Heading into Junior High was such an exciting time. I felt so grown up. I would be going to a different school where now you would have to have lockers, grown up notebooks and best of all, you would get to move from one class to another and not be sitting in the same classroom for the entire school day. The anticipation and excitement were extreme.
Summer was over and it was time. Some new clothes were bought, which I always had to share with my older sister since we were about the same size. It was kind of ‘one wardrobe for all’ in my family. Still though, it was exciting to think I would be going to the school with my sister who was two years ahead of me. It would be her last year of Jr. High and my first.
The school year started out great. The first day we had beautiful weather so that meant walking to school with friends and home again. Of course, beforehand, I didn’t know that everyone always stopped and had ice cream and cokes or food at the local after school hang out so I didn’t stop there the first day. I was excited to walk home with my sister and her boyfriend. I also met his friend that day who later became my boyfriend.
The school year progressed wonderfully; I met all kinds of new kids, but kept a lot of the kids I’d grown up with in the neighborhood. The year went all too fast. That summer though was the first time ever that I was allowed to have a birthday party. It would be my 13th birthday right at the end of my 7th grade year, and amazingly my step father had agreed with my mom and allowed me to invite friends and have an outdoor party just before the end of the school year.
I remember pop beads were in style and I’d so wanted some and one of the girlfriends gave me those, but one of the presents from that party that I would save and would become my most cherished would be from the boyfriend of my older sister. His name was Teddy, and he gave me a strand of beautiful blue beads. I loved them even more than the pop beads that I’d so been wanting. They were just unusual because usually beads are white but these were an awesome powder blue color.
The birthday party ended as well as the school year. I passed with flying colors to the eighth grade. The summer flew by and it was time again to return to Junior High. My older sister would be entering her first year of High School. She still had the same boyfriend named Teddy and was learning to drive now that she was sixteen.
Teddy, however, wasn’t doing as well and hadn’t passed the 9th grade and was held back. To this day, I’m not sure anyone knew all that troubled this wonderfully kind young man. He was kind of on the wild side, but was always so sweet. We weren’t very far into the school year when Teddy went to his sister’s house and committed suicide. His sister had no clue as to why nor did his family. Sadly, he hadn’t confided in anyone what was bothering him, not even to my sister.
So, the blue pearls that he gave me that 13th birthday, I still have and whenever I open my jewelry box and look at them, I remember the cute, sweet 16 year old Teddy that I hold in my heart to this day. But when I think of him, I also feel sad for the life he never experienced. And I still have to wonder why?