Ninth grade at Meadowbrook was both an interesting and confusing year. We were at the top of the Junior High School food chain and considerably larger than all the other kids in the halls. Our 7th and 8th grade years took us from kid games to boy/girl stuff to increasing competition for recognition in an expanding student population.
Lunch. There was a little time in the mornings before classes for socializing with friends but, the real socializing during school days was done at the school lunch tables. The tables seated about 8 comfortably and could accommodate a few more if the conversation was interesting. While there was no formal admission requirements for a spot at any of the tables, there was a habitual herding of the same friends each day that tended to either include or exclude occasional interlopers depending on whether or not the interloper had achieved some degree of acceptance. Acceptance was a complicated formula consisting of, in no particular order, humor, intelligence, athleticism, and personality...and maybe a few other traits that escape me now.
While I have no particular memory of who my table mates were, they were most likely the same group I've mentioned several times earlier....McCoy, Guthrie, Tate, Means, Dillard, Koebernick, Shields, Scott, Hoffman, Brandon, McCook, Rigby, Grizzard, Dickerson, Cox, and maybe a few others. Girls were the most frequent topic of conversation at those tables and I have a fairly clear recollection of hearing the very first description of a girl I would later fall for at EH. Most of those guys had known her since the elementary grades at Meadowbrook but, she apparently had only recently grown up and attracted their attention in a big way. They were in awe of her, and I must admit she was a lovely girl. But, as a jaded kid from Richland, I had seen other lovely girls by then and was intently focused on our cheerleaders...and, she wasn't a cheerleader thus, not the coolest available at the time.
Neighborhoods. Although the different neighborhoods didn’t play much of a role in our childhood world during these 8th and 9th grade years (1958-60), there were some discriminatory opinions held by some of our parents. Those notions were generally held on the basis of house size and location. For instance, west of Oakland was considered smaller and older, thus not the area held in high regard by our ambitious parents nor of much interest to those newly arriving to the area in the 1950s. To my knowledge, most of the houses west of Oakland were pre-WWII.
Several of our former classmates told of there being a somewhat subtle discrimination between the Meadowbrook neighborhoods. From what I can determine preferences were not any more than a fairly standard assumption of pecking orders of new vs. old and large vs. small houses and neighborhoods.
There was an area of larger homes (2000'+) built around Oakland Park in the early 1950s, near the W.B.A.P. TV station. The station went in about 1948 and probably drew some of our parents there to work. For the purposes of this discussion, "larger" means 3-2-2 or 3-1-1, homes and those around Oakland Park were probably the first of their size built in the area to any significant extent. Smaller, larger homes (~1600') were built just to the east of Meadowbrook Junior High School about this same time. So, the social center of the early fifties was in those areas. By the time we got into 9th grade and started to take notice of such things, the social center of the Meadowbrook area had shifted east along Meadowbrook Drive as those areas toward the new EHHS developed during the mid to late 1950s.
Sports, Clubs, Scouts. Sports continued to be a large influence on our young lives; so were the scouts that had brought us together in smaller groups in elementary school and continued keeping some of us together on into junior high. Special interest clubs were introduced by the school about this time and these provided yet more association opportunities. Since most of these activities were school centric, I think participation in any extra-curricular gatherings tended to favor those living nearby the school. Those of us living further to the east were somewhat isolated by the 3-4 mile distance.