As for when a lad starts noticing girls, I can only speak for myself and to this day I can look back at an old class picture and pick out the girl that I liked each year…all the way back to the 1st grade! In the 6th grade it was Kay, then Donna in the 7th, but in the 8th and 9th it was Gay, Julie, and Celia, our Meadowbrook Buffalo cheerleaders. Good golly, they were cute and effervescent in those gold skirts and green blouses. For 2-years they held the attention of the entire school as they led cheers from the stage and on the sidelines.
Boys always believed that a pretty girl had an older boyfriend as well as a long line of others standing ready. Whether that was true or not wasn't clear until you saw her walking in the hallways with a smug looking boy. Not until you got a little older...and bolder, did it occur to you to ask her if she was really pleased with her beau or not. At the very least you got a conversation going and maybe even planted a seed in that lovely, yet fickle little mind.
When yearbooks came out I always sought to get the school’s cheerleaders and selected others to sign mine. Meadowbrook issued no yearbook so, I got Gay, Julie, and Celia to sign my little 9th grade directory; they presented me with “Love ya” twice and “Sincerely” once along with a pretty standard sentiment that stars wrote for their fans.
Actually, all three of them were solid friends and school mates of the most charming sort. Gay was always upbeat with a ready wit; Julie was the little effervescent one with a great contagious smile; and Celia was thoughtful and reserved. They were smart—all of them members of NHS and I was fortunate to have counted them among my friends.
When we went to EHHS in 1960, Dianah Barton and Suzanne Hoffman, both from Handley, were our sophomore cheerleaders and kept those spots all the way through high school doing a great job. I forget whether the class voted for the cheerleaders or they were chosen some other way. If it was a vote, I would wonder how the smaller Handley contingent could have overwhelmed the larger group from Meadowbrook. Be that as it may, over 50-years ago we saw the last of Gay, Julie, and Celia leading cheers for us. Too bad...they were good.
A couple of years before they became Meadowbrook Buffalo stars, Gay and Celia were 6th grade students in Mr. Blackstone's class. Julie was in Mrs. Few's class then, but absent the day the class picture was taken. Do you wonder how I know that?
Added August 2013.
As an 8th grade transfer to Meadowbrook I brought a one year Junior High experience at Richland Jr. Hi. with me. Richland was about twice the size of Meadowbrook so, I had spent much of that year bewildered as the 2 classes my elementary school contributed to the mix were joined by about 9 or 10 other elementary school classes from elsewhere.
For whatever reasons, the Richland cheerleaders, all of them older 8th & 9th grade women, caught my attention. Of course, they caught the attention of every other lad in the school, too. A 7th grade kid is mostly 12-years old all year long, which means that if a girl, she was probably firmly in the transition to becoming a young woman; however, if a boy....well, not quite ! I think a girl's 6th grade was similar to a boy's 7th grade, since girls tend to lead boys through that period (yes) by about 18-months.
About the only way I could think of to get a little closer to them was to ask them sign my yearbook. Already a fairly accomplished autograph collector with signatures of Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle in the book, I had them all sign on the same page...which became my "pretty girl" page in that 1958 yearbook.
At Meadowbrook the next fall, I already knew that finding a way to be noticed by one or more of the cheerleaders was very likely a way to speed the transition into the new school population. So, before Gay, Julie, and Celia there were these lovely gals showing the way....