Tonight’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun prompts us to recall a day from when we were 12 years old.
1) Remember when you were 12 years old? On a summer day out of school? What memory do you have of fun activities?
2) Tell us about that memory (just one – you can do more later if you want to) in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a comment on Facebook.
Instead of writing about myself however, I asked my parents to recall a day from when they were 12 years old. Here were their responses.
My Mother : The day that she shared with me was November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated. She was 12 years old and in the 7th grade in Brooklyn, NY. While she doesn’t remember the whole day, she does remember her teacher calling the classroom together crying, to let them know that the President had been killed. My mother also remembers watching the funeral on television and that the horse drawing the casket “wasn’t acting right.”
Since she couldn’t remember much more about any particular day, this led us into a discussion about what her typical days were like at that age. She grew up in the hustle and bustle of New York, living in the Cooper Park Projects. Her and her brothers would take the city bus to school and her 7th grade year was the year she transitioned to junior high school. After school, she’d go home, change, and they typically would spend the afternoon playing outside. She did remember that she had to wear dresses at school, per school dress code. In fact, all the way through to her first job after my family moved to North Carolina she had to wear dresses, pants were never allowed.
My Father: My father gave me flack about asking him – said he didn’t remember any particular day. So, I asked about what life was like in general. He grew up in rural NC so back then, there was only one school black kids went to – Newbold. He went to that school for all his school years. He lived with his maternal grandfather, William Lawhorn. Since my great-grandfather owned a tobacco farm, my father was one of the family members that helped work it, so Daddy would get up early before school to help, go to school, then come home and continue working until it was dark. When my grandmother died in 2006, I had an opportunity to take a picture of the home so I can visualize exactly where Daddy grew up.
Home of William Lawhorn
Asking them this question was a nice opportunity to revive some of their childhood memories. I also learned some other family tidbits, all the more to add to my collection of stories.
Now, what about me? I turned 12 years old in 1987 and would enter the 7th grade that year. I attended Cochrane Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina. We’d been in Charlotte a year now since my parents divorced. This school year was particularly important for me because this was the first time I was going into a new school year already knowing other kids! My parents moved a lot and I’d been attending a different school each year. I too have difficulty remembering any one specific day, instead I remember a series of events.
For example, one day I was outside and slipped on ice in front of a whole group of 9th graders; I was so embarrassed! My friend Leslie and I used to get picked on (well, maybe not picked on, but teased) by a 9th grade boy and he in particular would call me Raw Deal. Why? Because I used to always wear a black jacket that said “Raw Deal” on the back. To this day I always think of him whenever I listen to my favorite L.L. Cool J. song – “I Need Love.” In that song, he has a line where he says “..and I know that I’ll never dish another raw deal….” And, I also remember being in the guidance counselor’s office one day charting the courses I would need to take from 9th to 12th grade in order to prep for college. Ah, the memories!
I wish I could share pictures from my 7th grade yearbook; I only recently pulled it back out from our storage behind the house. But, my scanner is not hooked up, so that will have to wait another day. Also, in the course of talking to my mother we ended up talking about some other things and taking a virtual trip through Greensboro in Google Maps. That shall be the topic of my next post!