Once upon a time, there was a A). ____________ aptly named Juana Bea Bookhead. Her name was not inspired by anyone famous, like our friend Bobby O. from our earlier Latin review. Oh, no. Instead, Juana and Bea were just family names commonly reused in the Bookhead family, names that, until Juana Bea came along, were never used in that particular sequence.
Juana Bea lived with her B). ____________ father and her C). ____________ mother in a house full of stuffed dead animals in various stages of construct, pictures of Queen Elizabeth in varying stages of what could be considered her D). ____________, and of course, piles and piles and piles of books. It was a full life, the life the Bookheads lived.
There was one problem, however. Juana Bea had an embarrassing “condition.” Her condition, present from birth, involved a problem with a recurrent ear itch, triggered by loud noises, that would begin deep within her ear. Socially intelligent, and an eighth grader to boot, Juana Bea knew full well the havoc that succumbing to that itch would wreak on her social life. So she woud sit still when it began. Unfortunately for her, the itch quickly would progress into a deafeningly loud case of the hiccups that would immediately be followed by a 30-second spasm in her right arm that had once sent her cat to the emergency room when he mistakenly walked in the line of fire, so to speak. Over time, as people’s reactions to Juana Bea’s condition were often less than positive, Juana Bea became something of an E). ____________, recoiling from virtually all society unless it was forced upon her. It was a sad state of affairs for a girl so young and with so much promise outside of her condition. Her social life, over time, had been reduced to spending her Friday nights listening to her parents discuss F). ____________ causes to support, like equal stuffing rights for all British animals. Her BFF was a G). ____________ with a voice that bellowed a H). ____________ of aphorisms completely useless to eighth grade girls when one hit a button on the side of her head, thus proving her to be a truly poor substitute for a human friend.
One day, all that changed, however, when she met Herb, also a A). ____________ and a recovering I). ____________. His aversion to women had developed early in life, nurtured almost solely by his mother’s, sisters’ and grandmother’s insistence on his mastery of what they called the lost art of doily-making for clothing purposes. You heard me correctly. Since he was two, every significant female influence in his life had insisted upon him spending large amounts of time making doilies and then yes, wearing them. You can well imagine the persecution Herb endured that had spanned his entire academic career to date, walking the halls of a large public school, always, always clad in doilies.
Recently, however, the only thing that was beginning to reverse his extreme dislike of females was the fact that, a few weeks earlier, he had finally been beaten up by an eighth grade girl roughly the size and strength of a J). ____________. While for many, if not most eighth grade boys, this would be a huge blight on the whole middle school experience, for Herb, it turned out to be, quite frankly, a giant albeit painful blessing. Because this girl, frankly, proved to be everything a doily was not, thus softening, if you will, Herb’s opinion of the “weaker” sex in just a few violent blows. By the time regurgitation set in, Herb was considering that maybe not all females were from the dark side.
The stars aligned for Herb and Juana Bea one fateful day in, appropriately enough, K). ____________ class. It was a new semester, and both had signed up for the class because each secretly harbored dreams of one day becoming an L). ____________, hoping to someday travel as far as possible from, respectively, doilies, stuffed dead animals and Britain. There were just only so many more years that one could take of all that.
On the first day, they were met by their teacher, who spoke with merriment and M). ____________, the meaning of her words even more pleasing than their sound.
“This class, unlike your other classes, will operate as a N). ____________, which means we will vote on meeting places and times for star observations, and even on our curriculum,” she explained.
There arose a cheer, folks, from those eighth-graders more boisterous than that school had ever known. Alas for Juana Bea, however, it was a loud cheer. Her palms became sweaty with dread as she anticipated what would happen next.
“I’d also like to introduce to you our O). ____________ class mascot. If you listen carefully, he will speak to you,” the teacher continued, and pulled out something that looked suspiciously like a Papa Smurf that had been violently tie-dyed. All the students stared for a moment.
Not knowing what else to do, the class began cheering again, this time even louder. As you may have guessed, this triggered the itch, which triggered the deafening hiccups, which triggered the spasms that resulted in Herb being punched squarely in the jaw by Juana Bea, sitting next to him.
By all rights, it should have been a P). ____________. But as they often said later, it was love at first swing.
All Juana Bea saw on the boy she had just socked was someone void of any hint of anything involving the English or dead animals, who was smiling at her despite the fact that she had knocked him off his seat. All Herb saw was a girl who appeared tougher than he was, which thus, in his mind at least, reduced the odds that she would be into wearable doilies.
And so, Juana Bea and Herb became the Romeo and Juliet of the eighth grade, minus the death part, the family feud, the secret marriage and the Italian locale, of course. They lived out the rest of their days (of eighth grade anyway) devouring books on all manner of subjects, from Q). ____________ to R). ____________, all in an attempt to understand why their parents were so weird.
Like my kids, they still haven’t found the answer to that one.