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.
Join in with YOUR Flashback Friday below! For instructions see here.
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)
I’ve seen some wild bathing suits in my time, but I never expected to see one on my mom. So when I found this picture, I was delighted.
This was taken in April 1971, and I had just turned 4. More impressively for my mom, Aunt Su had just turned 1. She didn’t get to party with my mom in her chain bikini, although I did.
I’m calling it a chain bikini, but I bet the purpose of the chains was so that she could tell my very Southern grandmother that of course she was wearing a one piece bathing suit at the beach, and why would she think otherwise?
My sisters and I worshiped the Jackie O glasses so much that I still have them. They’ve traveled to 70’s parties around the country. They may not be worth much money, but they are full of memories.
The hat, though, looks like a refurbished pinata.
I published some thoughts and pictures of my mother when she died. I don’t know if I mentioned it then, but one thing people said, and still say, is that she was such a classy lady. It’s good to know that she let her wild side show through when she got away at the beach. I bet people would pay good money for a view of that get-up from the rear.
Three years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Operation Acne Attack
The boys kept yelling “frank ‘n’ beans!” when they were changing clothes while we were in New York last week. Maybe they do this every time they pull down their pants at home, but if so, I don’t hear it amid the drumming, yelling and twittering of Feathers and Omelet. In the minuscule apartment, however, the frequent outbursts were quite noticeable.
Eventually I realized that “frank ‘n’ beans” refers to a boy’s privates, and that shouting it serves as a warning not to look as the boy briefly exposes his genitals to put on what I hoped was a clean pair of underwear, not the pair that had toured Chinatown the day before.
I pretended not to know what they were yelling about. It’s been a long time since I’ve wiped any butts or bathed anyone in the bathtub. In the last couple of years all three boys, even Porter, have grown quite modest. Honestly, I was quite curious as to how everyone was maturing down there, and I wanted to check out everyone’s frank and beans. I figured that as the mom, if anyone was sporting signs of sauerkraut, I had the right to know.
At first the guys were fixated on whether their brothers were trying to see their manhood, but it didn’t take them long to notice me trying to sneak a peek.
“Mom! Frank ‘n’ beans means don’t look. Give a guy some privacy.”
I found that hypocritical, as these same complainers have been known to track me to the bathroom to ask for lunch money. As the least modest person in the universe, however, I haven’t let it get to me.
The next time I came out of the bathroom I yelled, “Two miniature fried eggs,” just before I ripped off my robe to slap on my bra.**
I can’t always be one of the boys, but I can try.
** Look at the FIRST cute bra I’ve been able to purchase for my tiny tits!
It’s a Wacoal Petite and Viola at Bloomingdales in NYC helped me. It was very expensive ($48) but so worth it for my ego. All my other bras are flat triangles with straps.
Three years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Virtual Book Club #5
Drew leaves for camp tomorrow. He’ll be gone for three weeks. I don’t usually get terribly sentimental, but that moment when I drop him off can be pretty hard. Two years ago he looked like the last photo in this post and I got a little teary.
We all survived, however, and it’s hard to believe it’s time for camp again already.
The most heinous aspect of preparing for camp is the part where you set out all the camping equipment, shorts and pants, towels and underwear, and make sure it’s all clearly marked with your camper’s name. I’ve tried the iron on labels, but either I suck at ironing or the ones I bought were poorly made. They flaked off in the wash and that didn’t piss me off at all.
Now I stick to the “last name with a Sharpie” method and it works as well as anything.
I’ve never marked socks before, but Drew insisted he had a fabulous way to identify his socks, so I armed him with a Sharpie and let him have a go at it.
I bet he comes back with every single sock.
I submitted this as part of Works For Me Wednesday at Rocks In My Dryer. Thanks, Shannon!