Kristin: That makes me think, um, when we moved, I was, we were living in Michigan. At the time we always considered it “the North”. But actually it’s the north of the Midwestern states. But then moving to a southern state, I definitely had a northern accent. And some of the words I used were different, too, like “pop” for, for…
Kristin: …soda. So I was, I was ridiculed by kids for my accent, for sure.
Joe: Yeah, you know another difficult thing for me was that the area that we moved to was affluent. And, I mean, we certainly were not rich. So, y’know, uh, and you could see it from the clothes we wore to the cars that my parents drove. I mean…
Joe: …y’know, we had these old clunkers and everyone else in the neighborhood has these brand new cars, y’know. So it was pretty obvious, like, we would turn a lot of heads driving past people.
Kristin: Oh my god, that sounds so much like, like my situation. We moved from a very blue collar area – my, my parents being teachers, were very blue collar as well – to a very affluent area, a lot of doctors and lawyers. And I can remember moving. We [laugh]… My mom drove this yellow and black Gremlin [laugh]…
Joe: [laugh] Yeah, they don’t make those anymore…
Kristin: [laugh] No. I….
Joe: …and there’s a reason for it.
Kristin: [laugh] I would get dropped off at school from… come in the Gremlin. I would be so embarrassed. And then, y’know, we didn’t have the designer clothes that all the kids we went to school with wore. So, we w-, it just was very stressful trying to keep up with the Joneses and buying these designer clothes. It was, uh, very stressful for me and my brothers. But also we put a lot of pressure on our parents to buy these. And they just couldn’t afford it.
Joe: Yeah, that sounds familiar.
Kristin: I c-, I gotta tell you one story I can remember. My mom actually, she can’t sew. And she had sewn me this pair of knickers… Knickers at one point were back in style. Do you know what those are?
Joe: Yes, yeah.
Kristin: And they were horrible looking. And I wore ‘em to school and all the kids were makin’ fun of me on the playground.
Joe: Oh, my gosh.
Kristin: I was just standing in the corner by myself about to cry. And then I went home and I was like “Mom, I want real knickers. I want you to buy ‘em in the store for me.”
Joe: Yeah, kids can be cruel.
Joe: I know kids can be cruel because, I’ll tell you what, I had to, uh… I had a really bad experience right before I started school the summer that I moved to Pennsylvania. I’m playin’ football with the kids in the neighborhood…
Joe: …and, of course, what happens is, I get tackled and someone falls on my leg and it breaks my ankle.
Kristin: [laugh] Oh no.
Joe: I couldn’t believe it. So I’m sittin’ there, tryin’ to, y’know, act as, uh, if, like, it doesn’t hurt that much. But, I mean, it hurt a lot. And then, y’know, the kids thought I was cryin’ wolf. They didn’t really think I was hurt at all.
Joe: So I have to walk away and, uh, walk home on a broken ankle. And, I mean, I just felt like screamin’ at the top of my lungs. I was in so much pain. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t do it because I didn’t want the kids to think I was, like, some wimp.
Kristin: [laugh] Oh, oh…
Joe: So, it gets worse [laugh]. I have to go to school with a cast on my leg to start the school year.
Joe: So I’m the new kid with the thick accent, the clothes that look out of place, y’know. Nobody knows me and I have a cast on my foot. And my, y’know, I can’t take a shower, y’know. I can’t shower the leg so my toes are a little dirty…
Joe: …I mean I wanted nothin’ more than to move back to New York that very moment, the first day of school.
Kristin: God, I bet you stuck out like a sore thumb.
Joe: Oh ma-, you can’t imagine. It was the worst. I, I mean I think for the first two years I lived in Pennsylvania I just wanted to hop on a bus and get back to New York as fast as I could.
Kristin: Yep, that was me… wanting to move back to Michigan, too.
Joe: Wh- [laugh]…
Joe: But, uh, y’know, I, at least you moved at an earlier age. It’s a lot easier because, y’know, when you’re younger it’s just, uh… Y’know, all the kids are getting familiar with each other. But when you move, and you’re a little older, the kids already know each other. Y’know, they’ve already combined the elementary schools into the middle school, uh, for when I had moved there.
Kristin: Yeah, but you know, ironically enough, um, my older brother, I think, had an easier time adapting. And he was starting seventh grade. I was starting third grade. My younger brother was starting second grade. And my younger brother and I had a really rough time.
Joe: Yeah, well, y’know, as much as I hated it when I first, uh, had moved to Pennsylvania, now in looking back, I think it was really a blessing in disguise. I mean there were so many other opportunities that came available to us from living in Pennsylvania and going to a school district that, y’know, was, uh, had a lot more money. And the education that we got was better. And it just provided me, uh, with a much better starting point for, uh, college.
- Michigan: a state in America
- Midwestern states: states in the middle of America
- accent: the way it sounds when someone speaks
- pop: a drink
- soda: a drink; same as pop
- ridiculed: made a mean joke about someone
- affluent: rich
- old clunkers: old cars that have a lot of problems and look bad
- neighborhood: the area where you live
- brand new: completely new
- pretty obvious: really easy to understand
- turn a lot of heads: get a lot of attention; make people look
- blue collar: the people have jobs that do not make a lot of money
- Gremlin: the name of an of American car that is no longer made
- designer clothes: expensive clothes
- keep up with the Joneses: to try to own all the same things as people you know in order to seem as good as them
- stressful: makes you worry
- couldn’t afford it: did not have enough money
- knickers: a type of girls pants that do not go below the knees
- back in style: to be fashionable again
- horrible: very bad
- playground: a place where children play
- standing in the corner: standing away from the other children
- cruel: mean
- I’ll tell you what: this is what I think
- Pennsylvania: a state in America
- tackled: thrown to the ground
- cryin’ wolf: to try to get attention by saying something that is not true
- screamin’ at the top of my lungs: yelling very loud
- wimp: someone who is weak
- cast: something that is put on you’re arm or leg when it is broken
- look out of place: to look like you do not belong or fit in
- stuck out like a sore thumb: look out of place; to look like you do not belong or fit in; same as look out of place
- hop on a bus: get on a bus
- getting familiar with: getting to know
- combined: to put together
- elementary schools: primary school; school for children between ages 5 and 10
- middle school: school after primary school; for children between ages 11 and 13
- ironically: something you would not think is true but it is
- adapting: getting used to
- rough: difficult
- looking back: to think of a time in the past
- a blessing in disguise: something that is good that you do not think is good at first