead of her so if some of my bone head friends saw me, they wouldn’t shout out any disparaging remarks. So, the two of us trudged on in hopes of quickly finding the little girl’s home. She was, where I found her, about a mile or so from the address she gave me. Then after crossing a few busy streets, we came to the main Boulevard that intersect her street. I walked to her corner and pointed and said, “you live just a short distance that way. She yelped, “I see it” and took off running. Then I felt relieved and walked the rest of way home by myself while looking about to see if I could see any of my goofy friends. Whew! I was finally home free.