Sometimes if we have been fortunate, we find friends who become family. Over the years, I have been blessed to meet some people who I have considered to be my family. Without a doubt, Barbara Lesesne Medlock has been part of my family now for over forty years! We met when we were schoolgirls in the sixth grade. To this day, I do not know what I would ever do without my sweet friend and sister.
In the Beginning: When Two Goun Girls Meet for the First Time
The day started off like any other day. I attended my morning classes at Chipman Middle School in Alameda, California. After lunch, we went to Mrs. Westmorland’s class; she taught language arts. I was sitting in my assigned spot, second desk from the front on the far right of the classroom. We were all talking at once since we had just arrived from our lunch break when a new girl walked into our classroom. Everyone became quiet once she walked into the room. She had long brunette hair that had red highlights, and it was curly. She also had lots of freckles that I would find out later that she absolutely hated.
As Mrs. Westmoreland walked up to her, she took the paperwork from the girl’s outstretched hand. “Take a seat,” Mrs. Westmoreland motioned towards the empty desk that was right next to mine. Barb eyes met mine, and we both smiled at each other before she took her seat. As she started to settle in, I noticed that she had the biggest pencil ever! It was thicker than a normal pencil, and it was longer too.
After lunch, our teacher usually had us read for a few minutes. Now as a teacher, I have discovered that reading quickly calms a rowdy group of adolescents who arrive to class after lunch recess. The class was silently reading when Mrs. Westmoreland explained that she would be “right back.”
Of course, as soon as she left, the quiet class became quite rowdy as everyone began talking at once. Before I could talk to the new girl, Dougie Davidson started teasing her. “Hey Freckles,” he called. I glanced at Barbara or Bobby as we would call her later. She sat up straighter in her chair and tried to ignore the disgusting boy. He grinned and hollered, “Hey Freckles! Do you think you have enough…freckles?”He laughed and some of the other boys joined in.
At that moment, Bobby jumped from her seat. We could tell by the look on her face she was furious. She screamed at Dougie, and screeched, “I hate you!” She had her huge pencil in her hand, and I watched in wondrous horror as she broke it over dumb Dougie’s head.
The class was utterly quiet for a single moment when everyone started shouting and laughing and talking all at once! Dougie was one of the biggest bullies in school, and he was just cut down to size by a girl half his size.
Of course, Mrs. Westmoreland walked into class as Bobby stood in front of the class, clearly upset. Dougie was red-faced and rubbed the knot on his dumb noggin. Quickly, we settled down and pretended to read once again, but all twenty-some pair of eyes were focused on the unfolding scene at the front of the classroom.
Bobby slowly walked to her desk and quietly took her seat. Still, nursing his head and his wounded pride, Dougie sat grimly and tight-lipped. He was probably trying to hatch some type of revenge on how to get even with the girl who just schooled him about making fun of others. Mrs. Westmoreland knew something was up in her classroom, but she did not say a word.
Bobby looked at me, and I smiled, for I knew I had just met someone extra special! That feisty friend has always been spirited, and I, for one, have always hoped that will never change.