High school was not a happy time for me. I was painfully shy and always felt as though I was on the outside looking in. I knew that I would love college but I also knew that I just had to get through high school as quickly as I could. Toward that end, I went to school every semester, summer, winter, spring, and fall, with no breaks in between.
It was during this time that I became aware of the Go-Getters, a service organization that seeks to promote school and community spirit in support of interschool competitive activities. Theoretically, anyone could join. I say theoretically because the only ones who passed the interview process were the popular girls. I was not one of them.
The old saying, “birds of a feather flock together” was absolutely true during those years. I didn’t have any close friends but I did have some study partners as well as three other girls who weren’t popular and who didn’t fit in.
Needless to say, if you weren’t popular and you didn’t fit in, you also didn’t get invited to parties.
As a deep introvert, I didn’t care about not being invited to parties but I did care about not getting into the Go-Getters because I wanted to make a difference. I wasn’t aware that their purpose was to promote sporting events; I just thought that they were promoting our school and our community.
One day, I called my three friends, the other girls who were as unpopular as I was and told them my idea.
I decided that the four of us should form our own club, a secret club, and no one would be allowed to know that our total membership was four girls.
As a response to the Go-Getters, a club that rejected my membership, I decided that our club would be named the We-Gottems. The Go-Getters had black satin jackets with Go-Getters emblazoned on the back of their jackets and the member’s name on the front of it and I decided that our We-Gottems would do the same with our jackets.
I remember taking one of my jackets and embroidering We-Gottems on the back of it and my name over the pocket in front. The other girls did the same with their jackets. And we wore our jackets to school and didn’t answer questions about our club. When anyone asked, we said our membership was secret.
One day, I decided that we needed to do something a little more adventuresome so I told my friends that we should have a party and invite a few popular Go-Getters and a few popular boys and tell the boys the names of the popular girls who were going to be there and tell the girls the names of the popular boys who had accepted our invitation.
Surprisingly enough, it worked. My three friends and I were no more popular than before but at least we were no longer on the outside looking in. We were at this party with the popular people.
When anyone asked us where our other members were, we told them they had other commitments. No one asked us the hard questions about our club; they were just happy to be invited to a party where other popular students were invited.
I probably would have been ignored except that the party was being held at my house. We had a gramophone and I was kept busy winding the handle and changing the vinyl 78 rpm records for dancing, so at least I had something to do with my time.
After we saw how successful that party was, I asked my friends how they felt about having more parties, using the same strategy. They went along with my idea and every few weeks we would have another party.
We invited different Go-Getters to each party and different popular boys who hadn’t been invited to the other parties. That way, no one could guess that these parties were being held by the same four girls and that we had no one else in our club. The girls and boys looked forward to being invited to our parties because popular students were always there.
I was always coming up with new ideas to make the We-Gottems visible without giving away our secret membership. The one thing I noticed was that no one cared as long as they were considered popular enough to be included.
That was a huge learning experience for me. Imagine that!! Popular students were concerned about other students thinking they were popular enough to be included. Whodathunkit?
I wasn’t allowed to date until I was sixteen, my senior year, but the other boys and girls were all old enough to go out on dates so there were no longer enough students to invite to our parties. The club had served our purpose so we disbanded it and began to concentrate on our college entrance exams.
Unfortunately, the best lessons in life are often revealed to us many years after we experience them. So, too, with the lessons I learned from those high school years. It took a lot of years to realize that I was creative enough to make lemonade from lemons and that no matter what the circumstances, I would always find a way to survive. It’s a lesson that has served me well.