Oliver!

I spent the afternoon watching Oliver! with my girls. I had watched it when I was a kid, but not for 30+ years. I wasn’t really into musicals – I think I tolerated some – but as a kid I’d watch whatever was on or that my parents rented from the video store for me and Dave. I definitely like them more now…but a lot of that may just be a factor of seeing my girls enjoy them so much.

I remember telling a girl, Barbara Nolan, in my 3rd Grade class after I watched Oliver!. Somehow I knew she liked it. I don’t think I told her to impress her – I was way too quiet for that. Plus she wasn’t the kind of kid that I needed to impress. Having her like me wouldn’t increase my standing in the class at all. Barbara was different from the rest of the kids because she was into a lot of mature stuff. She liked musicals, British royalty, Shakespeare, and Camelot. In 3rd Grade that kind of stuff made you weird and being weird was bad. And as far as I was concerned, associating with the weird kids was bad too. It could only decrease my standing in the class. So I don’t know what would have made me reveal that I watched a musical. Maybe I felt bad that she didn’t have anyone to talk to about royalty and Camelot. This was finally something any of the “regular” kids could talk to her about.

I remember that Barbara at some point started calling me “Bill Sikes”. He is the worse villain in Oliver!. I don’t recall if I did something mean to earn this nickname or Barbara was just being playful. Outside of this, I don’t really remember having any other kind of interaction with her so maybe she was having fun. Hopefully I wasn’t mean.

As far as I remember there were no repercussions to my class standing. Maybe we kept it quiet or maybe the cool kids didn’t care. It’s strange how much pressure there was in school for that kind of stuff. I wonder how much of that “coolness ranking” was real or just my perception. And I wonder how different the school experience would be if I didn’t care about it either way.

What becomes of 3rd Graders that like British royalty and Camelot? I don’t think Barbara went to CHW with the rest of us, so I have no idea whatever became of her. Maybe she moved or went to a private school. I can only guess that she became successful at something. I was smart and I thought she was even smarter (I believe she was in TAG with me). Or maybe I only perceived her as intelligent because of the adult things that she liked. But unspecific to Barbara, what becomes of 3rd Graders like her? Do they ever flip and start liking beer and football? Or are they the ones that go on to like opera and ballet? Pam has a cousin that reminds me of this – highbrow and can be kind of stuffy at times. But from what Pam has told me I think she used to play like a “normal” child when they were kids. Maybe Barbara did too…and maybe I never new that because I only thought of her as weird and was personally too worried to be caught associating with that kind of kid.

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