Dear Amy at 12,
Grade 7 is a weird one for us. Although it happens a few months before our 12th birthday, 9/11 happens. I remember Mom waking us up and telling us that our father had called – it was 6ish in the morning and Mom was just crying at the television. There was live footage when the second plane hit while we were getting ready. We got on a city bus to get across the bridge to our junior high school and everyone was silent the entire ride. All of the TVs in the school were on and turned to the news, we just watched most of the morning until eventually something had to return to normal. I don’t remember us singing the national anthem that morning.
It is the event that outweighs all other memories from that school year. Nothing else stands out as vividly in our memory. This was the year that we started to keep our favorite things packed in a backpack in the closet just in case something happened and we needed to get out of the house fast. The possibility of losing them outweighed playing with them on a daily basis. Strange how heavily real events can change our perspective, even at a young age.
We got our first boyfriend that year, but we remember that morning more than most of our interactions with him. I had two flavors of lipsmacker gloss that I bought on repeat, but I can’t remember what they were. We used to take candy to school and sell it, but I can’t remember what kinds (aside from jawbreakers on a stick).
And then we moved to the smallest town we’d ever encountered for any length of time. It was the end of the year, and we had planned to move sooner but it was delayed. Our first day of school was some sort of Medieval day so we didn’t go – it was a Friday. On Monday we took the bus to school and sat next to a girl who we didn’t scare away when we introduced ourselves by yelling at her, was put through a bunch of tests, and then met our classmates for the last month of the year. On the way home we again sat down next to Karen who, I’m happy to say, remains one of our closest friends for a very long time. turns out she lives around the block from us – even better! There will come a day when your new friends tell you that you can’t hang out with them and Karen – and we obviously make the right choice. It sounds like a movie, but we wanted none of that after how grounding the beginning of the year was.