Today I kind of think that almost everyone feels like that in both junior high and high school. But I didn’t know that back then and felt “different” whatever that means and unsure of myself, especially socially with my own age group. Teachers help you with your academic feelings of inferiority, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone to do that with a kid socially or maybe it is emotionally. I don’t know. As an adult I came to realize that all teens are self-conscious and afraid of not fitting in. But you don’t know that then!
Coming from a smaller town junior high in Arkansas added to me being different than those who had grown up in Tulsa, but there were a few who helped me “fit in” socially and I did try to attend most of the major dances and for my first one there it was a new friend, Bill Mott, who fixed me up with a date with his twin sister Carolyn who was also shy. She was sort of my girl friend that first year as a Sophomore. Photo below of that first dance.
I don’t remember any dates my Junior year, but had multiple dates my Senior year and by then feeling a little more confidence. The girl I took to the Senior Prom was the only date I had with her, but we were both shy and didn’t have dates as the time approached. She was so nice and had a beautiful but very different prom dress that brought her attention and that made me feel self-conscious. It was called something like a balloon skirt that circled back down to her ankles or feet. No one else had one like that! After we had our couples photo made at the photo booth, nervous me left my billfold there. Well, later the band stopped and the conductor announced over the PA system my name, mis-pronounced of course! And then told everybody that I had left my wallet at the photo booth. Red face for sure!
There were so many social climbers and people trying to be important that I just did not enjoy being around and never had any real close friends. Steven Murdock was whom I called my best friend, but we were different other than our interest in Scouts and he went on to engineering school and we did not stay in touch. I was a regular at our nearby Baptist Church, Calvary, but not close to any of the youth there, some in other high schools.
Thus after the summer of ’58 I was happy to be going to the University of Oklahoma and to get away from Tulsa. I had been ready for a “fresh start” when we left El Dorado for similar reasons, though I had a lot more friends there. So getting away from high school snobbery and parents having marital problems made going away to college the most exciting and biggest adventure yet!
“Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?”― Ian Wallace