I did not.want.to.go.to. Brown County.
I wanted to go to Little Miami Junior high with my friends and classmates, who included boys. My family lived outside Blanchester, in Warren County, and I had done the visit and 6th grade dance events at Little Miami, where everyone I knew would be. Plus I had a crush on Toby Adams, brother of Suzanne Adams Cajacob (BCU ’75) with whom I had shared a first kiss, thanks to a spin-the-bottle game (I had decided that that counted) at our first boy-girl party at the end of sixth grade. How could I possibly go to an all-girls school even further out in the middle of nowhere than my own family’s home?
I remember clearly the dark plaid jumper, white blouse, and black flats that I wore on our first day, a Sunday. I was twelve years old and in seventh grade, class of 1971. The older girls in their heels and hose, standing around for sign-ins in the Playhall, looked so sophisticated. I was clearly in trouble.
After our families left, we were ushered into the chapel for a benediction service. My family was nominally — very nominally – Methodist. I knew next to nothing about religion. No, make that less than nothing. So imagine:
All those women in long black dresses, white head and neck coverings, beads (what were those?) dangling from their belts, crucifixes (what were those?) jammed in their belts — it was a relief to discover that we were supposed to call them all “Sister,” since how would you ever tell them apart?
A container of water (what was that?) in the entryway to the chapel, and people crossing themselves (what was that?) and genuflecting (what was that)? A priest in resplendent robes (why?) raising a huge silver monstrance (what was that?) above our heads.
And just to be sure that everything was clarified, all the words were in Latin!
Dad, what have you done to me? I wondered. I was seriously in trouble.
After church, we were introduced to the refectory. I was assigned a seat across from one of my classmates — tall, imposing, and I think African-American/Puerto Rican. Not someone you would encounter in Blanchester, Ohio. “Hi!” I said in my friendliest voice. I had been to summer camp and I knew that you cpuld make friends easily over the dinner table. “My name is Robin!” “WHO CARES?” she thundered back.
Yeah. This school was definitely going to be a challenge. I wondered how fast I could arrange my return to Little Miami.