My Odyssey: Chapter Two


Elementary School eventually ended. I kissed a boy on the last day. His name was Billy and an alarm went off when our lips met. No, literally, one of my classmates pulled the fire alarm and we all went crazy. That summer Billy moved away and that was that (and I didn't kiss another till I was 19). I also got glasses that year, and felt really excited! I was the first girl in my class to wear glasses, I was becoming a little different and I welcomed it :)

While I still in Grade 6, my parents met with my new teacher for Grade 7 and my Dad pulled a hero move :) He spoke with the teachers and said, "Please don't put my daughter in the same class/team as Lisa and Nikki." And that's when I knew things were going to change :) That summer, I anticipated what my new school would be like. I was going to be in band and chose to play the Flute (purely because it was silver and I could carry it in my backpack). My middle school promised to have double the students in my grade because two elementary schools were directed into our middle school and I hoped I would make a friend.

Clearly in Chapter One, I longed to be accepted. Since my parents really valued strong academics and polite & kind young people, I made that a priority (i wanted to be good at something for them/impress). Booksmarts and memory retention never came naturally but I pushed myself hard to get my best grades possible; I liked the satisfaction and approval of a good report card and it made me feel normal (plus, my sister is a natural brain and i wanted to keep up).

Summer passed and I walked to school with my flute in my backpack, the combo lock that I'd practiced opening all summer (I lost sleep worrying about getting locked out of my locker), labeled binders, gum and a super nervous & excited stomach... change was coming :)

My class had a few familiar faces in it, but it was mostly new kids... I worked on my assignments and kept watch for a friend opp. It didn't happen right away, but the class environment was already so much better, the days were getting easier. I realized though that I was really naive and had become accustomed to letting the girls walk all over me. I was still desperate to fit in, and my eager beaverness was 'not cool'. I started protecting myself, avoiding those clicks and faked sick when history started repeating itself with the new girls.

So here's what happened in Grade 7 & 8!

To fill the time where my 'uncoolness' was clear (breaks and lunchtime), I volunteered in the School office, like a mini-job. It was my dream situation!!! I got to use the PA, take calls, write on the message sheets and I was around adults instead of the girls. I dorked out!! :) It passed the time and started me off on my passion for administration and business :)

Middle School also introduced 'Shops' classes. School was no longer only academics; once a week, we were learning creative skills, innovation and design :) I freaking loved it!! This was the best thing school ever did for me and I finally enjoyed it! I took sewing, plastics, photography, woodshop, foods, electronics and screen printing. I usually threw away the project instructions and made my own version or raced through the required assignments so I had lots of freetime. My curiousness always got the best of me... "what if I do it this way" and "what would happen if..." took over and I couldn't resist thinking outside the box and figuring it out myself. Plus, having all those supplies and tools available gave me endless possibilities! I'd discovered my inventor side, I was giddy, obsessed and I felt alive! A few teachers noticed my passion and unique qualities and put me on a team of young inventors and problem solvers. We went to symposiums to compete and were given challenging tasks to solve. I loved being the one to write down the teams ideas/details because it allowed me to stay quiet (i was shy), still be involved and piece the details together like a puzzle!

Funny Story: One day in Plastics Class, I was engraving my initials into the back of my cassette Walk-Man with an electronic dremmel tool. The tip was a spiral shape like a corkscrew and I got curious... "Would this curl my hair?" ...instead of thinking it through, I just tried it. With my classmates around me, I didn't want them to tease me for curling my hair with a dremmel... so I staged it "like an accident". I hung my hair down and let the corkscrew drillbit hit my permed hair. Duh. In one second, I'd instantly attached the dremmel to the top of my head, secured tightly by my tangled hair, a tool hanging off my head-- and I couldn't get it out!! I called my teacher, "Mr. Masi?"... he came over, perplexed and tried untangling my hair, but pretty much had to cut that section off. Lol, I have so many stories like this! Caught my homework on fire "by accident", sprayed my finger with a car powerwasher to see how strong the pressure was (it took my skin off), poked a Bull in the butt for a photo opp (thought it was a cow, till it turned around mad at me), etc, etc ;)

Further on in Grade 7, I started hanging out with a girl named Melissa. She had a pool in her backyard and I loved going to her house (i'm shallow when it comes to pools. pun)... we got along and it was fun hanging out with someone who was so nice :) Sometimes her friend Michele from our class would come along too, and we'd all play with Melissa's dogs and go swimming. The dogs often humped Michele's leg, and Michele thought they were hugging her. Michele was just as innocent and naive as me... we were perfect for each other!

At the end of Grade 7, Melissa had to move away and Michele and Melissa were no long automatic class partners. Michele and I teamed up on a 'no smoking campaign' for school and we had a sleepover. It was my first ever, and we did homework all night long... and we loved it :) That's how perfect Michele and I were for each other and we quickly became best friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) We did everything together, people thought we were sisters, we loved school work, we were in band together (Michele played Baritone) and we didn't really care about boys or regular girl stuff. We were just so happy being friends and I was finally a real kid :) People who knew me could probably tell something had changed in me, the improvement was that drastic :)

I had all I needed. I got to give my friendship to Michele & trusted her completely and she gave me back the same thing :) Michele gave me life!


