Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Post 2041 - 1977 In Review

Let's see if I can bring down the tone from the 1976 post.  :-)

I turned 13 in 1977. 

I was still in Grade 7 at the beginning of that year.  People began to notice a change in me.  I was quieter.  I avoided eye with everybody.  I went out of my way not to bring attention to myself for fear of incurring the wrath of some student, or being yelled at by my gym teacher, even though he would yell at me no matter what I did or didn't do.  He was a lovely man, that gym teacher.

In March of that year, a cousin stayed with us for a weekend.  She was as popular as I was unpopular.  Which is to say that she would go to school dances and neck with anybody who had a wee-wee.  She was friends with a girl from my homeroom who lived just up the road from us.   She did the same thing.   But it was understood that we didn't go out much, and I did very, very little to break out of that mould.  I became an inveterate homebody.  I still enjoy being at home more than I do going out.

I read a lot.  My subscription to Ellery Queens' Mystery Magazine ran out, and I would buy an issue as I could afford it.  I would borrow books from the library and read them as quickly as possible.  I would come home from school and go to my bedroom until supper time.  I might watch some television after supper, but typically would just be in my bedroom.  It was a safe place for me.

I listened to the radio a lot.  A lot.  I had got a tape recorder for Christmas and armed with it, my radio, and some inexpensive cassette tapes, I recorded a lot of stuff off the radio.  I found that cache of tapes last year and plan to digitize some of those contents just to see what the hell I recorded on them 35 years ago. 

I finished Grade 7 in June.  I was up on stage with the other kids who had attained a certain academic standing. I was just happy that I was facing two months and change away from those people.  Phew!

When I turned 13, I went through a growth spurt.  I developed acne, and a lot of it.  As I returned to school in the fall, this became yet another thing for people to tease and torment me over.  My gym teacher would always put me on the "skins" team of a shirts and skins competition, giving everyone a look at me.  How I hated that man.  I don't know if he hated me more than I did him.  It was probably close.

In August of 1977, I won my first prize off the radio.  It was the then-current KISS album, "Love Gun".  I remember that I had to answer a trivia question.  The next day, a friend and I drove our bicycles to the radio station to pick up my winnings.  Other people afterward kept calling me up wanting me to sell the record to them, or even to give it to them.  Yeah.  Right.

Earlier that summer, I had purchased my very first record album, called "The Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl".  I would later sell the record for little money; it is now worth a small fortune as it has never been released on cd.  It is very much a "lost" Beatles album.  Last year, when I interviewed Dan Barton, I let slip that I had once had the record.  His face lit up. 

What else happened?  I went into Grade 8.  Having finished Grade 7 with pretty good marks, I was put in 8A the next year.  This was back in the day when the A class contained allegedly smarter kids.  Maybe that's what the "A" stands for.  However, by the time I reached that grade, I was damaged goods.  I had zero self-confidence, zero self esteem, zero motivation to do the work required of a person in that advanced grade.  I lobbied to move to a lower grade class.  Reluctantly, my principal moved to the D class. 

I didn't tell my parents about it for a month or so.  They were very angry with me.  I mumbled something about the A class being too hard for me, but not a word about the daily bullying that I was enduring.  If I had, I know that Dad would have gone ape shit and got himself in to trouble defending me, and my mother would have been on the phone screaming at the principal to do something.  Then, as now, principals and teachers are largely ineffectual in combatting bullying.  Any effort to reduce the amount of bullying I was putting up with, would only have resulted in more of it. 

My marks continued a downward spiral throughout 1977.  My days of being on stage with other bright kids were behind me. 

The year came to a close.  I hated my life.  I hated living.  I dreaded going to school every morning.  There was little positivity in my life. 

Did I have the courage to go through with what was going through my mind?

Let's find out, tomorrow.


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