HOME ROOM! Those two dreaded words. If only, if only, if only I didn’t have to go to Home Room, the whole world would be right again. The sun would come up and shine like a bright beautiful golden ball, the leaves on the trees would turn green, and the flowers would bloom. If only I didn’t have to go to Home Room.
HOME ROOM! Seventh grade students would gather in homeroom first before going to our other classes. The teacher would take roll, ask if we had any significant problems, and make school announcements – like voting for class president, vacation schedules, and up coming dances.
The first few days in Home Room, I sat across from Eldridge Ivy and his friend. They reminded me of Henry Colby and Charlie Stallworth – exactly the same two guys, just different clothes and different faces.
Back at Vaughn Junior High, Henry Colby was the only boy in school taller than me and he wore suits. Henry Colby’s family had money. Henry Colby had very good manners and he was always polite to me. But Henry Colby had a crush on Virginia. Here was another Henry Colby and here was my chance, or so I thought.
But Eldridge Ivy was anything but polite. The first day I sat in Home Room beaming my brightest smile at him. He looked at me as though he wanted to punch me in the mouth. If the teacher hadn’t been there, I’m sure he would have.
In the seventh grade I had oily skin and Eldridge took to calling me Shiny.
HOME ROOM. Second day. Eldridge, “Oh look, shinny is here again.” He turns to his friend and says very loudly, “I don’t think she smells too bad. She can sit there. But I don’t like the way she looks at me.” Home Room!
HOME ROOM. Third Day. The class is voting for Class President. I’m shy little girl lost. I don’t know anyone yet except Eldridge and his friend. I’ve decided to sit as far away from him as I can get – over by the windows where no one wants to sit. In December, sitting huddled in my bright red coat, (Manley is a blue school) I learn why no one wanted to sit there.
I decide to put my name in for Class President. In Latham, it was considered bad form to vote for yourself. So as a courtesy, I vote for the other girl – just so she can have a vote.
I lost the election. I got only two votes. Eldridge and his friend look at me funny. His friend leans in and says something. I only hear the end, “and she’s stupid.” The teacher looks at me funny, too. I’m halfway down the hall when I realize Eldridge and his friend had voted for me. If I’d voted for myself, there would have been three votes for me – not two. I’m a total looser and now the whole class knows it. If only I didn’t have to go back to Home Room!