Hi imaginary friends,
I love saying that as I never had one as a kid
“A window a window,
Through it shall see,
by Patti Ross
A little poem I wrote while at the Orme school in Mayer, AZ. I attended this school freshman year and had to repeat just to get in because they allowed nothing below a “C” grade to get in and I had a “D” in freshman English at New Trier High school.
Orme School was a magical experience and one I credit with saving my life. I had fallen in with a very rich crowd of kids in Winnetka, IL on the North Shore of Chicago known for it’s wealth. I was scared to death as they were all doing heavy drugs and were sexually active and I weighed 160 at the time having lost 15 lbs at “Fat Camp” the summer before. That’s a story for another time. I didn’t want to be with these kids but they were the “cool” kids and I was “lucky” to be in the mix.
My brother had a virus that caused him to have a heart attack at 16 so he had to repeat and chose to repeat away from home and when I was offered the chance I jumped at it as well. I was a poor student all my life… another story I’ll tell later and I had brilliant roommates at Orme that taught me how to study.
My first day there my brother was sitting with his “cool” friends, he’d been there the year before, and as I came walking up he said loudly, “oh here comes my sister, she’s here to join the football team”. We you can imagine how that made me feel as an insecure, fat, ugly, 15 yr old girl with long blond hair. Let the shaming begin anew in a fresh place. There goes the “fresh start” I’d hoped to have.
Two of my most important defining moments came from this school. One was when a teacher, Alex Cuthbert asked ”Patti, are your feet that interesting?” He had noticed that I never looked at people and walked around with my head down all the time. I realized from that that maybe that was not serving me well. The other one was in the very same spot outside of Founders Hall leaving a meal. Because I was fat and ugly, my way to keep people away was to act cool and like a bitch. I thought…”Gee what is this getting me?” Certainly not the friends that I so desperately wanted. I decided right then and there that I never wanted anyone to feel as badly as I did so I would be kind to EVERYONE from now on. Wow did that change my life. There is a third life changing event at Orme and that was all the wonderful roommates I had over the three years I attended that school who taught me how to study and I earned As & Bs through the rest of my school years at Orme, New Trier, Columbia College, Lake Forest College and Colorado Institute of Art. Wow… that’s a lot of schooling for someone that not only repeated to get into Orme but actually flunked first grade… another story I will tell later.
So back to the window thing as I see this is getting long. I was inspired to write about that from a post from “Ann Adams” on FB today. She remarked about having lost down to size 4 and she is my same build and is as tall as I am. I’m down to a 4 as well and it reminded that I don’t recognize the person in the window as I walk along the streets of La Jolla. That’s a thin person which in my mind’s eye I have never been. Now at age 55 I like the look of the girl looking back at me in those windows. Cheers!