Writing has always been my way to create. And my way to escape. I liked to write back in elementary school—making up poems and stories. In ninth grade English class we had to keep journals and I got an “A” simply by filling up my notebook cover to cover. I had lots to write about. And lots more reason to escape back then.
We had just moved to Coon Rapids, Minnesota from small town LaCrescent, Minnesota (across the river from LaCrosse, Wisconsin). My class size changed from one hundred to one thousand, over the summer we moved, and that was all I needed to feel intimidated.
In LaCrescent, being a “new kid” was cool. The new kids at the beginning of the school year received lots of attention–almost a competition to see whose friend they would become because new friends weren’t so easy to find in a small town.
It was completely the opposite in Coon Rapids. No one seemed to notice “new kids” in the sea of faces that changed frequently at a big-city suburb school. New kids were the trend not the exception. If they were spotted at all, it wasn’t an attraction; it was more a source of entertainment to taunt the new person for not knowing the style or fads of the new school.
In late May, I remember hearing about this popular boy, Shawn Silvera, and how he was having an “End of the Year” party to celebrate the transition between middle school and high school. My best friend and I were interested in going, until one day one of the “popular girls” (I will never forget her name, face or hair, but there is no gain to print it here—nor describe the 1980’s hair-do) walked up to me and said in her very “popular girl” voice (and big hair), “Only those with an invitation can go.”
I don’t remember what happened after that, but I assume I probably spent more time writing in my journal that night.
The funny thing was, the “invitation-only” invitations were simply flyers run off on an old copier on light blue paper–distributed to the masses with the heading across the top of each one that said, “Everyone’s invited!”
I never went to his party, but I heard about the hundreds of hot-dogs and soda-pops served. When I ended marrying this boy named Shawn Silvera, many years later, I enjoyed teasing him about his “exclusive” party. His defense was “You should have come! Everyone was invited!”
I actually didn’t mind. I liked the idea of marrying one of the most “popular boys” in a class out of a thousand. Not bad for the new girl. Definitely something to write about.