two jennies
September 1, 1984 04:15 PM

I was betrayed by two Jennies.

When I was in lower school [private school parlance for grades one through six], everyone was named Jenny. There was clearly an explosion of Jenny-naming around 1974-1976.

In third grade, I moved from one school to another. You could say I was kicked out of the public school system, but that sounds a bit more crass (and less bizarre) than what happened: I was thought learning disabled, I was tested, then I was discovered to be much too bright for my own good. If my own good meant staying in the school system among children my own age. I changed schools.

I was confused. Lonely. I had just started wearing glasses the year before, and my mother's sense of children's fashion was at its nadir. I was pudgy.

Jenny J. was fabulous. She was one of those unhesitatingly friendly kids whom other kids torture. She rescued me my very first week at school. It was exciting and terrifying, being around girls [This was also the first time I'd been in a class with just girls.] who did long division in third grade. It was terrifying that none of them talked to me.

At all.

Except, of course, for Jenny J. - I think she may even have invited me on some very squarish kids' outing like bowling within a week. We hung out on the tire swing and jumped rope at break. She threw rocking slumber parties with Cyndi Lauper soundtracks. She was my best friend.

And then.

She started playing with me less and making fun of me more.

Claiming some sort of popular-girl-mafia pressure, she dumped me. She was, according to the girl-mafia story, spending too much time with me. I was new and needed to get to know other people. It wasn't her fault, she said, she really liked me. She might have been telling the truth, or not. Third grade girls are shady sometimes.

She moved away not long after. Maybe the girl mafia got her after all.

When Jenny J. dumped me, Jenny W. took over. Jenny W. was a military child, and not wealthy, like me. I could actually have her over to my house (which was in basically the Naval ghetto) to play. We did nerdy things together - read books, paired up on projects and wrapped our lunches in cheesecloth to pretend we were on Little House on the Prairie.

Jenny W. had that ineffable nerdygirl cool. That, and a desperate desire to fit in. Something I think I just wasn't born with.

I was a big hulk of a thing in fourth and fifth grades, teased pretty mercilessly once the girls' and boys' classes merged. Jenny W. was what Dickens might have called a scrapper, perfect cast-of-Oliver material. We contrasted.

She didn't so much dump me as repeatedly knife my fragile girl-child emotions. It started with an intricate web of cancelled dates and unreturned phone calls, and progressed to public snubbing.

Then she became a hard rock slut, or a Jersey girl stereotype. Something like that.

« lemon drops | Main | and the book of rules »
in this section
back to archives
October 2004
August 2004
June 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
June 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
August 1996
August 1995
July 1993
April 1993
August 1992
May 1992
October 1989
July 1987
January 1987
September 1984
July 1982
more info
email me
design by seven ten
about the site wicked thoughts edge of the season arts links we have brains