Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Thursday, February 7, 2013

Between a Rock and a Cool Place



Quick - pick out the cool kids . . .

At the bottom of the hill, at the edge of the playground, halfway between the elementary and junior/senior high schools was a rock.
A big rock.
Huge.
It didn't belong to anyone.
It was just there.
Doing rock stuff.
It had 'sit' down pretty well.
And 'stay'.
It was the gathering place for the 'cool' kids in grade five.
I was in grade five.
I wasn't cool.
Every recess, the group of boys and girls who were the most popular would scurry down and claim the rock. For the entire 15 minutes, they would clamber (real word) about, or sit and talk.
And look cool.
I wanted to be with them more than anything.
I wanted to be cool.
Sigh.
I, too, had a group of friends.
Like me, my friends were not considered the 'popular' group.
But they were good friends. Loyal. Fun.
Often I would catch them casting longing looks towards the rock.
And the cool kids thereon.
I knew what they were thinking.
Sometimes, our disappointment and frustration would boil over into something more proactive.
Gossip.
One occasion stands out . . .
We 'seconds' as we had begun to think of ourselves, were grouped around the monkey bars.
Talking.
Okay, we called it talking.
We were making great sport of tearing the distant cool kids apart.
Everything was fodder for our nasty little grist mill. Their looks, their clothes, their personalities, their classroom standing, even their pets.
Yep. We were grinding at a pretty feverish pace.
I said, in a loud voice, "Well, I wouldn't go with them, even if they begged me."
The others nodded in agreement.
Than another voice broke in. "Diane?"
We all turned. Two of the popular girls were standing there.
"Um . . . yeah?"
"We wanted to invite you to join us. Paul really likes you."
I'd like to tell you that I simply smiled and refused. Or that I turned a slightly disdainful shoulder and stuck with my friends.
I did neither.
Faster than you can blink, I was one of them. They put their arms around my waist and I did the same and the three of us headed off to the rock.
I didn't even look back.
For many weeks, I lived as a cool kid.
Hung out at Danny's like everyone else but, because I did it, it was cool. Wore the same clothes as everyone else, purchased at Robinson's, but because I did it . . . you get the picture.
And I loved it.
Every minute of it.
No longer did I have to worry about what I said.
Because I was cool, everyone laughed and forgave me.
I didn't have to worry about what I did.
Ditto.
I was in heaven.
Then . . .
Paul decided he liked someone else.
And, just like that, I wasn't cool anymore.
The rest of them dropped me like a hot . . . rock.
It was my very first lesson on relationships.
It wouldn't be the last.
But it was the most painful.
Because when I tried to go back to my old circle of friends, I found that they were afraid of me.
Afraid to trust me.
Now, I was truly alone.
Oh, my solitary state didn't last long.
Only the eternity of about a week.
Fifth graders have short memories.
Fortunately.
But I did a lot of growing in that week.
I realized that I had learned four things:
            1. True friends are important.
            2. Don't burn your bridges.
            3. The rock is really hard and uncomfortable to sit on.
            4. Even if you're a cool kid.

12 comments:

  1. When you're up, successful and life is treating you well, your friends know who you are. When you're down and out, you know who your friends are. I do not know who wrote this but I've used the quotation numerous times. Don't burn your bridges; you may need them to come back from Pleasure Island.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh! I love that saying! I'm stealing it . . .

      Delete
  2. They all look like cool kids to me lol. Surely with your creative mind you could have done something to that rock to make it not so attractive to the 'cool' ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was thinking more a load of stuff from that feed lot.

      Delete
    2. Hee Hee!! I like how your mind works, Delores!!!

      Delete
  3. That was a hard lesson. But a good one. Some of the "cool" kids I knew grew up to have the most problems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a lot of pressure to being 'cool'. Looking back, I'm glad I got out when I did!

      Delete
  4. So very true! My place in society was in high school. I was a "farm kid", while the cool kids were "town kids". Their dads had businesses and money. But, I also had lots of brains, so I hung out with "smart girls", who were good to hang and talk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. Farm girl here, too. I liked hanging out with the 'smart' girls. They also helped me with my homework.

      Delete
  5. I used to wish I was one of the cool kids and on a much deeper lever I desperately wanted to be "smart". One of those kids who got A+ grades and understood things like trigonometry. I didn't even understand algebra. Looking back now, I'm glad I stuck with being just me, not at all cool, but I still wish I was smarter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I'm glad I stuck with being me. My Mom used to sing a song that always ended with the words, "I would rather be . . . Me. Me. Me!"

      Delete

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