5th Grade: The Life and Times of Two New Kids

Fifth grade started out tough. Hell-tough.

I was beginning the school year in Vanderhoof Elementary; a public rather than parochial school. Since my family had recently moved from the Chicago area to Arvada, CO, I had no friends and knew no one; not a soul. Shy by nature, not to mention totally self-conscious,  sitting alone in the cafeteria at lunchtime was a nightmare of  hyperventilation and uncontrollable tears. My classmates  regarded me as freak ‘o nature, which, in their eyes I clearly was.

The only benefit of attending a public school that I could discern, was that there was no chance of getting beat up by a sadistic, crazed nun.

Then, one fateful and glorious day in mid-October Lisa arrived on the scene, fresh from Michigan: another new kid who was every bit as geeky and out-of-place as me. There really is a G-d! Naturally, we became fast friends and looked down upon by the entire 5th grade militia.

Who cared? I had Lisa and she had me.

And what fun we had! Our favorite pastime was “ditching door bells,” and we’d raised making prank phone calls to an art form. Our creativity and implementation of such, knew no bounds: by removing the consonants from every word we spoke, Lisa and I created our own language. Case in point: She became Iia and I was Oodie (I went my Susie, back then). Needless to say (so why say it?) this new language alienated our classmates even further. Our respective parents weren’t too crazy about it, or our abject silliness in general, either. How they must have dreaded weekends and the G-d-awful (from the parental perspective) sleep-over.

As if we cared.

Much fun and trouble ensued for quite a while. But then, eventually, Lisa and I chose different paths and  lost touch with each other. Ten years passed, then twenty and finally thirty.

Then, one fateful and glorious day came an email; thus,  Iia and Oodie were reunited! We’ve seen each other a few times during the last few years and it’s been grand.

Still silly, after all these years.

Some things never change, luckily.

Me and Lisa: my 12th birthday

22 thoughts on “5th Grade: The Life and Times of Two New Kids

  1. Oh, what a lovely story and friendship! It’s so wonderful to have a childhood friend come back into your life and get to “play” again! :D

    And why are they always sadistic, crazed nuns? I lasted all of a week in Catholic school before my mom did something that set me free…probably the same thing she did when I was in third grade and the public school tried to force me to write with my right hand by rapping on my knuckles. Mom stormed the school, screeching like a banshee, threatening to call the cops, brandishing my bleeding hand in their faces…I had a different teacher the next day…. :)


    • Hi Eileen,

      Thanks for commenting. It was wonderful to find Lisa after all these years.
      Speaking of sadistic, crazed nuns I have much experience with the like. Sister Eleanor slammed my little 2nd grade head against my desk repeatedly when I missed 7 our of 10 questions on a phonics test. I wrote a blog about it, but forget what it’s called–no doubt due to the head-bashing :-)


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