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The Girl Who Was a Persona Non Grata, Part VII
They Called Her Rag Doll
The janitor saw Collette and Hope smoking cigarettes. He was clearly shocked, admonishing the girls that they were too young to smoke. He further added that this was not becoming behavior for young ladies. Collette just looked lackadaiscally at the janitor, telling him to go away. Hope and Collette continued to laugh while inhaling smoke.
Then there was a knock on the bathroom door, it was Miss Bruce. She was very annoyed at the two girls, summoning them to Dr. Sorenson's office. He seemed very perplexed when informed of this. He sternly lectured Collette and Hope about smoking in the school. He further asserted that their parents would be notified. Collette just laughed at Dr. Sorenson, stating that they did not care at all. She further added that as far as they were concerned, she was the adult in the house as she brought in the paycheck. Hope was apparently nonchalant about this. After the lecture, Dr. Sorenson released the girls in the custody of Miss Bruce.
Miss Bruce did not know what to do about this. She was surprised that such intelligent and mature girls would act this way. Hope was apparently becoming worse under the influence of Collette. Cassandra lectured Hope regarding the importance of staying away from Collette as she was nothing but BAD NEWS! Hope, as usual, refused to heed Cassandra's advice. Hope was simply in awe of Collette's prodigious talents and magnificence. There was nothing I nor Cassandra could do at this point!
To both our dismay, Hope followed Collette. It was if she was her number 1 fan. She loved the air Collette breathed. In the second week of June 1963, Collette decided to have a mature themed party for her friends. Of course, Hope was invited. Collette decided to invited some "older" boys from an very exclusive school on the Upper East Side. These boys were 7th and 8th graders.
Hope revealed this to Cassandra and me. She further stated that she asked her father if she could attend the party. Mr. Cairn was extremely reluctant for his daughter to attend such a party because he know what occurred at such parties. He clearly do not want Hope to be in a deleterious situation that she would regret.
Hope stated that her father refused to let her attend the party. She asked Cassandra and me what should she do. We suggested that she listen to her father, of course. She just looked at us blankly, stating that this was the party of the year. She further asserted that she must go to the party or she would be an-OUTCAST! I knew that Hope was indeed changing for the worse. Years ago, being an outcast was the furthest thing from Hope's mind. Now, she was to be part of the crowd. Where was the old Hope?
Nevertheless, Hope sneaked out of the house to attend Collette's party despite her father admonitions. The party atmosphere was at first innocent but towards the late evening and into the night, the atmosphere became darker and less innocent. Girls were pairing off with the boys to indulge in not so innocent activities. One of the 7th grade boys at the party was extremely attracted to Hope. She sensed this and kissed him innocently on his lips.
The boy then beckoned Hope to a secluded area. However, she sensed that something was not right regarding this situation and she declined him. This boy became more adamant, refusing to take no for an answer. As the boy became more aggressive, Hope gathered immense courage and started to fight him off, scratching his face in the process.
This boy began to laugh at Hope, stating that she had the reputation of being well-"easy." Hope just looked blankly at him. The other girls as well as Collette were laughing uproariously. Hope just could not understand the situation at all. She then asked for Collette's help but to no avail. Collette was the one laughing the loudest at Hope. Hope seemed bewildered and started crying.
The more Hope showed her complete vulnerability, the more fierce and deadly Collette became. There was no quarter to be granted to Hope. She continued crying. The other guests gathered around her, saying nothing. The boy involved just called her a worthless tease and went into the kitchen with Collette. Collette returned from the kitchen, stating to Hope that she definitely KNEW what type of party this was-she was a big girl now, not a child!
Hope looked so lost. Collette, of course, offered no sympathy to Hope, totally discounting her in the presence of the guests. Hope was left with no other recourse but to leave the party. Collette offered some clemency. She summoned the limousine driver to take her home. No good byes, nothing!
The Monday after the party, rumors in the 5th grade were awhirl regarding Hope's "loose" reputation. Hope was at a total lost. She did not know what to do! She noticed that the boys in the class were looking at her differently! What was wrong, she wondered. Then she saw Collette smiling demonically at her while the other girls in the group were snickering.
Hope then deducted the situation. Collette spread a malicious rumor about Hope's reputation. Hope, of course, being plucky confronted Collette who acknowledged what she did. Then Hope ducked Collette hard, very hard. Collette got up from the classroom floor, looked at her and stated that she would be an outcast-no longer included in the group. Hope looked at her and said fine with her. Collette walked up to Hope, stating that from now on she would be totally ALONE- WITHOUT ANY FRIENDS! Hope just smiled and walked triumphantly away!
The 1962/1963 school year has ended and yet another summer began. Hope was to going away to an exclusive girls camp paid for by charitable donations. I`was to spend a summer with my maternal second cousin in Cape Cod. I was greatly anticipating this immensely! Cassandra had to go with her parents to Hollywood for a movie. She had a bit part in the movie! She told me that she would divulge all the details when we return to school.
Summer 1963 has ended and we are in sixth grade. This is a transition between elementary and junior high school. The teachers informed us that we were not children in the strictest sense but are young adults. Our teacher was Miss Chou. She was in her early twenties and completely stoic. She approached education as if it was surgery. In fact, her parents were surgeons in China. They left with Miss Chou and her two younger sisters when Mao took over China after World War II.
Miss Chou was not one for frivolity. In fact, she wanted complete dedication and silence in class. Even though she came from a wealthy family, she believed in strict meritcracy. No favorites in her book! Miss Chou was also the strictest teacher we add. She thought nothing of giving us three to four hours of homework each night. When some of the students complained about this, she warned that the harder one studies now, the easier in life one has it!
Besides being a strict teacher, Miss Chou was a disciplinarian to the infinite degree. She thought nothing of retaining a student after school and during recess. Miss Chou believed that discipline is good for students and strengthen their character. The only pupils who were totaly displeased with Miss Chou were.........Barbara Montpelier and her nemesis, Collette Tyler. They were about to butt heads with Miss Chou.............but with quite disastrous effects.............