One of the overarching themes of both my history and international relations classes has been the Cold War. We’ve looked at the causes, the threats, the politics, and the effects both then and now. So it’s safe to say that I think or talk about the Cold War on a fairly regular basis. And, as much as I think about it in terms of class and lecture, it also makes me think of middle school.
Yes, middle school.
To my recollection, we didn’t study the Cold War in junior high. We were more focused on Ancient Greece and Egypt and the Renaissance. We didn’t get to modern history until high school. And the Cold War was well over by the time I entered 6th grade, so it wasn’t something that I’d grown up thinking about.
The Cold War reminds me of middle school because of a boy.
I met Griff probably the first day of 6th grade, and shortly after that he became my boyfriend. Basically, he walked me to classes, occasionally carried my books, complimented me, and we sometimes talked on the phone. It lasted all of a month.
He broke up with me by having one of our mutual friends come up to me in class and say, “Griff doesn’t want to date you anymore.” And my little 11-year-old heart was shattered. But I survived.
After the breakup, we didn’t really talk at all, save for group projects, so imagine my surprise when Griff started whispering things at me across the classroom, and in the hall. And it wasn’t just “things;” he would whisper the same phrase over and over:
“The Cold War is over! The Cold War is over!”
It was always in a kind of shouting whisper, like he didn’t want anyone to hear, but he was also trying to make his point.
To say I was confused would be an understatement.
I asked my friend, Lesser, what it meant (consequently, she was the one who had helped Griff break up with me, and she was also going out with his best friend), but she had no idea. I think I even asked my mom at one point, also without a satisfactory explanation.
You might argue that the most productive thing would have been to ask Griff what he meant, but that’s just logical. And how many logical 6th grade girls do you know?
Regardless, I never found out his reasoning behind the phrase. And even when we became friends years down the road, I never bothered to ask him. But now, every time we talk about the Cold War in class I think of Griff.
And I wonder if he would even remember saying it.