Thirty Years Tomorrow

I met Drew because she sat in front of me in social studies, Mottern, Packard, alphabetical order and all that. I knew her as the pretty girl with the fluffy blonde hair. She dressed like a catalogue and she had a perm. Every day before class, she’d mist her hair and pic it out all fluffy like.

One day, she turned around and told me her friend Jenny Jones wanted to kick my ass.
Since I was new, and barely knew anyone, I asked, “Who?”
“Jenny Jones.”
“I don’t know who that is. Why would she want to kick my ass?”
“For me. Because you’re writing notes to my boyfriend.”
“Who is your boyfriend?”
“Daniel James.”
“I don’t know who Daniel James is, either.”
“Well she’s going to kick your ass.”

This went on for some time. Months, I think.

Sometimes this had variations.

“You still don’t know who Jenny Jones is? How can you not know who Jenny Jones is? Everybody knows Jenny Jones. Her locker is right next to yours.”
“Some boy with a complicated handshake has the locker next to mine.”
“That’s Adam. On the other side.”
“Never seen her, I guess.”


“Daniel James! Brown hair, brown eyes? Hangs out with John Doe and Joe Schmoe?”

I had not a scooby.

Y’all, for all the awkward I am now, I guarantee you that in 7th grade, I was ten times as awkward. Over the previous summer, my life had been turned upside down by my custody situation. To make matters worse, I’d moved into a surreal land where girls of my own age dressed like my mother, did their hair with implements and products, and wore full faces of make up — whereas I had only recently stopped playin with Barbies and cut off my braids. In full-on puberty, my hair grew suddenly darker, thicker, and coarser. This was quite a shock against my paper white chubby cheeks and somehow, I still had knobby knees. I had two friends, the girl at the last bus stop, who was kind enough to sit with me, and the son of our neighborhood Avon Lady. I was unarguably nerdy and awkward as fuck.

Eventually, I got a description of Jenny Jones. She looked a lot like me, but she was of course, tanner, prettier, and cooler. I feared every short, pretty, tan brunette in the school. Do you know how many girls that was? Me neither. But I graduated in a class of 327. I’m sure I passed more than 50 a day.

On January 16, 1987, Drew turned around and smiled at me.
“Are you actually being nice, or is this the day Jenny Jones is gonna kick my ass?” I asked her.

She was just being nice. She’d broken up with Daniel James. (I wouldn’t know who that was for almost another year.)
Drew invited me to attend a bowling party with her church youth group.
My mother let me go.

It changed my life. My entire life.


Tomorrow marks 30 years. Thirty years and some days since Drew turned around to smile and be nice, thirty years since the bowling party, thirty years since I met my husband when I climbed into the backseat of a car and sat on his lap.

Eventually, I dated Adam, the boy with the handshake.
The girl at the last bus stop was one of my dearest friends for years.
Daniel James passed away some years ago.
Professionally, I talk to Jenny Jones now and again, and she never threatens to kick my ass.
But Drew has influenced every aspect of my life since 1987.

January 16th is one of my favorite days on the calendar.


This Just Jot it January post is brought to you by LindaGHill

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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66 Responses to Thirty Years Tomorrow

  1. Ritu says:

    Oh wow! And to think you kept in touch too!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lorriedeck says:

    Wow, lots of good memories for you for one day! Nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean says:

    You nailed the ridiculousness that is 7th grade. I find it amazing that you’re still in touch with Jenny Jones, but totally get your Drew connection. How did any of us survive middle school?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. That’s quite something to have kept a friend for so long. For a while I wasn’t even sure Jennie Jones existed. Love this post that reminded me so much of my own years in middle and high school. These years are filled with mixed experiences and leave their mark for sure. I remember girls in my middle school who invented girls just to bully or frighten younger students or students who were shy, quiet and physically less mature looking. I was one of them and it was hard to know who I could or not trust. Glad you have a Drew in your life. And that Jenny Jones turned out to be okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. loisajay says:

    January 16 is my oldest son’s birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. nkdwhtguy says:

    Nice story!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Alice says:

    Congrats! And all sincere thanks to Ms. Drew. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Benson says:

    Beautiful story. I have a friend like that. They are a blessing aren’t they.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ❤ Ahhhh, what a tale. All touchy-feely now.

    But 16th is tomorrow! 😀 (I know since two of my best friends celebrate.)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Joanne Sisco says:

    I have only the vaguest memories of Grade 7, but one thing I do remember clearly … I too was unarguably nerdy and awkward as fuck. My sole objective in life at that point was to be invisible. I guess that’s why my memories are few and far between.

