I had a neurologist appointment yesterday in Conway, Arkansas, “the city of Roundabouts.” The summer I turned 14, my mom moved us to Conway to be near her mother. My stepfather at the time also wanted to find work in that city. When I started school in the fall, it was a culture shock. I went from a tiny rural school with only 16 in my entire grade to a whole campus for two grade levels. My mom only kept us in that district for 9 weeks before they moved us to Greenbrier. During that time, I did not make one single friend. I wasn’t bullied. No one spoke to me though, and I was quiet. There were cliques. I did NOT fit in. I was poor, from the Ozark foothills, had a country accent, was overwhelmed surrounded by so many students, and this was 1990 in the era before welcoming committees and “make the new kid feel part of the crowd” movements.
After my doctor appointment yesterday, I asked my husband if he’d drive me the fifteen miles outside of Conway into Greenbrier because I’ve not been back since I was 14. He agreed as long as I was feeling up to it.
Greenbrier was my saving grace. While that school system was still a LOT larger than the small schools I’d come from, the kids there were welcoming. I made friends the first day. I wasn’t swallowed up in the crowd. Yes, the cliques existed like they do at all schools, but someone spoke to me. That’s all I actually needed at the larger school…just someone to speak to the silent girl keeping her head down going to classes while shaking and quaking on the inside.
By February of 1991, I was back in the Ozark foothills. The tiny rural school with 16 in my class had been annexed into another rural school district 19 miles from my home. I was back with my friends. Thankfully, I stayed in that district until I graduated high school. I attended 5 schools total during my childhood and teen years.
Even though I’m worn out from the extra time in the vehicle yesterday, I enjoyed getting to see Greenbrier. We went into a few flea markets and antique shops. My husband works a lot of hours, and I’m often alone. We were able to spend some much needed time together. I got a migraine about five miles from our house on the way home, but at least it didn’t hit DURING the trip.
Also, I am being scheduled to get a port placed because my veins are no good. I backed out of the surgery earlier in the summer until I could see my neurologist. I’m honestly not looking forward to this next step in my life but know I have no choice. It’s time to go forward with the process.
Maybe, it’s why I wanted to take that trip to Greenbrier…down memory lane. It was a time right before my body started fainting.
I lived there the winter before I first fainted.
We were the poorest I’ve ever been in my life BUT I’d never fainted.
Mom had $5 to spend on each of us that Christmas.
BUT…I’d never fainted.
I did enjoy going back there yesterday.