Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tag and other Torture

8 minute memoir

I'm way behind on these but what else is new?

Being 8 years old.

eight.  I barely remember it and yet I remember it all.  I remember eight was maybe the first time I felt truly bullied at school.  It's not a fun memory but it happened a lot that year.  It caused me to get in a fight, to slap a girl across the face and to be sent to the principals office.  The principal was actually on my side in the whole thing so I really didn't get in too much trouble.  She gave the other girl a lecture about pushing people too far.  In that scenario I was people.  She had a big ol beehive.  It was 1975 and that was probably kind of out of style by then, but not in my little small town.

My school was a super small country school so our principal was also my teacher that year.  Mrs. McCullough. I thought she was pretty keen.  But one day she made me stay in at recess because I couldn't count the little stack of coins she gave us and get the right answer.  I kept counting the nickels and dimes wrong because I thought the bigger coins should be worth more than the tiny ones.  So I guess that was also my first experience of being dead wrong and someone calling me out on it.  She sat at her desk grading papers.  I felt a slow panic about missing out on lunch.  Missing out on lunch meant I'd probably get left out when I finally got there and probably left out at lunch recess too. The panic did nothing to improve my counting skills.  She kept saying "you'll get it, try again". She seemed to know I really wanted her to just rescue me from the torture and I was being pretty dramatic about the whole thing and she wasn't having it.  I finally got the right answer but it was probably the beginning of a long and worrying relationship with math.

I wore a lot of polyester back then and spandex like material.  Our school had bats in the attic that would occasionally make their way down in the hallways.   We had delicious lunches with fluffy rolls and yummy mashed potatoes and gravy and peanut butter bars that were to die for.  I had a best friend I fought with all the time.  I feel unsettled when I think about most of my elementary school years.  I don't know exactly why.  I just felt a low level of anxiety a lot.  I hated sports and I was terrible at the types of things they're always encouraging 8 year olds to do.  Playing kickball or tag is not very fun when you are a slow runner.  You're always letting down your team or "it" during tag, which gets real old.  That year someone made fun of how I ran and that pretty much put me off running for the rest of my life too.  I mean, not really, but yeah, kinda.  I blamed it on the fact that I was always wearing fancy little black patent leather shoes most of the time.  Then the same kid made fun of me all year for saying that it was because of my shoes.  I was always trying to not get messed up and stay pristine.  I was prissy in the sort of annoying way when kids don't like getting their clothes messed up.  I was more the kind of kid you'd find sitting under a tree reading Little House on the Prairie or Trixie Belden.  That doesn't usually count for much when you're 8.  Other eight year olds don't exactly admire that as a

I wanted to be a writer when I grew up and I sent away to one of those things in the back of a magazine that tells you if you have promise or not.  They sent back and said I showed a lot of promise and I should sign up for classes.  I'd imagine they were pricey correspondence courses.  I was just pretty thrilled they liked my stuff.  I had written a story about a little girl and Christmas called "Lydia's Christmas". I didn't know anyone named Lydia so I was pretty impressed with my creativity. Imagine my surprise when my mom wasn't too keen on that plan.  WHAT? But they said I had talent mom.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Cakes are done, people are finished.

8 minute memoir 


Would you like to know the definition of deep existential angst?  It is having 433 books on my "to read list".  It is having 140 movies currently on my "movies to see" list.  It is knowing I would like to see Greece, Versailles, Ibiza, and Bali before I die.  And that's just for starters.  It is knowing there are states inside the United States I haven't been to yet.  It is knowing I have secret deep desire to stay in the Chateau Marmont  someday when the minimum of $500 a night isn't going to make my little debit card cry.  I mean, sometimes I stare at Pinterest and just pin and pin and pin places I'd like to go, outfits I would wear if I were thinner, jewelry I would buy if money were no object, couches I would just die to own, and I just create longer and longer lists of things I'll probably never finish.

Will I really make my own lavender vanilla sugar scrub?  Will I really paint pumpkins and arrange flowers inside of them?  Will I ever actually make the peach cobbler in the crock pot?  Would I paint my front door hot pink?

The thing is, I never really can say for sure.

Here is what I do know.  I finished my bachelor's degree at 45 years old.  I've repainted my front door from white to green to black to red. I finished my Master's degree at 48 years old.  I painted some walls in my house black even though there were a lot of naysayers (they were wrong.)  Who knows what I will do?  My unfinished list of books is 433 long but my finished list is 722 and that probably isn't every book I ever read.  I finished all the seasons of Mad Men like I was in a fever dream one summer.  One never knows what one can accomplish when we decide to do it, even if that "it" is finally watching all the Audrey Hepburn movies you missed.  I am kind of likely to take up yoga.  I may take up running (I mean, probably not, but the point is you never know for sure.)

There are lots of things I'll probably never finish.  Things you will probably never finish.  But there are lots and lots of things that you should at least consider finishing, because otherwise, what is the point really?

My Senior English teacher Mrs. Barton used to say all the time "Cakes are done, people are finished." I am neither done, nor finished, just yet.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Magical Thinking Games

8 minute memoir


It is possible there is no group more predisposed to magical thinking than teenage girls. 

When you hear the song on the radio - you know the one - the special one that makes you think about that cute boy you like - you know the one - the one with the slow smile and the tan muscular arms - or the one who always wears his football jersey and seems kind of shy - or the one with the flashy car and and the deep hazel eyes - or the one who made you laugh that time in science class. 

When the song comes on you have to start driving as fast as you can.  Or as fast as you dare without getting a ticket while you are driving your moms Thunderbird, or your moms Chevrolet.  You start driving as fast as you can to the street where they live, to the house you know so well, you practically know how many bricks tall it is, you know the petunias are slightly wilting in the late summer heat, you know the dad might be out front with his hose and you hope - you really really hope he won't be there because if he is you'll have to drive by so fast that you won't be able to really check out the house, to see if his car might be in the driveway, to see if the window that you are pretty sure is his is possibly offering a glimpse or even just a shadow that might be him. 

The game is this - if you can get to his house before the song ends, if you can drive by his house while it is still playing, it is the best of Omens.  It is the omen that says all those times you stared at his arms during class, all those times you listened for his name on the radio while the game was broadcast, all those times you melted when he smiled at you, all those times you thought for sure you were going to be the future Mrs. Football, the future Mrs. Deep Hazel Eyes, the future Mrs. Electric Guitar Player, the future Mrs. Science Partner, the future Mrs. Yellow Convertible - all those times are destined to come true.  

This was our attempt at a version of punk rock band called "hot rash"
In our more usual state as nice mormon girls

when your parents say you are too young to date so you all go to the 9th grade dance together

when you decide to all be in the "future homemakers of America" club


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