Sunday, October 16, 2005

People With Whom I Went To Elementary School That I Remember the First And Last Names Of, And If They Find Me Via Google, This Should Be Interesting

Rarely do I remember a first and a last name. It's information that doesn't often wind up in either my short- or long-term memory bank. You're lucky if I even remember the first name on the first try. I can picture lots of faces, however, which means I spend a lot of time saying, "You. You look familiar. Who are you? I swear I know you from somewhere! I do know you from somewhere, right?" And they're like, "It's me, your brother. Dave."

The fact that I do or do not remember your first and last name says absolutely nothing about how I felt about you. That guy who lived up the street that I had the massive crush on in 7th grade and I thought I would just die if he didn't notice me? David...something? Random girl who sat behind me in junior year English that I spoke perhaps a half-dozen words to between that and senior year, who made no impression on me at all? Oh, sure. That's Gia Corsetti.

Elementary school is mostly a jumble of first names. I remember Cindy, the friend who tickled me until I peed myself. There was Gigi, whose annoying older brother was always hanging around. There were the mean kids: Eddie, a boy who can only be described as rather husky, who used to chase my brother and I to school every morning, just like the bullies in A Christmas Story. I'm sure it didn't help that when there was enough distance between us, we'd egg him on by screaming, "Eddie spaghetti! Meatballs are ready!"

I can't remember the name of a sixth-grade girl who bullied me all through third grade, although I can remember what she did and the things she said like it was yesterday. And she liked Quiet Riot. Tish is the woman who babysat my brother and I after school, and her son Jeff, the rabid KISS fan, used tackle me and try to set my hair on fire. You'd think I'd remember the full name of someone who did that for future charge-pressing purposes.

But there are some elementary school-era names I will never forget:

Fiona Henderson: Her name has always been said with a sneer. Feee-yone-ahhh. She was whippet-thin and had prissy blonde hair and bangs. She went to another school in town, but she earned my wrath simply by beating me in the district spelling bee in third grade. While I shuffled off the stage in tears (and was photographed for the front page of the local newspaper, which my teacher brought in the following morning, so everyone could see what a big 3-column vertical baby I was), Fiona pranced to victory. We got to square off again at the county spelling bee, but we were both shut down that time. I felt vindicated, because if I couldn't win, Fiona not winning was the next best thing. Granted, this whole hatred was entirely one-sided, because I doubt that Fiona had a clue as to who I was.

Timothy Geyer: Tim was the Eddie Haskell of our school. He tormented and teased me mercilessly all through second and third grades, yet whenever my mom chaperoned field trips, he was sweet as pie to both of us. He'd sit next to me and make conversation, always making sure my mom was within earshot so she could get a load of what a sweet boy he was. "[Nabbalicious]! What are you most excited about seeing today?" When I'd brush him off, he'd sidle up to my mom. He was shameless. At least my mom was totally onto him, but she thought it was hilarious.

Sally Hanson: The most popular girl in school. She was thin, blonde, got good grades and was adored by all. Except me. To add insult to injury, her father was my CCD teacher when I was preparing for communion, so I had to go over to her house once a week for lessons on how to be more Catholic. I always asked to use the bathroom whenever I was in their house so I could peek into her room on the way. It was an explosion of pink, and she had a vanity, canopy bed and her own phone. How the other half lives! It also didn't strike me until just now that she was named after nail polish.

Jamie Chianese: Sally's boyfriend for awhile, and totally my squeaky-voiced crush from first grade and beyond. He, of course, did not give me the time of day.

Brian Guggemos: Gave me the time of day more than I would have preferred in third grade. We were buddies at recess until one day he gave me a little pin with beads on it and a note that said, "Do you like me? __Yes __No __Maybe." Like the cold biatch I am, I checked "No" and ran off, careful to avoid him for the rest of the year. To my credit, I felt really awful for days afterward.

Kim Logan: My best friend from first to third grade, until she moved across the Bay to Union City. Kim was also babysat by Tish. Tish couldn't be bothered with actually watching us, because she was "in the middle of a goddamn [Harlequin Romance] book! Keep it down!" Kim and I had to make our own fun, which usually involved stealing Tish's daughter's Pat Benatar and Grease soundtrack albums and making up dances. (Incidentally, Tish's daughter Tammy had to make her own fun as well, and wound up having a baby at 16. And that baby just turned 25, holy crap.). Our shining moment was mastering the dance to "Greased Lightning," and informing my mom that we were going to enter the school talent show to perform it. She freaked out, and I didn't figure out why for years.

Update: For those of you who haven't memorized every word of "Grease," the line that made my mom collapse and fan herself was, "You know it ain't no shit, we'll be gettin' lotsa tit in Greased Lightning."