Middle School Me

On September 28, 2018 by Kim Wetter

I had a very unique middle school experience in the sense that I didn’t know anyone before entering middle school. My family moved to Bothell when I was 8 years old but we lived in a rental house for a couple years before they bought. They finally bought a house while I was in 6th grade, which was still elementary school for our school district. I finished out the 6th grade at the same elementary school but had to start middle school the next year with no friends.

You might look at me now and think, no big deal, right? Kim can handle herself. And I did, eventually.

But honestly, I went through a really rough 7th grade year before I had any friends. I was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White which is a heart syndrome. It meant I needed heart surgery. The first surgery was scheduled for December of my 7th grade year. I had no friends at my new school to wish me luck on that surgery. My elementary school friends had fallen off pretty quickly. This was pre-cell phones so not living near enough to one another to walk to the other’s house was pretty much the end of any sort of friendship. Anyways, my 7th grade gym teacher bought me a card and made everyone in the class sign it. I didn’t know most of those kids and wasn’t friends with any of them. I spent my whole first half of the school year sulking about my surgery.

It also didn’t get better right away after the surgery because, wait for it, the doctors came back and told my parents and me that the surgery didn’t cure my WPW and they had to schedule another one. The second was scheduled for February and luckily, my second heart surgery went off without a hitch!

It was around then that I shook off my shell of sadness and did what I always do and made some friends!

Lisa Left Eye Lopez Dancing

Accurate depiction of my swagger (RIP Left Eye)

I was in the “smart” classes at our school, so naturally, I would have a lot of classes with the same people. It was in social studies class where I picked my mark. There were two girls named Jessie and Ashley who were just the smartest, loudest, funniest girls in our class. They were the queens of the nerds, if you will. I looked at them and thought, I want to be their friends. I know this sounds reductive but it was as simple as that. I wanted them to be my friends so I made it happen. And, throwback, this is where I attributed my sense of humor when I was interviewed by What Not to Wear.

And they had friends! And they were all really weird!

It was a mix of boys and girls that formed into one of those friend groups who calls themselves “the group.” We were tight knit, incestuous, innocent, smart, and immature.

A picture of a group of teens before 9th grade cruise

9th Grade Cruise Photo

So immature, in fact, that we would play silly games with one another. They were almost always a game of keep away between the boys and girls. During lunch time, we would throw a bouncy ball against the wall of a breezeway and fight over who retrieved it. I honestly like to think about how this looked to the other kids eating lunch in the cafeteria. The breezeway was a concrete wall on one side and the windows of the cafeteria on the other. We would bounce the ball against the concrete and then go chase after it in the breezeway. Therefore, our game on display for every single kid in our grade to see, all through 9th grade. High school started in 10th grade for us. I’m not sure playing with a bouncy ball is something freshmen in high school typically do, but it was our thing.

Men throwing a football against a wall

Like this but way less cool and with a tiny bouncy ball

We once got obsessed with a beanie baby we named Squanto. The boys finally stole it and decided to make a video of them murdering it. It was heartbreaking to watch. Luckily a couple of months later, the group got obsessed with a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy we had named Yurtle. The girls decided that we would make our own video in response. Just a warning: you can watch it but it’s not particularly good.

So there you have it. I started with no friends and then found a lot of them and we were a strange bunch. That’s where I get it from. You’re welcome!

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