Recently one of my co-workers was talking about her daughter starting middle school, specifically accessorizing her locker, and it made me think back to my first experience with a locker in middle school.
Some of my friends were excited about starting middle school, but most were nervous. They had heard stories of what it was like from their older siblings, and I’m pretty sure those stories were greatly exaggerated! I was sad about leaving elementary school, but fairly indifferent when it came to starting middle school. When we talked about it, some of them were worried about being late to class or not being able to get their locker open. Even with all my neurotic tendencies, I didn’t share any of their concerns. I thought a locker was a silly thing to worry about. I had practiced opening locks on those fake mini lockers at Limited Too, and besides that it didn’t look too hard on Saved by the Bell! The biggest fear of mine was not having any friends in my classes or, more importantly, in my lunch period.
My first day of middle school had been going fairly well, and then came lunchtime. I figured I would stop at my locker to grab my lunch and switch my morning books with my afternoon ones. Sounds easy enough! I headed to the third floor where I knew my locker was, and walked up and down the hallway looking for the number I had written on the paper in front of me. “It must be near my homeroom,” I rationalized, so I started there. I walked up and down the hallway for a few minutes, and couldn’t find that number. “It was here this morning. I don’t understand how I could be missing it!” I continued walking, and passed a locked with a big soccer ball sticker on it. “I wish my locker stood out like that one,” I thought. Luckily, I saw my homeroom teacher and math teacher walking towards me. I decided I had to ask for help so I stopped them. They helped me find it fairly easily – it was two lockers down from the soccer ball sticker I passed three times!
“The bell already rang, but since it’s the first day they’ll be lenient,” they cautioned me.
“Oh, it’s okay, I’m going to lunch,” I replied.
“You still have to be there on time.”
“They take attendance at lunch?” I asked, incredulously.
“No, but if you walk in late without a pass too many times you’ll get detention.”
This didn’t make sense to me; I thought it was a stupid rule. It was lunch. If I missed a few minutes, I’d just eat faster. I later learned they had a lot of rules I didn’t quite agree with. “Oh, well can I have a pass then?” I was at the complete opposite part of the school so I figured it’d be safer to have one, just in case.
“I don’t have any. Do you?” one teacher asked, turning to the other.
“No. Just get down there as soon as you can and you’ll be fine.”
They walked away and I sighed. If I got in trouble, I was going to explain the situation and give their names.
I opened my locker. Something fell out and hit in on the head. I looked down where it rolled, and then up. My brown bag lunch on the top shelf of the locker had opened and a clementine had rolled out.
“Welcome to middle school,” I thought as I grabbed my books and sprinted towards the cafeteria.