Memories of junior high

I went to Valley Jr. High in West Valley City, Utah.

I believe it’s been there since 1949.

My mom went there and I even had a teacher she had! She went there in the late 50’s. I went there in the early 80’s.

One of my first memories about Jr. High is being told by everyone in sixth grade that they don’t have any recess in Jr. High. I remember going “Oh my God!!! . . . how can I go all day without recess?” I thought it was going to be terrible. That cracks me up today.

I remember they had an orientation for us seventh graders. I went there with my mom and dad. I had a map and we went to find where each of my classes were located. I remember just being bewildered by it all and worried I wouldn’t find my classes or be there on time. But it turned out to be easy and I had no problem.

I can’t remember what grade it was but one time it was the most over populated school in the state, if I recall right. When the bell rang you went out into the halls and it was like wall to wall people. It seems there were something like 1500 people at the school, but I can’t recall. For some reason I’m thinking that was in about 1982.

I can still remember when Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981. I was in my art class which was the next to the last period of the day. I know where this room was at but it’s hard to describe it’s location. It was north of the cafeteria on the south side of the main hall that runs east-west from the main doors. They came in on the intercom and told us he had been shot. For some reason I think they had an excerpt from a news report. I recall everyone was stunned. I went to my next period which was directly across the hall on the north side. The teacher had a tv and we watched news footage the whole class period.

Being a shy kid I hated gym with a passion. I despised having to undress in front of everyone and that. Oddly, the only time I recall enjoying gym was when we played volleyball with the girls once. Otherwise, I was never excited about being there. I was never much of an athletic person either and didn’t enjoy the sports.

I recall going into the gym and the cheerleaders did their ‘pep talk’ I guess it was. You know where they do all these cheers and that. It seems like they did it every year. Well, one time no one was all that ‘peped up’ and excited. Finally, one the cheerleaders says, “You know, it’s not easy for us to come up here and cheer for you guys. The least you could do is act like your interested.” That cracks me up to this day.

Speaking of cheerleaders, I recall being stunned in seventh grade seeing cheerleaders in short skirts in the halls from time to time. Coming from grade school that was quite a change. I didn’t know what to make of it at first. I recall my first reaction was, “is that right? are they supposed to be wearing that out here?”

In art class about eighth or ninth grade (in the early eighties) we were doing calligraphy and I was using a sharp pointed pen, the kind you have to dip in ink. At the end of class we were all standing there to clean our pens out and I was holding mine in my right hand sort of horizonally so the point was pointing to my left. Well, someone bumped my right hand so that the point went straight into the palm of my left hand. It hurt abit but was no big deal. I noticed it left a black dot in my left palm. Some years later, probably in my twenties, I could still see it there and thought, “you would think that would of worn off by now.” I was talking to a friend of mine about it who said that it probably injected the ink below my skin. That’s a tatoo. Of course, I didn’t know anything about tatoo’s. But apparently I got my only tatoo in Jr. High art class as it’s still on my hand after over 25 years!

I recall one year there were kids going around and grabbing kids and putting ‘nair’, I think it’s called, in their hair. This makes it so their hair falls off. They did this while you were walking to school or walking home. I recall that scared me to death. I don’t know if it was true or not, as I was unaware of anyone who had it happen to them.

 recall taking a test, I believe, in ninth grade. I can’t recall what it was called or what it was for. We had to take it in our home room class, I believe, over several days. It was one of those where you have to fill in the dots with a number 2 pencil. Well, I would get bored and just start filling dots in neat patterns across the page. I did this for most of the test. Come to find out I scored very high. Someone told me this was some sort of placement test for High School or something like that.

That room was in the sewing classroom, where my home room was in the mornings. Me and a friend used to get the pins off the floor and when the teacher wasn’t looking we’d shoot them up into the ceiling with a rubber band. Near the end of the year you could see where we were sitting because above our table there were all these pins sticking out of the acoustile tile. The whole ceiling was bare except above our table. Some of the kids mentioned it one day and we just cracked up. That still makes me laugh.

It’s sort of interesting that in the whole time I was there I only went in the cafeteria a few times, as I never ate lunch. The last time I went in there I was with some friends who ate. I recall saying, “so this is what it looks like”. Then I remember some kid pissing and moaning how bad the song ‘Day Tripper’ is by the Beatles.

I recall playing football out to the east of the building. It seems I blocked a kid, who happened to be a bully, who then got his fist and hit me in the stomach. That really hurt and I was amazed how noone seemed to care. That was the only time I ever got hit by anyone.

This bully was a big problem for me. There were several bully’s that were continual pains. Once, when we were undressing in the locker room, he tried to light my clothes on fire. A couple of times I feared I might have to hit him as it seems to be the only alternative some bully’s give you. Luckily, I never did.

I was talking to my mom and found out that the teacher she and I had was Mr. Slack. I remember him being an old guy, like in his seventies. I recall he had this really slow talk. It seems we used to say he sounded like he was ‘half dead’. He was my history teacher, I believe. Once I remember that we had a test and I felt I knew the material good. When I got the test I got a C, or something bad like that. I went, “what?” and he turned the paper over and said, “it would of helped if you did the other side . . . “

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