Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

The Donut Store Story….Boys AND Girls in Trouble Part II

on October 7, 2006

It’s been a few weeks since I posted, “Boys in Trouble,”  And a recent comment on that post, reminded me I hadn’t finished it…so here it is..

The Dunkin Donut Middle School Story

My middle school (North Kirkwood Middle School), was across the street from a Dunkin Donuts. (Does Dunkin Donuts still exist? They’ve vanished from the Pacific Northwest). After school, we all piled into the donut shop, sat on plastic twirling seats and stuffed our face with donuts. We went so often that I had a “donut flavor” for every year of middle school, starting with Chocolate Cream Filed Donuts and moving on to Big Chocolate Chip Cookies with a gooey center by the time I was in the eighth grade.

So, there we are…a bunch of loud middle school kids (grades 6 to 8), stuffing our faces with donuts, pushing aside the adults in the shop by our loudness, and harassing the mean old woman who worked behind the counter. Yep, you read that right…we drove her crazy! As an adult who has worked in restaurants, I know that she was probably irritated that she had to wait on a group of middle school kids who were loud, didn’t tip, and usually left spilled water, crumbled napkins and bits of donuts on the counter and floor. But, as a pre-teen, I couldn’t see any of that.

 Instead, all I saw was a mean woman who liked to be nasty to us when she served our donuts. Truth be told, I was scared to death of her most of the time, but there was no way I was admitting that to my friends and risk loosing the “trying to be cool” appearance.

The donut shop gang was usually the same people. We all lived in one area of town and walked to school. We didn’t have parents who picked us up, or buses to catch, and most of us had parents who worked and we weren’t expected home at a certain time. We usually had a bit of money from babysitting or odd jobs such as mowing the lawn, and the after school donut shop ritual became freedom for us. We were testing the waters of being on our own, asking for our own donuts, and okay, being more than a little mean to the donut shop worker…but really, she was mean to us!  

So, there we were, testing the waters. And test we did. As we moved into 8th grade, we began to test the donut shop lady more and more. More water spilled, more napkins left on the floor, and our responses to her became snotty and it wasn’t just spoken under our breath or when we left the donut shop, we began smarting off to her face…until THE DAY….

 The DAY finally arrived. The worker lady had enough of us. And she kicked us out. But, the surprising part was that it wasn’t the boys who were the usual culprits of donut shop mayhem, no, it was ME and a girlfriend who were kicked out of the donut shop for spilling a glass of water. “It’s just a glass of water!” We cried on our way out the door as the boys raised their eye-brows and shoved more donuts into their mouths. “Out,” the Donut shop lady said. “Out.”

We left.  

But the story didn’t stop there for me, because you see, instead of church, my Dad took us to the Donut Shop. Every Sunday, we went to the Donut Shop for our dozen donuts.  But, now I had a little problem. I had been kicked out of the Donut Shop, and so how on earth was I going to go back in on Sunday with my Dad and order our dozen donuts?

Sunday arrived. I thought I might throw up. I tried to smile and pretended everything was fine as we pulled up in front of the pink donut shop and Dad held the door. My heart pounded. I sweated. The shop was crowded like it always was on Sundays. I slowly raised my eyes and looked around. The lady wasn’t there. She didn’t work on Sundays. I was safe.

We ordered our dozen donuts.

I never told my parents that I had been kicked out of the donut shop. I wasn’t sure how they would react to the news that their usually very good daughter had been kicked out of the local donut shop.  And every Sunday I was always nervous and sick in my stomach as I wondered if that lady would be there.

One Sunday she was there. And as we stepped to the counter, she looked right through me and took the order from my Dad. At that point, I realized my secret was safe. Unless I told, my parents would never know I had been kicked out of the Donut Shop. (Until now…)

Today, I look back and the Donut Shop Story seems like a verymild way to assert my pre-teen rebellion. Very mild.

But, someday, the Donut Shop Story will make a great scene in a novel….and that feisty eighth grade girl will come roaring out on the page and tell her story, and I’ll smile because somewhere in me, that feisty eighth grade girl never left me. She emerges when I start writing, this voice that I thought had disappeared long ago, this girl voice who wants to conquer the world and push the boundaries, there she is, telling her stories, and I listen to her because today I know that feisty eighth grade girl has something important to say.

And I admit, sometimes, it’s still true, as an adult, I still have a tendency to want to push the boundary just a little further if I…

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