The W-L Club

I write about my childhood quite a bit. Perhaps because my memories are so vivid, I feel compelled to write them down. Perhaps if I understand who I was a child, I’ll better understand who I am now.

The other day, I got an email from a dear childhood friend. She was one of the original stomp girls about whom I’ve written. We who sang Joan Jett’s I Love Rock ‘N Roll at the top of our lungs at recess.

See, I had forgotten what started us in the first place. Until my friend Laura faxed me the gem below:

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 8.07.24 PMIt reads (with typos and misspellings included):

W-L Club

Women have rights. But how come their not equal? Some say that women are weak or to fragile to do a man’s job. For instance men think that women will never play football or baseball because we might break a fingernail. They don’t know about women inside. So I’ve started a club called W-L (Women’s Lib.) It will be at recess. You may ask questions and we’ll think about what to do to make a woman’s life better. We will work as a team. Why do some men act this way? Well they want to be A#1 of course they have to be better and stronger than women. Can we fight this for equal rights? I have know idea. Alot of women feel the same way we do. For more information, call Laura or Jenny.

Thank-you.

P.S. Keep this club private.

When I stopped laughing at how totally awesome and hilarious this little manifesto is, I felt that old feeling. I remember when the boys stopped letting us play football with them. I remember how some friendships vanished because we had reached the age when differences started creating distance. And, I remember how mad we were about it. Because all of a sudden, we weren’t just uninvited, we were no longer equal. Holy junior feminists, Batman! I get it. Now I remember the source of the stomping. If we were no longer invited, we would make our own party. We would sing loud. We would raise our fists. We would stomp. We would raise our fists. And one day, we would be equal.

We Love Rock ‘n Roll


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.