Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sixth Grade September 1963

It was always nice to go to school in Wenonah. The first days were warm with that beautiful September warmth and you had the idea that you'd do great this year, really great. Sixth grade marked a change for us. In order to get us used to moving around like robots in our new high school we would move around in Wenonah school. From teacher to teacher, subject to subject, classroom to classroom. In theory this would have us up and running on day one at the new HS. In fact it was sort of stupid. We knew everybody. We'd had all these teachers. My math teacher was Mrs. Fuller from last year for God's sake! I think we had Ed Campbell for History but jeez louise this was no stretch for any of us. I mean, what, walk upstairs to a classroom or down the hall twenty feet to another and all with the exact same people? We would not, repeat not, be ready for Seventh Grade.
But we felt all cool and shit and that meant a lot. For the first time in our little lives we felt like we were in control. It was a lie but it felt like it. After school we'd ride our bikes to my house and sit on the curb and talk about the Beatles. There was some weird rule that you had to pick your favorite Beatle. As if I gave a fuck. So I picked George who really didn't do anything. One thing about the Beatles, and the Beach Boys, and some other bands was they had long hair. Okay, not really long, but long enough.
This got me thinking about growing my hair and wearing cooler clothes. Bad thoughts all. My hair was a disaster. Three cowlicks, no hope. Cool clothes? We shopped at JC Penney's for Christ's sake. I couldn't even get Converse sneaks...I had to get the cheap Penney's knock offs. We did go to a mens wear store in Pitman though to pick out our fall clothes. I actually had some vague say in what I wore. I have no idea what I picked only that in all my pictures I still look like a geek.
And our new classes? We were learning about New Jersey history. Apparently over the summer the state decided we should know something about this pisshole so they taught us about the Lenni Lenape and Governor Morris and we had to know all the counties and stuff. As if in Gloucester County we had the vaguest conception of Jersey City or Hoboken or Newark. There were only two negroes in our school!!!
But we were cool, we were cool. We passed through the hall like little gods, lording it over the 5th and 4th graders. When we got home we'd make fun of Chuckie Holstein and his little friends. We'd break their club house and laugh and laugh. We ruled.

1 comment:

Jim Maddox said...

Over in Woodbury Heights our school was being remodeled, so they took the Sixth Grade and moved us to the classrooms at the St. Margaret's Catholic School.
That was the only thing that changed. We were in our own private world, carrying on with old friends, not knowing what would happen the following year. They didn't prepare us for it at all.