The Outsiders

October of 1982 a 7th grade girl is in the jr. high library looking for her next book to do a report. I was a voracious reader and I wanted a book that no one else had written a report on or maybe even knew about.

I was digging through a stack of books and came across one with the title The Outsiders. I read the back information page and then I read the first page. Well I saw the words, movies, Paul Newman and I was hooked. I was not only a fan of Paul Newman but movies as well. I was so excited. I checked the book out and sat down at a table to read it until class was over.

It was Friday so that meant I could read it over the weekend. My home life was not the best and usually chaotic. I would hang out with my brothers, eat dinner in silence and then we would either watch a movie or be sent to our rooms. I cleaned up after dinner and the three of us went to my bedroom, watched a little tv, then they were sent off.

I wasn’t supposed to stay up later than 10 but I would get a flashlight and hide under my blanket to read. I didn’t have much time at school to read more than the first five pages so I was so happy to finally be left alone with my book. I knew right away this book was going to be in my heart forever.

The biggest reason the book struck a chord with me is because I was such a lonely teenager. I didn’t fit in with anyone. I couldn’t really connect with anyone at school because I was in a different place emotionally and physically. While the few friends I had were boy crazy and talking about boy stuff I just couldn’t join in. I have never been a flirt or chatty unless it was about books etc. I had a very strict home life so half of the things they were discussing I had no idea about. My weekends were the skating rink, black and white movies and reading. When I would go see my dad I had some exposure to the outside world. I discovered MTV which I watched continuously while visiting. I had a cousin who was a social butterfly so I learned some things from her. I still didn’t fit in anywhere. I was always outside looking in and observing. Ive always had the constant dialogue in my head and day dreaming. I wanted a gang like the one Ponyboy had especially the way they all stuck together. I was like Ponyboy, very sensitive and always thinking beyond the present. I longed for a place to belong and a group that would welcome just as I am. That book was my refuge. I could get lost and imagine that I was the female Ponyboy and what life would be like.

One day I was at the mall in Waldensbook store and there on the cover of the latest teen magazine was the title: Matt Dillon to star in S.E. Hintons book The Outsiders. I couldn’t believe it. I grabbed the magazine and read the whole thing. I was a big fan of Matt’s and read that he was a fan of the author. He had already been in the film Tex which I found out was another one of her books. I read the rest of the cast most of whom I was familiar with from other works. I was so jealous that I was not going to be in the movie. I couldn’t wait for the movie to come out. I read every teen magazine every weekend to get updates and release dates of the movie. I had no friends that were that interested so I had no one to share my excitement.

I was rarely allowed out to the movies but I kept watch anyway. I found out that I had missed in both my home towns. I was very sad and angry. That summer we went on a vacation to San Antonio. We were walking through the mall and saw the movie theater. I saw in big letters The Outsiders. I held back the tears as I timidly asked if my brother and I could go see it. My parents actually said yes and I grabbed my brothers hand and we ran to the ticket booth. I couldn’t believe it! The movie had already started but I didn’t care. My brother didn’t know anything about the book at that time he just did whatever I wanted. He liked the movie so much I let him borrow my book. I ended up getting  a copy with the actors from the movie on it and kept it for more than 30 years. I lost it recently during a low time in my life and I miss it.

What brought up all of this nostalgia? This year is the 50th anniversary of the book. S.E. Hinton was my inspiration to be a writer. I won awards for my writing and encouraged by teachers but never knew what to do next. She and all her books have been a part of my life since 1982.

I was going to attend the anniversary celebration and opening of the museum in Tulsa. Family issues prevented me from attending and I was crushed. I know there are many fans and everyone has a special story. I have a heart link to this book. I am still an outsider searching for a gang. I still hold out that I will get to meet her and visit the museum. I would love to sit and have a talk with her and be 13 for a few hours again.

Thank you for reading!

Peace and Love,

Mzlunatx

This blog is for all those who have always felt like they are on the outside looking in. The empaths, sensitive souls who are constantly questioning and seeking answers. Anyone who is damaged, unwanted, the underdogs. This is my purpose and calling in life. I want to create a place where you can come and feel safe and free. Follow me as I find my way, a stranger passing through. I will have travel, writing, lifestyle and anything else that happens in my life. It will be an honest account, a real connection that seems to be lacking today. I welcome you and I hope you will share your journey with me.

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