Monday, August 25, 2008

Manic Monday: Club

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Third grade, it was. Myself, Angela, Beth, Brittini... I can't remember all of the names of our members, but we had a club. Did your club have a name, you ask? Yes, we had a name. "The Weird". I know, I know... so clever! *insert warm chuckle here*

I was the President of the club, and I thought that was a pretty sweet deal. Little did I know that with power (all the power of an eight year old) comes responsibility.

I have no recollection of exactly what it was that we did as a club except run in a little pack at recess. I know we had rules, but I can't remember specifics. What I do remember is something I wish I could forget. We had people who wanted to join our club, as clubs often have. Angela's little sister was one I recall. We immediately vetoed that. She was a good two years younger than us, and that just wouldn't do. I recall another one that wished to join. A girl by the name of Nicole. She asked if she could be a member of "The Weird". I'm sure we sat in committee meeting on the monkey bars or on "the wood" playground to decide Nicole's fate as far as our club was concerned, and after much deliberation, we granted her request. She was "in".

Time passed. We did our cool thing, whatever that was, and as things progressed with Nicole and we realized we had made a grave error in judgment. Nicole bugged us! She wasn't up to our very high "cool" standards. And so, true to the nature of third graders, we held a secret meeting and decided that Nicole had to go. Bye bye. Curtains. See ya later!

The secret meeting was coming to a close, but we still had not decided exactly how we were going to go about breaking the news to her. Options were discussed and it was decided that the President should write her a note and then leave it in her desk after school. THE PRESIDENT?! BUT THAT'S ME!!! I thought sickeningly. That is one of my first recollections of feeling the weight of responsibility.

I wrote the note. I tried to do it as diplomatically as possible, but I was kidding myself. We were simply being cruel little children. Again, the specifics eluded me. I don't remember the words, but I will never forget the feeling. It made my stomach hurt as I placed it in her desk and ran away. I thought about it all night. I wished I could take it back and throw it away, but would that make me loose "coolness" in my friends eyes? I never got the chance to find out.

I have flashes of memory or imagination, I'm not sure which it really was, of Nicole with red-rimmed eyes hiding out at recess on that pathetic day. Maybe she even went home. I don't recall.

I don't remember much of Nicole after that. She was around for several more years into junior high. She turned into a "wild child" wearing heavy black eye makeup and strange clothes. I winced inside every time I saw her then, and thinking of her now makes my heart heavy with regret for the cruelty of an eight year old version of me.

14 comments:

bv said...

This story is bitter sweet. It's interesting to me how out hearts remember the hurt yet our minds fail us. Also interesting is how the guilt and pain do not keep us from doing what's right. Often times there is plenty opportunity and incentive yet we find ourselves drowning in regret.

I hate that I failed you last Wednesday and wince as I write this thinking about it. The guilt keeps me from calling and I hate that something beyond my control kept me from being a part of something so special and meaningful.

Polly said...

I think we all can relate to this story. Both because we have been the excluder, which we regret deeply, and also the excluded, which we still know how we felt, but have a better perspective. And as a parent, we hope that our kids won't make the same mistakes we did, but in these sorts of things, they will...it's heartbreaking.

Kaci said...

Awhhh :( How sad! I'm sorry that happened to you!

lucy said...

Yes I can relate...Jr high..Norma Woods...If you are out there..I am sorry. Maybe that is why I take on the kids that are seen as the challenges in my building......thanks for sharing

beth s. said...

I don't remember Nicole at all. What was her last name? But I do know those feelings of regret and shame all too well. Unfortunately there was more than one person that came to mind for me. I'm grateful I like myself more now and realize that it really doesn't make one feel better by putting another down.

Weird seemed to be a theme for us! When I first saw the word club I was sure it would be about OAWAAW. The only way into the club was to guess what it stood for. WEre we nice to Ben and Erik or did they figure it out themselves?

Ivanhoe said...

Oh, one wonders if you think that she could have been different if she stayed in your club. Well, you cannot blame yourself for other people's choices. You were just kids.

Gayle said...

My thought was that of ivanhoe's...how different she might have been had she remained in the "cool group". But you were only eight...my Emily is eight and although we talk about "playing with everyone" I'm sure this stuff happens. I guess the best thing is how it shaped you later in life.

Leah said...

I think we all have stories along those lines in some way, shape, or form. Mine fall more in that I wasn't ever very nice to my brother (created "tests" he had to pass before I would let him play with me, and I'd purposely make them too hard for him, etc), and that I never stood up for anyone I saw getting picked. I was always too worried they'd start picking on me instead and kept quiet. I think as adults we all understand that it happens, but it's hard to forgive that we did it in the first place, and it's even harder knowing that those things are out there for our own kids to experience on one side of things or the other. All we can hope for is that they make better choices than we might have, and while not everyone will always be friends, that we treat people in a friendly way no matter what (and pray desperately our own kids are never on the bullying end OR the bullied end)

I know that was a hard story to tell, but I know for a fact you're not alone!

Maria Hart said...

My name is Maria and I am a recovering mean-girl. I was ten and her name was Sally. I have told my girls the story, and how my friend Trisha was the good example... they want to be like Trisha, not like me. If my experience helps them avoid a simliar heartache in the future, wonderful. If they have to experience that hard-knock themselves, I will have tremendous sympathy, both for them and the friend they injure.

Alice - I Was Born2Cree8 said...

This is a very sad story... for Nicole and for you. It is time to forgive yourself, Clancy. Let go of the guilt you've been carrying. It sounds like you learned from the experience, and I doubt you ever did anything like that again, or would now. We all make mistakes, especially when we are children... that's life. So, forgive and let it go.

Blessings.

Teri's Tales said...

Ditto!!!

Carmy said...

i would love nothing more than to come hang out with you!! and you are everything i could ever ask for in a dear friend!! i feel bad because when i vent its just so easy to remember that there are other people i love and appriciate so much that would do anything for me. I'm just in a sad state and need to jump out of it!!! i love you!!!!! i hope you are having a great week!! <3

Travis said...

I suppose we all can find such lessons in our lives. I recall one in particular from sixth grade that I'm not particularly proud of. And I also remember the "revenge" of the excluded person.

But that's a story for another time.

Genene said...

It's late to be posting on this, I've read it late........

These things you write of....... they make up my life. I've usually felt to be the one excluded so that particular brand of pain is very familiar to me. It's probably a large part of the reason that I've always jumped to the aid of the underdog when I've seen things like that going on.

It's a great thing to read your story and get a different perspective. I'm not saying I've never hurt anyone (I'm such an angel all the time you know)cuz I know I have, it's just nice to hear a story about unrequited remorse and know that we all grow up and have new insights from our life experiences and the goofy little things we do as children. Life IS our GREAT TEACHER!

I love you dear one! <3