When I was 10 yrs old my life as I knew it was torn from under my feet in an unexpected tornado landing me in a remote, depressing, stinking little farm in Northern Alberta with nothing except an odd farm for almost 7 mile each way. To add insult to injury there was no indoor plumbing, no running water, nor was the 4 room shack insulated! the only way to heat water was on the only source of heat a thin tin wood stove.
There I was at the most important time of a girl’s life, stuck, way out in the boonies with an abusive father and 2 brothers. My brothers only hung around for 3 or 4 of the 5 yrs, both sick and tired of being beaten and told they wouldn’t amount to anything! Leaving the legacy to me! It was a living hell.
I remember my first day of school, I was so nervous and upset that morning, my father had feed us a big bowl of ” Red River” hot cereal doused with powdered skim milk, even now just the thought of it makes me want to hurl….I remembered it like yesterday! and yes I hurled all over the wood stove which was smoldering hot! After my nervous puking I was glad to be leaving the house!
I was 5ft/ 6in tall, weighing all of maybe 90 lbs wet, this was in grade 5. I had straggly blonde hair, a part between my 2 large front teeth and I seemed to be missing my adult eye teeth (never to appear even to this day). I guess you could say I was homely, all arms & legs, dressed in boys hand-me-downs. I walked into that little school with a big bullseye target taped securely too my back.
There were about 25-30 kids in each class, grades 1 to 9, a small school, every year it was the same people day in and day out, and even way out in the boonies they had clickie little groups, I didn’t fit in any!
There was a girl I’ll call Dawn, her hair was always perfect, curled to perfection every morning in the Farrah style that was in then, her clothes always new, tight-fitting and in style, she was very pretty and knew it! Well Dawn and I had a strange relationship, I guess you could say I was invisible to her. Once a year all the little towns with schools within 40 miles converged for a Track & Field. Dawn was faster than I, but she didn’t win every race, I went home with many first place ribbons! I was better at Long Jumping, she at High Jump, in Relay I was second to the end, she was the end runner, and when we won there was never a High Five! or any Coodoo’s shared between us, it was like I didn’t exist. Once, she was doing her High Jump and she hit the bar with her foot, well I was walking past just at that moment, I was well behind the bag in a which I thought safe distance, well I guess it wasn’t, the bar that she kicked came flying at me and took a chunk out of the skin of my eye socket, 1/8 in. closer I would have lost my eye. Well Dawn didn’t even cast a glance my way, not even when blood started trickling down my face. Like I said “invisible”!
In grade 6, the upper crust of our lovely little class decided to pull a vote to see who was the ugliest girl in class, well my friend Kat was voted ugliest and I was voted second. It was quite a kick to my/our already damaged self-worth! I held all of the girls in the class equally guilty! As the days and weeks went on and I grew some more ( 5’11” and a slender 120 lbs), I was front and centre again for hecklers and the butt of jokes because I had hairy pits and hairy legs and not having a proper bra, they also found a way to make my last name into a disease! When the time came for me to leave and go back to the Island I so desperately missed I was so glad to get out of that hole of a town and away from the people who lived in it.
20 years had gone past when I got a notice in the mail back in 2002 asking if I was coming to the 20th reunion, and for hope alone I answered YES. What a Flaming mistake! not more than 4 people spoke to me (2 were ones I was staying with and stayed friends with) and when it came to say goodbye there was a line of “Girls” from my class, I went to give “Dawn” a hug goodbye even though we never spoke all evening, she automatically crossed her arms and backed away like I had some disease (maybe the one they made up from my name!). I felt like someone had pulled my plug, I went home feeling defeated again!
This Christmas for some reason (probably bored) I looked Dawn up and I sent her a message on Facebook asking her why she hated me so much, well to my amazement she wrote back Asking if I had the right person, saying she was in no way the person I described, she apologized but it sounded empty. I figured she probably had no clue to who I was and that was about the best thing to an apology I was going to get….. I told myself “Get Over It”!
I checked my email today and lo and behold, I received a letter from Dawn , she had been in Mexico for the holidays so it took her a while to really get back to me, she didn’t realize her actions caused so much hurt and she wanted to start over, starting with being Facebook Friends. I was really taken a back, almost to the point of being giddy! There is hope,( I hope) and Here’s Wishing EveryOne a New Year that is looking brighter already!!