  1. Aww, Leigh Ann! I'm so happy to hear that you had a much better experience in 7th grade. It's not always a smooth ride growing up, but it really does shape who you become. I've had similar experiences growing up, but never had anyone to lean on. My daughter's in 7th grade now and I try my best to always be there for her through all the clicks and craziness that is middle school. Thanks so much for sharing!:)

  2. "I loved being the one to write down the teams ideas/details because it allowed me to stay quiet (i was shy), still be involved and piece the details together like a puzzle!"

    I love this part. This was totally me in school, even today! Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to read Chpt. 3!

  3. So glad to hear that middle school was better:)

  4. Middle school is where I changed too. I learned to not care about the "cool kids" and even though I still got picked on, I had my own friend and like your Dad, mine went to bat for my several times. I can't wait to hear where you and Michelle are today :)

  5. Ahh! In that last picture, you look like an elf! I lovvvve the long cap thing!

    I'm so, so, so glad that middle school picked up for you (Middle school was hell for me) and that you found sweet Michele.

    Love you, my Sissy. <3

    - Vi

  6. Oh, middle school.

    I had to laugh at the dremel story. My husband is a high school jewelry teacher, and has a visual reminder of why students must be careful with that tool and their hair. One girl had a strand of hair ripped out one year. Tired of students not remembering to get a rubber band to pull long hair back, he stapled the hair in a baggie to the wall with a nicely worded sign reminding them of the safety precautions. Hasn't had an incident since.

  7. Oh I love that chapter 2 had a happy ending. I am excited for chapter 3 now! I can relate to the brainy sister thing. My sister is so smart I always find myself working harder on my assignments and uni stuff so I can keep up with her.

  8. Oh! I loved that middle school was so much better for you. I'm glad you found a friend like that in michele. I have plenty of friends but i'm 24 and still can't find a friend like that. I think the likelyhood of that happening in slimming down too....but so happy for you!

  9. ok seriously I am crying like a baby right now, and thanks for the gross picture of myself :). I remember those days like they were yesterday, not only did you find your best friend I also did. I love you like a sister Leigh-Ann, always and forever xoxox

  10. Wow. We have so much in common. I was exactly the same way in groups. I wish we had cool classes like that when I was in school!

    That's such a cute picture of you two! And I just saw Michele's comment above... I love that you're still friends! xoxo

  11. you guys looked so cute! Especially your elf hat LA!

  12. Look at you 2 young chickie-poos!
    Those days just feel like yesterday Leigh-Ann and I'm so HAPPY that you and Michelle found each other. Even as you get older, have different interests, you'll both go your own ways but you'll always be there for each other.
    Remember how you would have sleep overs and craft ALLLLL day Saturday.
    (I was just crying reading Michelle's comment, so sweet Michelle, Love you
    I laughed so hard at the dremel story even though I've heard it many times. Leigh-Ann is accident prone, sometimes self induced!

    So glad it's a happy story!

    Love Momma

  13. :) i love reading your stories.
    seriously,.. your "shop" story sounds alot like my growing up years :)

    i ate my lunch in the upstairs bathroom by the library with all my "cool" friends. :)

  14. I love how all of us seem to have gone through the awkward stages of middle school. I also played the flute. I quit two years in though when I moved. I always wanted to play the cello though, and one day actually pickedit up but I was too tiny for it. I regret it daily and make it a goal in life to learn how to play one day.

  15. I'm glad that middle school was better! For me, it was so much worse.

  16. yeah for michele! i hope you are still friends! xoxo andie...

  17. I am so glad middle school was better. An amazing friend can make all the difference.

  18. LDR - Your stories make me smile.

    I have always been a "why/what if" kid? Why it was like that? What if I did this?

    I love reading this store about you....

  19. Your first entry made my cry...this one totally made me smile :)

  20. This is such a sweet chapter. I started laughing with the tool, that is so funny (I've totally BURNED my hair off before, don't ask, LOL!)
    It sounds like you and I totally would have been good friends!
    Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take home-ec (which included sewing, cooking, etc. all grouped into one) in highschool! Bummer!
    Sarah M

  21. :) :) :) I love reading your story, LA! thank you so much for sharing, and please post the next chapter soon!

  22. awwwwww! i love your stories. btw, that picture with the bull is priceless. i love that you incorporated that into the post. you are so cute! ps: in middle school, when i first emigrated to the us from the Philippines, i had no friends and nobody wanted to be my friend. i faked being sick and dreaded lunchtime. it was a terribly awful experience adjusting culturally during awkward teen years. yikes.

  23. LoVe, love, LOVE, reading your stories. Ok, the part about checkin the water pressure and taking the skin off had me ROLLING!!
    Wow, I adore your nerdiness. You and your friend had sleepovers and did homework...I kinda wish I was that girl. Such joy in the simplest of things and you kept your innocence for a really long time and I completely think that is the coolest...because clearly I was NOT doing the same...I was in such a hurry to grow old;(

    Your stories are helping me remember some of my middle school memories. Home Ec. was one of my favs. I excelled!!!
    Loves u,
    LA ( that's my initials too;
    You are adorable! Love the stories!!!

  24. Just wanted to chime in and say that I LOVE READING your Odyssy. Thanks for sharing! <3

    xo Julie

  25. Oh my gosh, I remember the mean girls who wore makeup in 2nd grade (WTF? -- what kind of parents did they have?), fear of lunch and breaks in Jr. High, and getting made fun of in sewing class because I got so excited about the projects and finished them way ahead of time. thanks for sharing your story! this is great.


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