This is my healing journal.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Other MSb Friends

I often wonder how it is my family was able to cope with the friends I had made at MSB. But, cope with them they did.

Mom often felt that it was necessary for me to have parties to which I could invite my friends from MSB, and invite I did. There was just one problem. Unlike my brothers and sisters, I could only invite "the Girls". Something about Mom feeling she would have to turn it into a school outing, which would have meant staff would have to have been invited if we invited any of the guys? That meant most of the guys that I was close to, which was a few, never got to see my house, nor interaqct with my family. I often wonder how talks betwen my brother Nels, and Larry would have gone.

Ihad had Joy, Lori and Betsy over to my house often to spend the night, and Joy, Lori and I had celebrated my ninth and tenth birthdays together. My fifth grade year, my eleventh birthday was special, because Mom had said Betsy could come as well. I remember the four of us devouring plates full of "Joy's" favorite food. (Yes, Tom. Any time we had Joy come to spend the night, we were relagated to two, count them two different dinner choices! Those were hamburgers and chicken, and we had to have chocolate cake on those nights for dessert. Don't ask...)

In normal circumstances, the four of us probably would not have chosen to hang out together. But, we were all we had really for a number of years. Betsy was a year ahead of Joy, Lori and I. Because she had such a sweet spirit, we could not turn her away. For that matter, I never would have. Through all the years of my adulthood, we've known how to stay in touch, and the conversations we have now are just as meaningful. I think she mainly hung with us, because in her class, at least when the classes were separated into Blind and partially sighted kids, she really was about the only girl in her class. But, that was okay with us.

Joy was the first person I met when I came to the school. She was a good kid, almost too good, always the teacher's favorite, always the one who was more book smart. Always the Christian, who felt she had to Lord it over all of us. I remember one time Lori saying, "I love Joy in my way. But, in God's way?"

Lori was always the loud one. And, I do mean loud! I honestly think she could yell and everyone could hear her at least a quarter of a mile away. She was the one who cursed worse than any of the guys. She always wanted to be noticed, and noticed she was, though she would often say I was the one who was noticed. Though the three of us always sang together for school functions, and I played guitar often, Lori was the one who could play anything on the piano, and yet? She would always say I was the one who played circles around her.

I was the tomboy and the athlete. Having long legs and looking somewhat like a beanpole when I was in elementary school, Miss Brunger then began grooming me for track. Betsy was taller than me. But, like I said, she was a grade ahead of me. I was often picked on for being the tallest in our class, right up until fifth grade when Wally joined our class.

I was also the one who played fair, and more often than not, got in trouble for it. I don't know how many times when Joy, her friend Bethann and I had to play against the guys in our class, Tom and Kevin had to defend me, because I dared to point out that my teammates were being unfair. I remember Kevin being extremely vocal one day, when he had had enough of Joy and realized I had. I think what had Joy upset that day was the fact Tom and Gary were answering all the questions she couldn't answer. There was always this competition between the three of them as to who the best student was , though for Tom, it came easiest and he never really participated. I think it was Tom who had gotten a question right when Joy screamed that it wasn't fair, and I pointed out to her that it not only was fair, he deserved the point. Joy started saying something about how unfair I was being, and Kevin just looked at her and said that she was damned lucky I was on her team.

I remember that day, Mrs. Cordon pulled me aside and told me I was going to win no popularity contests with the guys for always siding with them. I didn't point out to her that most of the guys knew I really could care less about that.

I mentioned Bethann, who though always considering me her "Friend" I never could stand. Funny thing was, neither could Lori or Betsy. I remember my sixth grade party, Joy had insisted that Bethann should be invited as well, and Mom capitulated to her old "Do what the company wants" theme and agreed. That was hard on that particular time for Mom, because she had done a lot for Lori and Joy both. She had made sure they both had things they needed, because Lori's family was so far away from her, and Joy's family were not exactly doing well enough financially. Many were the times she would send me to school with bags of my old clothes for Joy to take home and use when I outgrew them. And then there was the time we had given Joy a bunch of my old recordds, (or should I say the family's old records) because she had no stories or songs to listen to at home. Many had been the times Mom would let Joy stay with us, because her family would not be willing to pick her up late at night when we did singing events. Joy has since thanked me for those times. But, the one she really should have thanked for always giving into her was my Mom. I should add that thank you came after Mom's passing.

Getting back to the story, Lori, Betsy and I basically made it clear, Joy wanted Bethann there? Then, they had to sleep in a separte room from us. The three of us were actually too tired to talk and were just getting ready to drift off to sleep, when Joy came whining to us, begging us to let her stay with us, because Bethann was keeping her awake, and we all said no, including Mom!

It got to a point where, if you saw one of us, you usually saw the four of us, though after I moved into the dorm, you mainly saw Betsy and I together more often than not. Though we could always laugh at Lori's jokes and talk with Joy about God, we often found we could not talk to them about other things.

I remember when Joy, Lori and I tried out for cheerleading. Betsy didn't for some reason that year, though her classmate Marcie did. I tried out, because Joy and Lori had me convinced that it would be fun for us to do it together. But, after three months of it, I had to try my best not to quit. A squad of three cheerleaders would not look right. However, I got tired of the demeaning way the coaches treated me. Again, I was the tallest, and while long legs are great for track, they're not always the best thing for cheerleading, especially when everyone else on the squad was shorter than me. Some of the guys had to have known, in fact, I remember one person actually telling me not to take it to heart. But, I just could not deal with it anymore, once spring rolled around.

My tenth grade year, we began to drift apart. Part of it was the fact, I was in public school virtually full time and was taking a couple of classes at MSB, just so they could keep me on the track team. I remember an incident happening at the last track meet, where I felt like a lone wolf, because no one took my side. I had come to the defense of one of the girls on the team, when Gary had gone after her, with help. He had managed to get Carol into one of the hotel bathrooms at the Holiday Inn we were staying at for the regional track meet and had Larry hold his foot against the door to keep her in. I remember coming to the door and yelling as loud as I could, when I heard her screaming for him to leave her alone.

Though the incident was never taken to administration, amongst ourselves, Carol had everyone convinced I had been in on the deed. When Lori tried to defend me, she relented and agreed when Carol said she knew what she knew.

I remember watching a lot from the outside after that. Betsy still always talked with me, because we were both going through different degrees of transition. However, after that night, Lori and Joy didn't talk to me as much. Joy still did stuff with me, and actually was my roommate for one term. Things between Lori and I were somewhat strained though.

As adults, Joy, Betsy and I still talk. But, Lori moved on. From what I last heard, she's still doing absolutely nothing with her life. Whatever happened to her dreams of being the next famous singer? Betsy became what she always wanted to be, a wife and mother. Joy is currently working as an events coordinator at Great Lakes Bible College, and I'm still doing music, practicing massage and enjoying life. So strange, how at a place where friends were like family, once we left or changed in ways others didn't want us to change, we lost touch. Yet, in getting back in touch, we were able to see the beauty of the sisterhood we had had.


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