I've mentioned before that I grew up like an Army Brat. We weren't military but we sure moved a lot due to my mother's health. The bad part of moving is that I seldom learned how my friends turned out. The good part is that I was always the new girl and while the girls often weren't exactly pleased with me, the boys usually were-- a lot. "New girl" had the edge, a mystique.
Ages 10 to 12 when we lived in Key West, were my prime years of popularity. Now it is sad to "peak" at 12 but I guess it is better than never "peaking" at all.
During those two years, I had a steady boyfriend Danny who went to the Catholic boy's school. Danny was the love of my young life after my failed attempt with Roy Rogers. However, he did not go to my school, so a girl had to entertain herself all those hours away from her steady. In essence, I cheated on Danny seven fold.
I kept a daily list of the 7 boys that pursued me in the public school. Each day the 7 would come up to me one at a time and want to know their position on the list. Those who made number one ever so briefly, whooped and hollered. I had to constantly adjust the list to keep the fellows interested. Now the only romance occurring with the public school boys was maybe a little sweaty hand holding and treat buying with the current #1.
The boys knew nothing about Danny and Danny knew nothing about them. It was the only time in my life when I had complete power over the opposite sex and I loved every minute of it. I was convinced that this was my destiny. However, I never again EVER came close to that degree of popularity for as puberty approached, the only thing to develop at a normal rate was my personality. From 10 to 12 though, I was figure appropriate for that age group.
Ulysses had orange hair that stuck out in all directions. Freckles, great big, pencil eraser sized freckles covered his face including his lips and ears. His ears were huge and stuck straight out from his head and his teeth were gaped and too large for his mouth. And what had his parents been thinking of by naming a boy Ulysses in the deep south? Though he was smart enough, Ulysses rarely participated in class and kept to himself. He certainly was not on my list of seven.
One day in music class, the chairs were all moved to the side of the room to make a space for square dance lessons. We were of the age that when dance was suggested, the girls got excited while all the boys groaned and shuffled their feet as they studied the floor. The teacher decided to make it a "girls choice" dance in an effort to break up the bottle neck.
My Magnificent Seven were eyeing me to see which one of them I would pick. I have always hated the unfairness of the dreaded "pick" routine. Though I always escaped that position, someone was always "picked" last and is humiliated by being the left over.
Being the smallest and a bit of a teacher's pet I was given first pick. Yeah I know a lot of you are really disliking that 10 year old me but remember this glory didn't last long.
Since I have always had an overblown sense for fair play, I shocked the whole class and picked Ulysses to be my partner so he would not be chosen last. His freckles blended into one giant one as he flushed red. He walked slowly towards me as if expecting a big "April Fool."
The dance was really basically a side by side march around the room with the boy's arm over the girl's shoulder. A little do-se-do'ing, swing your partner, promenade and finis-- no biggie.
There was a constant buzzing though about Ulysses and I. The Magnificent Seven were stunned and the girls all wondered why I had chosen him when I could have had any of my pet group.
Maybe they reasoned that they had underestimated the worth of Ulysses if I wanted him as a partner. Somehow his value increased ten fold that day by being a first pick-- a number one draft choice so to speak. Ulysses became a friend though not one of the seven. I all ready had a full plate.
It was a couple of weeks later when I discovered the extent of what I had done with so simple a move. I was going to class when Ulysses came down the hall towards me between two cute girls. With an arm around each, he was grinning from big ear to big ear as he gave me a sly wink.
It seems that he suddenly was Mr. Popular and had his own list of girls to keep happy. His looks hadn't changed except that his posture was straighter and what ever he used to tame his hair had dulled the orange to a nice auburn.
What had changed was his confidence level which was through the roof. He was no longer considered gawky but cute. It wasn't long before his formerly unknown dry sense of humor started to blossom. Ulysses maintained a solid degree of popularity into junior high when we moved again and I lost track.
We left Key West and my absolute popularity behind. I never did find out how Ulysses turned out. For the life of me I can't remember his last name or I'd Google him. That first name would weed out a lot of hits. Somehow though, I think he did OK.
Did you ever change a person or were changed your self by a simple chance action? Maybe to or by a classmate, a friend or a teacher?