Another trauma about junior high was that there wasn't a separate building for the students, we were thrown right in with the big kids at the high school. The junior high had two hallways of lockers at Delta High School. That changed while I was in high school and they built the Middle School, but for my part it truly was stressful and upsetting to go straight from sixth grade to mingling with high schoolers. The older kids teased and tormented in a way I had never experienced in my life (as I was the oldest in my family). I was a homely and shy kid so being in this environment just accentuated my awkwardness and seemed to make me a target for additional teasing.
A third terrible thing about junior high was I had to get up so much earlier in the mornings because I had to ride the bus from Hinckley to Delta AND I had to do chores before I could catch the bus. Seventh grade was the beginning of my 4:30 a.m. arisings; to this day I have not been able to disable that internal alarm clock.
In the fall and spring waiting at the bus stop wasn't too bad, but the winter months were unbearable. I remember that dusty, frozen snow blowing around us as we stood and waited. Arlo Taylor, the bus driver, wasn't known for being punctual so there wasn't a 'set' time he was at our stop every morning. Some days he would come early and we would be running up the street to catch the bus. Many of those mornings, he didn't wait, he would close the bus door and drive on down Main Street. Luckily, we could cross the street and wait on the opposite corner and he would usually stop and pick us up on his way back as he headed to the highway. Other mornings, we stood and waited for an inordinately long time. You can bet no one ever asked him why his schedule was so random. I had seen him ban students from his bus for small infractions. I'm certain he would have considered questioning his driving as a major violation.
The first quarter of junior high school was quite a shock for me. The moving from class to class in the crush of bodies in the halls, large classrooms of pupils I hadn't known since kindergarten, no time off for finishing work ahead of the rest of the class, no creative outlets for acting, writing, coloring, dancing and all the things I'd come to love during sixth grade. However, I remember being pleasantly surprised when grades came out and I had achieved a GPA which placed me on the honor roll. At that point, I determined I would work hard and always have grades which allowed that distinction.
I've said many times in my life that there isn't enough money in the world to make me go back and be junior-high-age again. Sometimes I think maybe if I was paid a great deal, I would go back; hopefully I would be able to retain the knowledge and experience I've gained and make those years happier than the ones I remember.