We rented a two-bedroom house in Socorro. Bronco and I would be sharing a room. I dreaded returning to school, especially in the middle of the year. This would be the second time in Socorro. My first experience had been a flop, as far as I was concerned. I tried to lift my lacking self-esteem. I had been popular in Kirtland. It if had happened there, surely it could be the same in Socorro.
Instead of Elementary school, I would be attending the
. The Junior High classes were located in one wing by themselves. School assemblies and lunches were shared with the older classes. Socorro High School
As I entered the school, I could feel myself shrinking, but I didn’t want to return to my shell. I wanted to retain the confidence I had experienced in Kirtland. Purposely, I determined to be more out going. Consequently, I made friends. Two of my best friends were Julia Montoya and Jill Hollinger. Julie was one of the nicest girls in the seventh grade, and instinctively I knew I could trust her. She did prove to be a loyal friend. When Mom found out I had a Spanish friend, she wasn’t happy.
“Gloria, if you run around with the Spanish, the white kids won’t have anything to do with you.” Mom said with concern.
I brought Julie home. After Mom met her, she never said I couldn’t be a friend with Julie. I think she realized what a nice girl Julie was. My friends had one problem; she was diabetic. She told me, once a day, her mother had to give her insulin shots. I cringed at the thought! I had always hated needles. I felt Julie was the most courageous person I knew.
Jill was a year ahead of me in school. She had shoulder length, dishwater blond hair, glasses over blue eyes, and a giggle that triggered my giggle. She had a mad crush on Raymond Romero. But, it was a social “No-No” to date a Spanish boy. Jill’s mother, who was originally from an eastern state, thought the prejudice was unjustified. Jill's Mom allowed her to date Raymond despite public opinion.
Another friend was Ray Smith. He was the boy next door. Ray was the picture of an All-American boy. He had brown wavy hair highlighted with a touch of auburn. His eyes were green with dark curly lashes, and his nose was small and pugged at the end. Freckles generously sprinkled across his nose and rosy cheeks. Ray was easy to talk to, and had a pleasant disposition. Actually, we considered ourselves more then friends. We had a crush on one another. Our infatuation survived until I switched my affections to another boy. Ray didn’t want our relationship to change, even though I told him we could still be friends. One day, after school, I was talking to my new heartthrob as we stood in my yard. Ray was hanging around and refused to leave. I was getting irritated.
“Ray, go home and leave us alone,” I said angrily as I gave him a push in that direction.
Ray’s face was a mixture of hurt, anger and embarrassment. He turned on his heel and left. I felt guilty, because I had hurt Ray’s feelings. As I joked around with my new boyfriend, I soon forgot my old crush.
The incident left a wedge between Ray and me. When I passed him in the hall at school, he looked straight ahead, as if I didn’t exist. When I was outside at home, he never came out. The only time I was around him was when our families got together. Little did I realize how Ray would affect my life.