|So. So. So. Cute.|
I have more pictures of Joe than anyone in my family in all of my old albums. Remember: I started taking photos when I was in kindergarten, thanks to parents who understood that I was uber into photography. I have pictures of Joe on his favorite little red stool, laying on my day bed, playing video games, sitting in his car seat, and just posing in general. I was in love with this kid. He changed my life, my purpose, my everything. But he also was really annoying. I mean, he destroyed my Barbie Dream House on a daily basis while I was at school and he was constantly in my room for no reason. I loved him, but he was the typical annoying younger sibling for whom I felt more than responsible.
|We are geeks. Like my mushroom 'do? | Fifth Grade|
During fourth and fifth grade, I left Stapleton to go to one of the other elementary schools for what was called the Enrichment Program. In fourth grade, it was a relief because Mr. Smith, our teacher, was a little loopy, what with making us watch Little House on the Prairie and having "parties" so frequently that I got sick of eating cheese and crackers. (Pretty sure he was later arrested for indecent acts with a child.) At Enrichment, we learned how to program computers, dissect a frog, and do gigantic projects that culminated in an end-of-year project presentation at Joplin High School (z"l). Fourth grade was wombats, and fifth grade was origami. I was such a nerd. But from what I remember about elementary school, it wasn't incredibly challenging. I was in a special reading group in the early grades because my advancement left me bored in class and, well, I was loquacious, as one teacher noted. I needed constant stimulation. Thinking back, I probably would have been given ritalin or something had they not known what to do with me.
|Sixth Grade | That shirt? It's from the Sears|
womens' section. Beginning of the end for me.
My parents told us we were moving to Nebraska. Nebraska? What is in Nebraska? My friends aren't there, our house isn't there, our town isn't there. What about Benito's (my favorite Mexican restaurant of all time)? Dad got a promotion, they told us, and he would be a regional auditor based in Lincoln, Nebraska, and we were moving on August 1, 1996. In the midst of middle school, in the midst of an image crisis that left me eating nothing but a Kool-Aid burst at lunch for an entire year, I was angry, but naive. I imagined my friends would come visit and that I'd visit them and everything would stay the same. That was partially true, but only for a few years. Of all of The Mag Seven, only one friend has kept in touch with me regularly over the years, and that's Jessica -- but not in the way we once were friends. Only 350 miles away, a six-hour drive, one would think that things wouldn't change that much, but they did.
|Chloe's on the left, Joe on the right.|
In Nebraska that all would change. Football was the word of the day and my brother hopped on that bandwagon early. My friends would change, my ambitions would change, everything would change when we moved to Nebraska. I was a different person the moment we settled into our house in Lincoln and I started school in Fall 1996 at Goodrich Middle School.
But that's for another installment ... stay tuned for the move to Nebraska, in which I stop wearing black, get into Nirvana and the Spice Girls, fall in love with JTT, start over again with friends in high school and ... oh wait. I haven't even mentioned my religious upbringing in these posts. But that's okay, y'all can find that in other posts.