On the first day of Grade One, I sat in my big kid desk, and tried not to cry.  I’d skipped kindergarten.  I didn’t know any of these kids.  There was a display of bright posters on the back wall.  I turned around in my seat to get a better look. 

“What the fuck are you looking at?  Turn around!” 

This girl was big, and she had crazy eyes,  and now she hated me.  I did as I was told.  At recess, I found out her name was Nadine.  This wasn’t her first run at Grade One.  By the time her family moved away 6 or 7 years later, she’d failed so many times that no one could remember who her original classmates were.  After a while, I figured out she wasn’t mean, just really weird.  She didn’t pick up on cues.  She was insecure, yet she didn’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thought of her.


Nadine went to our friend Lisa’s house for dinner.  Lisa’s parents thought Nadine was lovely.  She made polite small talk, complimented Lisa’s mom on the meal.  Nadine asked for a glass.  Lisa’s mom brought her one.  Then Nadine asked Lisa’s dad to pass the gravy.  He did.  Nadine poured herself a nice, big glass of gravy, and drank it down.  She never seemed to notice Lisa’s little brother’s mouth hanging open, or the way he couldn’t peel his eyes off her for the remainder of dinner.


When Prince Charles and Princess Diana were getting married, Nadine told us that her family had received an invitation.  Her family owned a business in town, clearly had a lot more cash floating around than the rest of us, and our farmer families.  As far as she was concerned, her family was the closest thing we had to royalty.  So of course they were invited.  But they couldn’t go.  They couldn’t find anyone to cover for them while they were gone.  Great privilege is accompanied by great responsibility.


We learned the mechanics of sex from Nadine.  She would bring her Barbies to school, demonstrate the way the bodies should be positioned.  She never, ever brought Ken, though.  Only Barbies.  She was in the middle of showing us a particularly athletic threesome one afternoon, when Mrs. Grant got suspicious of the group of girls huddled in the carragana trees.   She yelled at us, called Nadine an instigator.  The rest of us were horrified to be in trouble, felt shaky, didn’t know what to do.  Nadine packed up her dolls, made a face at Mrs. Grant’s back.  “She does this, too, you know.  Mrs. Grant probably does this with Mr. Grant every other night.”


Nadine failed out of our class in Grade Five.  I kind of lost track of her.  It was October of Grade Seven before I realized she hadn’t come back.  Her family sold their business.  They moved to the big city.


Nadine made out just fine.


13 responses to “Nadine

  1. The Grants’ shenanigans are famous. Everyone knows what they do every other night.

  2. I loved kids like Nadine in school. Ours was ‘Maggie’. Only problem is they always seem to end up dead or in prison.

  3. But how do you KNOW she turned out fine?

  4. my son has requested ‘gravy shots’ with holiday meals. i should be concerned?

    i like the “every other night” bit… such maturity to realize that married people don’t do it every night!

  5. That was quite entertaining!

  6. Nice. The picture you chose goes really well with the one I put up today, they look like long lost bffs.

  7. Most of of the weird ones do turn out alright 😉 I may not have been that weird, but maybe that’s why I’m working a 9-5 in a nondescript office tower 😛

  8. People in the Sun: I think they’d be pleased to know that. (Plus, “shenanigans” is in my top 5 favorite words. I love it so.)

    mongoliangirl: Like a moth to a flame. I knew she was weird, and 3 times out of 4, I’d walk away feeling just plain creeped out, but I couldn’t stay away.

    nurse: How does anyone know anything about anybody, these days? Facebook, of course. She’s living in Scandinavia, married to a guy in a band, and has a cute kid.

    daisyfae: No, I’d make a distinction between shots, and an entire glass. There’s a difference. (And yeah, I think she was privy to a whole lot of adult-type information that most of us weren’t).

    vinomom: Thank you!

    Stephanie: Sometimes. Other times, I feel like I was asleep through my childhood. Weird.

    formerlyfun: Great minds, and all that.

    Em: The weirdest kids were the ones who could ACT normal (say, from 9-5. In an office tower.)

  9. I am new to blogging and have been reading yours. You are a truly amazing writer!! My family gushes over my blog but I think you are really great!! Of course my family are the only ones who read my blog. I would love for you to venture over to mine and give me your honest opinion.

    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to read your masterful writing skills!!

  10. mtnangel: I’ve emailed you.

  11. I have a hard time picturing a child named Nadine, just like I can’t picture a child named Edna, Ethel, or even Phyllis. I mean, I know that these old ladies once were children named old lady names. Still, are you sure Nadine wasn’t a middle aged woman in disguise?

  12. Beej: Totally changed the name. I usually do. Her real name was much more age appropriate.

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