6th grade hit with great anticipation for me! I would be joining the class of the famous Ms. Haas. She was an iconic teacher at Arredondo, quirky, fun, outgoing and her students LOVED her. This would be my last year of Elementary School before entering the formidable middle school years. Scott and I were once again in the same class, and this was OUR year!

A lot of great things happened in Ms. Haas’ class. Scott and I along with some other friends started making home movies. Scott’s parents bought a camcorder, a fun toy for budding comedians. Our movies were of course silly and ridiculous but it was a fun time writing them and filming them. Scott and I also wrote a small play we performed for our class as part of a vocabulary assignment. Ms. Haas gave us permission to do a play instead of simply writing a story using the vocabulary words.

Scott I and recruited some other friends and we wrote a spoof of the SNL spoof of the Lori Davis show. I put on a long wig and played Cher, Scott put on a blonde wig and make up and played Lori Davis. We also were able to incorporate impersonations of other teachers at our school. We performed the skit for our class and it was a hit! My career as a budding comedian was well on its way!

Lori Davis

6th grade of course also had its set-backs and difficulties. There was a new girl in school that year named Monia. She was instantly popular amongst the boys in our school, and I had a crush on her for sure! Which made it all the more crushing when she rallied the girls to start making fun of me because my clothes didn’t match. Honestly, it had never occurred to me that clothes served any other purpose then helping one be not naked. This was an entirely new element to my life I had never anticipated.

Since my family was of meager circumstances I was never draped in the latest fashions or trends by any stretch of the imagination. As a matter of fact, I still remember my mom making clothes for me and my brother when times were really tough. Unfortunately, my fellow class mates did not see or appreciate the hard work and toil of a mother clothing her children through difficult financial circumstances, all they saw were bright green florescent shorts with a contrasting purple shirt acquired from a good will. I actually have a recollection wearing those two items of clothing.

To learn that even what I wore could attract ridicule was unsettling for me in the twilight of my elementary school years, yet I felt no ability to do anything about it. So, I of course would respond to their mockery with the only thing I could say, “Pfft, I don’t care what people think, I wear whatever I want!” This was of course a lie. I cared DEEPLY what every girl in my 6th grade class thought of me. I was nowhere near the place of emotional maturity and transcendence of social norms to discard the opinions of my female peers.

I remember feeling betrayed that it was not brought to my attention that clothes should match! How did my parents let me out of the house knowing my clothes were sub-standard and would warrant embarrassment!? I once again found myself in a position of insecurity and embarrassment, and my only way out? Make ‘em laugh! Be the butt of the joke. Make up a story to shield me from the embarrassment, and pretend I did it all on purpose.

This experience created such an insecurity regarding clothes that even today I have a hard time buying clothes for myself without first consulting a friend who clearly has a good sense of fashion. I remember consistently asking my older sister Sharon before leaving for school, “Does this outfit match??” I had no idea! I didn’t even know what it meant, but whatever matching was, I wanted to do it!

Even through the ridicule, my friendship with Scott, who seemed to have clothes  free or ridicule, and our comedic partnership landed me as still a popular kid in school. I remember going to Skateland on the weekends with friends from my class, and even though I was still insecure and out of place, it felt like I was at least considered cool enough to have around. So much so that Monia, actually started to like me. One night at Skateland a group of us were all joking around about who should date who? Dating of course in 6th grade was a mere title of status and actually had little to do with courtship.

Well someone mentioned that Monia and I should date and Monia said, “Well, I would but he never asked me…” I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it! I never thought Monia would ever “go out” with me. I was instantly nervous. This was the first time a girl had expressed interest in me, and I had no idea what I was supposed to do next. So, I went skating.

Another boy in school Mike, skated up to me and started giving me a hard time about asking out Monia, and was edging me on. I was trying to act cool, but I was a mess. What was I supposed to? Just go up and ask her to go out with me? Again in 6th grade “going out” was a status that was instantly obtained through invitation, and had nothing to do with actually engaging in activities.

So, I finally got the courage, skated over to Monia and asked her, “will you go out with me,” she said yes and we hugged. I had my first girlfriend! Kinda. I mean, as much as that word could mean in 6th grade, with a girl that I’d never been on a date with, and would never take out on a date because we were 12 and all.

So Monia and I were now “going out.” This consisted mostly of phone conversations at night, and holding hands at recess. After a few weeks Monia started suggesting it was time for us to kiss. This was something I was not prepared for, and I was freaked out all over again. But word started to get around class that we had not kissed, and that I was afraid to.

The pressure was building! So one day at recess all the kids in my class were gathered around and Monia was standing there waiting for me to make a move. Mike starting pressuring me telling me it’s time to kiss her, and literally started pushing me. Mike kept pushing me in the back closer and closer to Monia, until we were finally face to face. So in front of the entire class I kissed Monia!!!

That night MOnia called me on the phone and very frankly told me that I was a bad kisser, and that I needed to read this article she had on how to be a good kisser. I was crushed! I lost all courage and confidence I had mustered at that point in my life in an instant. Shortly after our first kiss Monia dumped me and started dating a Junior High boy. My first girlfriend, my first kiss and my first heartbreak all within about a month.

This defeat left me so scared that it would be years and years before I ever kissed a girl again, and years more before I gained any confidence in the woman department. Much of my humor today is still centered around my struggles with dating and courtship, and much of those struggles I can trace back to Monia telling me I was a bad kisser and dumping me for another man.

But I still had my friend Scott, I was still funny, I realized that clothes needed to match and as 6th grade ended I was preparing for the next big challenge of my life, Junior High…