In first grade I had the opportunity to wear my brother's navy blue hoodie to school as a lightweight jacket. This felt like a fantastic luxury, the sleeves long, covering my hands. That's how we wore sweatshirts in 1982.
I felt so cool on the playground. Plaid skirt wrapping around my knees as I ran the bases. Oversized sweatshirt bagging at the elbows. My two best friends at the time, Fannie and Al, grabbed me. They yanked on the sleeves, then tied them together. Zipped up my sweatshirt, cinched the hood and tied a knot so I couldn't see.
When the recess bell rang, they ran into the school, cackling bullies. Especially Al and the daily tutorials from her three older siblings. They had a garage fort filled with lyrics and graffiti and nudie mags. She knew every swear word, had busted a Peeping Tom at her bedroom window, and mimed what it meant to hump, shaking her hips like she was dancing.
I tripped blindly toward the door to the school and was stopped by the playground lady. That was the job title. "Playground lady." She asked me who had done this to me and I wouldn't tell her. My first grade teacher figured it out pretty fast, though. I can't remember if they got in trouble.
We're friends again. Well, at least Fannie and me. Al moved to Wisconsin in seventh grade and I never saw her again.