    You, on the other hand, have an amazingly deep and textured memory of the people who populated your life at that point. Remarkable. Even more remarkable is their continuing presence in your life. I hope you will be able to celebrate this milestone anniversary with Drew in some way.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jan says:

    What a lovely tribute to your friend! I remember going bowling with my church group. Methodist.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Victo Dolore says:

    That is a super cool story. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dan Antion says:

    It’s ansxjng to have a friend thsg many years (from that early in life). I think my oldest friend dates back to high school but we don’t see each other often. I’m glad no one actually kicked your ass, and that you have a happy day do early in ghd year. 7th grade girls seemed to live in a different reality than and one I knew.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Being a seventh grade girl is pretty hellish. You couldn’t pay me to go back.

      My oldest friend is from the 2nd grade. We’re friends because we wore yellow on Wednesdays and had a baby doll club at recess. Second grade was a lot better than seventh. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  14. marianallen says:

    Best. Story. Ever. Now I feel deprived because my longest-standing friends only go back as far as 9th grade. That’s a great story, and that’s no joke.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. JoAnna says:

    Great story. It had me on the edge of my seat. Almost. Glad you got some mercy. You deserved it. You had some witty comebacks! “Are you actually being nice, or is this the day Jenny Jones is gonna kick my ass?” I don’t think I could have ever been that cool in 7th grade.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. No matter how it started, you must have been soul mates. Those are the friendships that last. Sweet story. But, I’d still watch out for Jenny Jones.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. pluviolover says:

    Joey tells the stories so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. shanjeniah says:

    I love this. My Drew is named Eden, and she’s been my friend since we were 4 (me) and not-quite 4 (her). We became best friends at 9. But it was when we were 13 that she dragged me, kicking and screaming, into Star Trek fandom. Later, it was Men at Work, a-ha, and Simon and Garfunkel. The ongoing attempt to get me to enjoy Babylon 5, though, is destined for ongoing failure.

    She didn’t introduce me to my husband, although we did once sequentially share a boyfriend. But, in so many ways, she’s broadened the horizon and shaped the landscape of my world.

    I’m so glad you had a Drew when you needed her, and that she’s still a part of your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Bradley says:

    What a great story. I’ve lost touch with all my old friends except for Facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Prajakta says:

    What a beautiful story 🙂 Congratulations! Who knows how one insignificant event can lead to the most significant one…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. “Unarguably nerdy and awkward as fuck.” Ah…. seventh grade. What a great time to remember haha. Ironically, I have a similar story with my best friend from grade school, except I was Drew 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  22. puppy1952 says:

    That is the most beautiful story. I have tears in my eyes! I met my best friend when we were 7. She was the bright sparkly one, I the shy, timid misfit. She changed my life. When we were 11 she moved to another town but we have remained friends to this day. We did it without Facebook, Email or Whatsap! Since childhood we only lived in the same city for a total of three years. Now we’re on different continents – but we see each other when we can and we’re incredibly close – soul mates.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Yes, indeed. Lifelong friendships weather time and distance and change in any way. Letters and long distance phone calls had to mind the gaps for many years. I’m so glad you were touched and that you have such a kindred spirit in your own life. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  23. bikerchick57 says:

    Great story, Joey. I’m happy for you that no one kicked your ass and you made a life-long friend in the process. I was “the nerd” too, but never the butt of anyone’s threats. I think I might have crawled into the corner and cried if that had happened to me. You handled that situation well, but it was probably a good thing you didn’t really know Jenny or Daniel until after they broke up.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. This is a really lovely, heart-warming story Joey. It is a wonderful day, indeed :-_)

    Liked by 1 person

  25. jetgirlcos says:

    A most amazing post, Joey. It’s like reading the definition of “growing up” in a poetic form. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This story really hit me. In a good way. You have such an amazing ability to take us back there and to feel all sorts of feelings.

    Congratulations on THIRTY! years.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. What a great story! 7th grade was definitely awkward for me… I started public school for the first time (and not at the beginning of the year). To make matters worse I was a prepubescent 11 year old.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. dalecooper57 says:

    What a lovely post, I’m very pleased for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Ah school memories. Glad you stayed friends. I’m still friends with my school best friend just not close. People change. I ignored people then cried my eyes out at night. Oh, I would not go back. I had friends, small school, just mean girls who liked to be nice to your face and then talk smack on you. Maybe that’s why I don’t have a really close “girl” friend anymore. lol. Hubby is my best friend and I am happy with that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  30. larva225 says:

    7th grade was HORRIBLE. I’m glad you got something good out of it!


  31. Anxious Mom says:

    Loved reading this! And I’m glad that Jenny Jones didn’t kick your ass back then and doesn’t have plans to do so now. If she did now, I’d put money on you.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. kirizar says:

    Just like high school, I got a little lost in the whirl of popular people so very far out of my reach. At first, I thought, Drew was going to be the love of your life! (Not that friends can’t be, but you know…hearts and flowers kind of love.) Who did you end up marrying? Was it Adam of the handshake? That must have been some handshake!


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