1969 was the best year of my life. I was fifteen years old. It's when I first became aware that I was well liked. I knew how to make friends, and lot's of them. It's when I knew that I would always have friends.
The skills I had developed by then, are the best skills I have even now. Everyone went to school with a girl like me. You didn't observe me at the desk, raising my hand with the answers when the questions were asked. There was hardly a sighting of me in class at all. I had better things to do with my time. Much more important things.
When entering the girls' room, right off the gymnasium, I was the girl at the sink. I was the 'meet and greet person' with all the hot gossip about everyone in school. I was the girl you'd confide in, and go to for advice...the original Ann Landers. Ann Landers with dirty jokes and card tricks.
I would teach you what really mattered, like, how to smoke, and how to look sexy lighting a cigarette. I did everyone's hair and make-up, and maybe their nails. I'd have you go inside the stall, stuff your bra with toilet paper, and roll up your skirt. "Make it a mini-skirt. Take off those stupid knee socks. Never stuff your bra with knee socks. It looks fake."
I thought of myself as a mentor. I looked after everyone. I cared about them, and they knew it. When the girls got talked about, I'd tell them what was said, and who said it. We'd hold court in that girls' room, and decide how to carry out our revenge accordingly, and always with an audience. We made examples out of them.
In time, lots of girls followed my rules. Rule #1: "Never date the boys from here. They all have big mouths. And whether you've done anything with them or not, they always tell everyone that you did, so don't go out with them. Don't even talk to them if you can avoid it, but be nice about it. Buy yourself a guy's ring, and say that you have a boyfriend in the next town. Tell those 'big mouthed' boys, "He'll beat you up if you talk about me!" It always worked.
I also knew all the kids with the cars. You'd think we ran a taxi service, the way we'd transport all those pretty girls to the next town to meet the exciting, mysterious boys in Franklin, Ohio, a town with a zip code! A place where anything could happen!
Forty years later, we still keep in touch. We often write and call each other, referring to 1969, and how nothing has ever topped it since then. They''re all still in Ohio, and I'm here in New York, still giving them marvellous advice!