This 8th Grade Letter About ChangesOneBowie is Everything

by Jenny Hayes

Jenny Hayes, 1982

Dear Rosie AKA Ro-Ho-Zee AKA Rosarita Refried Beans,

HI! Sorry your new school is so bunk. You aren’t missing much here, everything is pretty much the same except that Erica got a perm and so did Leslie Stang. I have Ms. Stanford for History AGAIN!!! I thought I left her ugly face behind in 7th grade but I guess she teaches 8th too. My English teacher seems pretty cool. Everything else is just blah.

Hold on I am going to put on a record, wait isn’t it funny that I just wrote “hold on” when you haven’t even gotten this letter yet? DUMB! I bought “CHANGESONEBOWIE” at Pellucidar and it’s hella raw. I am going to write you while the songs are playing and that way it will be like we are listening together!

SPACE ODDITY – Weird, I always thought this song was called “Ground Control To Major Tom” or something like that. I don’t think he even says “Space Oddity” in the whole song. Do you remember at Jason’s brother’s party last year how we were all lying on the ground outside looking up at the stars and Miles said he saw a UFO? I think he was a big fat liar. Or maybe he was HIGH!

JOHN, I’M ONLY DANCING – That reminds me of the other day when five or six girls started busting a move at lunch, I don’t know them but the cafeteria ladies tried to grab them so they started to run, and one of them tripped over something and knocked Sarah’s tray of food all over the floor. Oh Lordy!  I thought she was going to cry but she didn’t. We all shared our lunch with her, I gave her an apple and Alexis gave her half of a sandwich. Oops see that smear? I just smooshed an ant. Sorry, ant.

CH-CH-CH-CH-CHANGES! “Turn and face the strange”, it seems like everywhere I go that is what happens, something or someone strange. But sometimes I like things that are strange! Did I tell you that Rain got together with this guy named Marcus who is 17 or 18 and a punk. He doesn’t go to Berkeley High or anywhere but I don’t know if he graduated already or just dropped out. We went and rode around with him and a couple of his friends in a van and they got us stoned and we threw empty slurpee cups at some college students, it was hell of funny! Then we drove past Sarah and yelled “HEY BABY” and she didn’t know it was us! Then we went to some girl’s house and there was this guy there who was FINE! Rain said she wished Marcus wasn’t there because she wanted to jump on him. I talked to him a little, but nothing really. Later we were telling Alexis and her older sister was there and it turns out she knows all those people and she knew who the really fine guy was. She said his name is Chris and HE HANDCUFFS HIS GIRLFRIENDS!!!!!!

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ZIGGY STARDUST – This song is soooooooo goooooood. One time Rain drew a lightning bolt over her eye trying to make it like Ziggy Stardust but it looked kind of weird, and it started to smear and then Alexis told her it looked like a black eye and Rain said maybe it WAS. But it was just eyeliner, but sometimes she can be way too dramatic.

SUFFRAGETTE CITY. Is that a real city? I have no idea what this song is about. Except for WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM! I like the piano part, I’m gonna tell Sarah she should learn how to play it. She takes piano lessons and she’s really good. Right now she is learning Stairway to Heaven!

JEAN GENIE. If my name was Jean I would call myself that. Wait, do the lyrics say good or bad things? I guess I’d have to listen closer. All the nicknames for my name are dumb. I can’t think of anything to write so here is a description of what I am wearing: black pegged pants, light blue “Go Climb A Rock” t-shirt, purple sweat shirt, music note pin, and black velvet china flats. Exciting huh? Plus I have blue nail polish on my nails but it’s hell of chipping!

OOPS, I forgot this record player is dumb and it doesn’t stop when the side is over, it’s spinning around and around with the needle down going BUP … BUP … BUP … Maybe I’ll just sit and listen to that for a while. What if it’s like one of those mantra things and if you chant it over and over it opens your mind and you enter a new dimension? Like the hare krishnas and the stuff they say, I don’t even know! BUP… Maybe if I listen for long enough I’ll be in touch with the consciousness of all beings. Maybe I will become one with that ant that I smashed on this sheet of paper and then I will be sad. I am going to close my eyes and see how long I can just listen…

Fuck that! I picked up the needle (it made a scratch, oops) and turned the record over. Now it’s DIAMOND DOGS! They call them the diamond dogs, wait WHO do they call that? Some dogs? Maybe next time I see some dogs I’ll just go, “hello Diamond Dogs!” haha I am so weird!!!

REBEL REBEL, Rain likes this one the best, every time it comes on she closes her eyes and shakes her head like a big weirdo, but I think it’s pretty good too. The other day she had cloves and we smoked some at lunch over by the hole in the fence. Have you ever tried them? I don’t really like cigarettes but I love cloves, they make your mouth all tingly and sweet tasting. She told me about this store where you can buy them and they don’t even care if you have a note or anything. I want to get some next time I have some money!

YOUNG AMERICANS. This is probably my least favorite, it’s okay but it sounds like something that would be in a play that my parents would drag me to and it would be some man going off about his lost youth or something. And then he would BREAK DOWN AND CRYYYYYYYY…. My parents had their friends over for dinner last night and they are so weird, the lady has really long hair like down to her butt but it is going gray, and she wore this long skirt with bells on it! (that was kind of cool actually) The man is so funny looking, I wish I could draw better so I could just show you. He has these weird big teeth and dark framed glasses and this laugh that is like “HUH! HUH! HUH!” it was driving me crazy!

FAME …wouldn’t it be neat if someday we got famous? Like if we were all famous together, you and me and Sarah and Rain and Alexis. I know you think they don’t really like you but they just don’t  know you that well. It’s kind of weird how I started hanging out with all of them after you and me sort of stopped acting like friends (even though we still were!) at the end of last school year. I always figured sooner or later you and me would go back to how things were before, and then we’d all be friends together, but then you moved.

GOLDEN YEARS. Golden years, mwop mwop mwop … I was going around singing that part in science the other day, just walking up to people going “mwop mwop mwop”, everyone probably thought I was a super freak. Have you heard that song SUPER FREAK??? It’s hexa coo! One time me and Alexis and Rain were singing it on the 51 and some lady was looking at us like “How dare you sing on the bus!” But then this one guy went “Gimme five!” when he stood up to ring the bell for his stop. We all slapped his hand and then he said something to Rain and none of us heard what it was but it seemed kind of perverted so I was glad he got off the bus.

Well, it’s over. Ta-Da! (I already took the needle off this time don’t worry)

Well write me back soon or else I will beat-a your-a ass-a!


Alison AKA Ally-Wally AKA Alisonwonderland


P. P.S. Another ant just walked on this piece of paper, but I let it live.

P. P. P.S. I saw Mr. Walter in the hall last week and he said to tell you he MISSES YOUR BUTT!!!!!!!!!


Jenny Hayes grew up in Berkeley, California and now lives in Seattle. Her work has appeared in Penduline Press, Ampersand Journal, and Significant Objects, and she co-authors the blog Yard Sale Bloodbath.

This fictional story was originally published on Illustration by Carolyn Pennypacker. To read more, buy the illustrated chapbook here.

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