**This post exists because of this morning's lovely and evocative writings by Woman In A Window - what? You're not reading her? Really?**
The fall I went into seventh grade I made a concentrated effort to grow up. While the junior high (in reality just a wing of the high school) was only located across a small breezeway, it was a whole new building and the big kids were there.
So that summer I decided I wasn't going to be a baby anymore. I gave up Saturday morning cartoons. I stopped wearing my cartoon tshirts, I (tried) to stop whining when I didn't get my way.
I was going to be the coolest seventh grader in the world.
The first day back I was astounded. While some of the girls were wearing lipstick, most of my classmates...were just.the.same. as they'd been in the spring when I'd last seen them.
And even though now we had lockers, some of the guys had Ren and Stimpy pictures up...so everyone hadn't given up cartoons, after all.
A few days in, I found there was another small difference.
Folded notes weren't cool anymore. Now there were slambooks.
Slambooks were one-section notebooks with a sentence written on each page.
Breathless things like : Who do you like?
and then you'd write in your answer. Without writing your name, and trying to subtly disguise your handwriting.
The next page might say :Who is your best friend?
What's your biggest secret?
What's something you've never told anybody?
and so on. When you were done, you'd pass it on to the next person in your group.
And depending on how much you trusted your friends and/or how naive you were, you'd answer them all.
They were cathartic and terrifying. You scanned what people had written who had it before you and tried to decide how much of your soul to bare. If the book was circulating only between you and your closest friends, it was certain to be much more tame. If you started asking new friends - or even the new girl - it was sure to be more colorful.
I was pretty trusting, and usually wrote about my crushes - the handsome football player, that senior in the library (swoon) - and then was always hurt and betrayed when the new gossip all over the lunchroom had my name on it.
It was crushing.
But that was seventh grade, right??