Ok, I didn’t necessarily join the army, per se but a middle school organization called Civil Air Patrol (Click on the link as they give you a brief description of C.A.P.). At school one day, I received a flyer about C.A.P. boasting about all the things you would learn including my #1 dream at the time: how to fly. Looking back on it now, 13-year-old me should have realized that if I can’t even operate a motor vehicle in Ohio till I’m 16, what made me think I would be allowed to operating an aircraft?
Nevertheless, I had my parents sign me up and on the following Thursday, a rickety, old pick-up truck with a camper, came and picked up their oldest daughter. It looked a lot like this.
I should have run the first time I saw this thing or at the very least, my parents should have piped up, but being they had just found instant baby sitting for 1 of 3 daughters every Thursday night, they were probably like,
“Meh…looks safe enough.”
So every Thursday, we were taken to a nearby town airport. I say airport but it was just a landing strip for probably the 2-3 people who had airplanes. To this day, I’ve never once seen a plane land there. Anyway, we did marches and exercises. In a ghetto-fabulous trailer…ok scratch that…there’s no such thing as a nice trailer. So in a trailer, we were given booklets to learn how to save people, I think? Sorry folks, this is a memory from almost 30 years ago so you’ll have to endure my uncertainty.
Boys, Boys, Boys!
It didn’t take very long to understand why I made it past the first Thursday meeting: I was the only girl amongst 20 boys. Wait, correction, there was 1 other girl but she didn’t count as she was rather burley and probably not interested in boys anyway. Maybe she was because she her disdain towards me was palpable. I think she knew why I stuck around and it wasn’t to save people in the forest.
See, at the tender age of 13, I was pretty much rejected by all boys in middle school because I was on the very low-end of the of social scale. I’m guessing any boy to admit they liked me was on par with admitting they liked a leper. I wasn’t a bad-looking child in middle school. Ok 6th grade was a disaster, but once I got my bangs under control and realized you curled them forward and not backwards, it drastically improved my appearance. Nevertheless, I was socially off-limits as a girlfriend so you can see the appeal of C.A.P.
And C.A.P had many boys in the same boat as me, not horrible looking kids, just socially awkward. Ok, ok, there were a few disasters like the kid who was a teen before Pro-active was invented and couldn’t afford Oxi-pads. Or the kid who was 200 pounds by age 12 with ears that should have been pinned back at birth.
Sharing the Wealth with my BFF
“It’s all guys! I’m the only girl,” I told her while rearranging the make-up in my Caboodle.
“So what do you do?” She asked.
“You do exercises, march, learn about saving people or something.”
So the following Thursday, the rickety old truck picked up not only me but my best friend. We were using C.A.P. to meet boys. There, I said it.
And C.A.P. even had a formal event where E and I got to dress up in formal dresses! It was like prom and E and I were the only 2 girls….oh and Big Bertha who sat in the corner seething. To this day, E and I have a memory of a 1,000-year-old man who was being honored at the event for something. I don’t know, maybe he founded C.A.P.? No idea. I just know he wore this massive, old school hearing aid. He kept banging on it violently and grunting when he still couldn’t hear. So now, when we can’t hear something very well, we begin to bang on the left side of our hip while holding our hand up to our right ear.
Eventually I realized that the whole flying thing wasn’t going to happen anytime soon and I was growing annoyed with most of the boys. They were beginning to seem like the brothers I never had and I already had 2 sisters that drove me crazy.
What did you do as a young teen to meet boys or girls?