This is where I went to school from first to twelfth grade.
Classes were small.Really small. There were 28 in my graduating class.
I was pretty miserable for most of my time there. I was often bullied or picked on. I spent most of my time there on full alert.
I have mostly not kept in touch with my classmates. I reluctantly went to my 30th reunion. It took me that long to not feel completely freaked out about going back.
Last night I attended an event for New York area alums. I had gone last year and had reconnected with one of my older sister’s friends…one of those people who makes you feel safe just by her warm hello. She called me a few days ago so we could attend together.
Last night a few of us were sitting together. Amy, who graduated two years behind me suddenly remarked,
“ Sarah, your class was just the worst. People were so awful in your class. Your class was just terrible!.”
I felt like Amy had given me a gift. Listening to some of the other alums talk about their golden experiences at the school made me feel a little like I was in the movie Gaslight.
A couple of years ago I contacted one of my classmates on Facebook. When we were in 8th grade, he and four other boys in my class attacked me in the elementary school yard in full view of the all of the floor to ceiling windows in the elementary school, while classes were in session. I was knocked to the ground and was punched and kicked by the group of boys from my class. The attack felt like it took about 15 minutes, I can’t tell you for sure. I don’t know why they finally stopped.
The classmate who I contacted was someone who I had thought was my friend. The other boys, not so much. When I wrote to him about the incident, he had no memory of it.
The day after the attack, my father and asked the principal to meet with me. He did. He asked me what had happened. I told him. He asked some clarifying questions. I answered them. The principal patted my hand sympathetically and sent me back to class.
I’m guessing that my former friend’s lack of memory about the attack means that my attackers suffered no consequence from their actions.
My conversation with him left me feeling like maybe I couldn’t fully trust my own memories.
Amy’s comments about my class were a tremendous comfort. Yup, my class was awful. People were cruel to one another. My feelings are not just the overwrought emotions of a kid. Thank you Amy.