Drew and Porter brought home their class pictures yesterday. Obviously I inspected my boys first to see how they’d fared in front of the harsh lens of the grade school photographer. Porter was doing his shy chipmunk face and his mouth is chapped beyond his lips, giving him a clownish look. Drew was sitting slumped to one side in a dirty shirt, with a solemn look on his face. The modeling agencies weren’t going to be knocking on the Glamores’ door.
As I perused the rest of the kids, I realized that there are some ages that are plain awkward, and I was holding the proof in my hands.
I had a run of bad pictures myself. Sixth grade was particularly hideous. That was the year that my teeth, eyes and spine all betrayed me. My bodily frailties converged, and I was forced to attend school wearing not only the questionable fashions of the late 70’s, but also braces, glasses and a back brace. I was sort of like Joan Cusack (“Girl in Scoliosis Brace”) in “Sixteen Candles” but without a stage mother or payment for my discomfort.
People always asked me about the brace, and no one knew what scoliosis was, so I struggled with what to tell them. Not my mom.
“Just tell them you fell out of an airplane. That’ll shut ’em up,” she said briskly. So I did. The answer stunned them long enough to give me plenty of time to walk away.
I had some really close friends then. They were able to see past all the metal and plastic, fortunately for me, or I would have been awfully lonely.
These pictures are from my birthday in 1979.
You can’t see the silver of the neck brace so much because my mom and I experimented with all sorts of ways to camouflage it. It’s covered in moleskin, which was fuzzy and pink, but a lot closer to the color of my skin than harsh metal.
I’ve edited out my best friend’s face. She doesn’t look nearly as bad as I do, but there could be some Advanced English students at the junior high who’d like to see a picture of their teacher when she was about twelve, and I’m not giving them the satisfaction.
I loved the two bunnies and named one Roquefort Coconuthead. But Lord – stuffed rabbits? These days I bet girls this age give each other sassy panties with writing on the back, glittery lipgloss or fake belly button rings. We were such nerds.
This picture with my sisters was evidently a big damn deal, because I only wore my contacts on special occasions. Getting those hard contact lenses to stay on my pupil was a challenge. If there’s anything worse than a brace-face with a back brace, it’s that same girl rolling her eyeballs back in her head while she fishes around in her eye sockets for her lost contacts, which are somewhere between her forehead and her brain.
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|1. pendy (mother/daughter inner beauty)
2. Observations of an Earthroamer (Kim)
4. Sir Nottaguy-Imadad
6. Andi (bordering on a mullet!)
7. Holly (In My Overactive Head)
8. Marissa (Awkward Begins At 7)
10. jen (inner beauty)