Perhaps because I’ve spent the last few weeks working with the students at North Ogden Junior High who were presenting the play, Once Upon a Mattress, I’ve been transported back to my own junior high and high school years and experiences. My senior year we put on the same musical I’ve been helping my daughter’s classmates prepare for. One night this past week after attending a performance of the musical at NOJH, I came home and found my yearbooks and spent a couple of hours looking at 70’s hair and clothing fashions and thinking about those times at Delta High School.
One painful memory was when I was handed an invitation to a birthday party of the most popular girl in school. None of my other friends had received an invitation and I was mystified by my own inclusion in the celebration. Of course I knew this girl, everyone knew Lisa Peterson. She was a cheerleader, cute, blond, and full of personality and spunk. But why would she have invited me, a nobody, a dark haired, skinny, shy girl who no one seemed to notice in the halls of school (except for those cruel boys who teased me about my huge teeth).
But there it was-I had been invited to a Saturday afternoon birthday party running from 1:00-3:30 p.m. at Lisa Peterson’s house in Delta. I didn’t even consider not going. I was invited; it was a rare privilege to be included and I intended to find out what happened in the inner sanctum of the popular group party.
My mom dropped me at the address on the invitation with the promise to be back at 3:30. I nervously knocked on the door and Lisa herself opened it. With a strange look on her face she promptly inquired, “What are you doing here?” I stammered and stuttered about the invitation Mary Ann had given me and held out the wrapped gift I had brought. That was when I discovered there was another Georgia, a popular Georgia, the Georgia who the invitation was intended for, who lived in Delta.
My mother was on her way back to Hinckley by now and would not return for me for two and a half hours. What could I do besides try to assimilate into the crowd? Let me say that it was, without a doubt, the most miserable two and a half hours of my life. I spent most of the time following the group from activity to activity, inside then outside then back in. I finally gave up and just sat by the window watching the road for my mother’s car while the other girls gossiped and chatted about the cute boys. I had never been happier to see my mother as I was that afternoon. I spent the ride home sobbing and near hysterics. I remember telling her I was too humiliated to ever return to school so we would have to move.
Needless to say, I did return to school and did actually graduate from good ol’ DHS. I did; however, flee from home the fall after graduation never to return for more than short visits. I always feared I would run into Lisa Peterson and have to attempt to explain why I was there.