December 9, 2011
Recess. 1982. Laura, Jen, Kelly, Jenni, and I stand on the raised concrete slab by the cafeteria kitchen’s back door, near the empty milk crates. We are singing Joan Jett’s, “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” as passionately and loudly as we can. Over and over again. We stomp our feet. We raise our arms triumphantly. We are irreverent and strong and cool. We are a gang of 9 and 10-year-old girls, and we are awesome and liberated and yes, we know what that words means.
Sometimes a rotating cast of other girls would feel brave enough to join us. And then the gang felt like a mob, like the start of something else.
Sometimes the boys would stop killing each other long enough to stand with their arms folded against their chest and scowl at us – or laugh. Sometimes they just rolled their eyes and said, “Come onnnnnn. Let’s play kickball.” Sometimes we would stop singing and play kickball, but mostly, we just sang louder.
The teacher’s aides who policed recess watched us out of the corner of their eyes, vacillating between looking annoyed and amused.
I know neither how the singing started, nor why it ended.
But there are days when I want it back. The singing. The stomping. The arms raised. The feeling that I could do anything, that we could do anything.
If we just sang loud and long enough.