1990: A Year in the Life
Ree has been detailing years of her life as a writing prompt. I knew I could use a writing prompt even though I have plenty to write. See, my mom is visiting and I wanted to be able to rattle off a post rather than put a ton of thought into it. I asked Ree for a year and she picked the year her son was born…so here goes…1990…
Most of the first half of 1990 (and the second half of eighth grade) sucked. Nearly two years after moving from suburban Chicago to semi-rural Wisconsin, I hadn’t made many friends. Most of the other eighteen kids in my grade level had grown up together from kindergarten and I was the last addition to the close-knit group. This called for me being teased at school and harassed in the locker room and at sleepovers. Incredibly bored by most of my classes, I did rather poorly in eighth grade. The only teachers I liked were the ones whose classes in which the other kids misbehaved and disrespected said teachers. And most importantly, this is when I flirted with an eating disorder.
It started with a nasty stomach bug a few days before Christmas 1989. For weeks (or maybe months) afterwards, my stomach stayed in knots during the school day. Always eating breakfast, the rest of the day meant avoiding eating because my stomach hurt so horribly. After a few weeks of this, my mom took me to a new pediatrician who specialized in adolescent medicine. Though Dr. B ran all sorts of blood and stool (yuck!) tests, she was certain it was psychological. And it was.
Eating was one thing I had control over while at school, as I was incredibly miserable throughout each and every school day. And once I got home, I hoped they would notice that something wasn’t right when I picked at my dinner. And they did. I saw a psychologist for awhile, which wasn’t the first time I’d been in counseling.
I won the school spelling bee for the second year in a row that spring, which definitely didn’t win me any fans. However, my brother came to see me participate along with my mom, which made me smile a mile wide. It was the happiest moment of my two year career at that little school.
We went to Boston over Memorial Day weekend to see one of my cousins get married. It was only the second time I’d seen two of my mom’s nephews, including the one who got married – and I haven’t seen them since (though one is a Facebook friend). I caught the bouquet, which wasn’t as cool as it sounded at the age of fourteen. From a picture, I think I was about as thrilled as my brother was when he caught the garter at the same age at our paternal uncle’s wedding.
Since the second half of 1990 went much more smoothly, there is little that I remember other than following two things.
In the summer, my sister moved to Stevens Point from the Chicago suburbs. I didn’t know then that it would be a significant part of my life once I chose to go to the university there four years later. To this day, my sister still lives there.
That fall, everything changed. High school opened up my world to nearly 400 other classmates. I found people who enjoyed my company and didn’t make my life a living hell. School was interesting again, especially Western Civilization with Mr. F and German with Frau R. I took algebra for the second time and aced the class.
Ree, you picked well since my mom is in Colorado right now, even if some of the memories are painful. I can remember how glad and relieved I was to have her at home waiting for me each and every crappy school day in early 1990. And that is what I remember fondly.