The sting of Debbie's rejection still throbbed in our home. We adjusted to being three again. The end of August, the nights come sooner with the air a little cooler. Summer winds down for fall. I geared up for sixth grade, the last year of elementary school. A group of us walked over to the school to check our teachers posted on the door.
I walked a lot. I wrote copious letters to friends from camp, making the trip to the post office downtown at least two times a day to check for letters. Kim Gilligan from Brookville, PA, stayed in touch well into our high school years. I didn't like being downtown by the Islay's wall in the evening. The friends and gang that hung with Debbie sat there smoking. I felt an 11 year old self consciousness. I knew I didn't fit in with that group, never really did. I missed the fun of Debbie.
The pool was not the same either. Water cooler, less people there. I missed my school friends. One lived very far out of town and we just didn't get together during the summer. I believe they didn't come to Sharon for their shopping, probably went over to Lincoln Knolls in Youngstown when it was still thriving.
This was the first full year we were allowed to wear pants. Shopping at the various malls, for pants, sweaters, blouses and some dresses. Eating out. I don't remember this year's particulars.
A time on the cusp of change. I knew life was changing. I was changing into a young woman and I still wanted to cling to my dolls, yet love awakened this year at camp with a boy named Mark, just with hand holding and arms around each other, no kissing and no letters returned.
I didn't know what this school year would hold as none of us know, but I felt it would be vastly different than fifth grade, as I was not the same little girl Mr. Jones alluded to in his talk with my parents about having a girl like Debbie in their home. Yet, I'm glad Debbie was there for my mother's generation didn't talk about female issues or love for that matter and my sisters weren't around. I gathered some insight to what I would face.