(This is the second in a series of blogs for my new middle grade novel, A Whole New Ballgame, the first book in the Rip and Red series.)

 

Ninth period of junior high. Staring at the clock. The interminable wait for the minute hand to sweep past the eleven and twelve, curve around the one, and settle on the second-to-last tiny line before the two.

2:08.

It was called junior high back then, not middle school. It would become middle school a few years after I was gone. But when I went there, seventh grade, eighth grade, and ninth grade were junior high. Junior high dismissal was the same time all three years.

2:08.

One year, ninth period was social studies. One year, ninth period was science. One year, ninth period was math. Each year, ninth period was the longest period of the day. No matter the subject or person at the front of the room — I just wanted out.

2:08.

I’ve always had a thing for numbers – phone numbers, street addresses, and dates. That is until smartphones made me number stupid. Still, I can tell you that during freshman year of college, the cost of that late night sausage, green peppers, and onion large Domino’s pie was $9.67 (They accepted checks, too). I can tell you that when the New York Mets defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates at Shea Stadium on Saturday afternoon April 20, 1974 – the first baseball game I ever attended – they won by the score of 5-2. But one number more than any other – one time on the clock — left the deepest, most indelible impression.

2:08.

In my middle grade novel, A Whole New Ballgame, the students attend Reese Jones Elementary. The fifth grade classroom is on the second floor at the end of the hallway.

Room 208.

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