Tweenage Wasteland Time Capsule
So, we took Mini up to see my Mom the other day, and she busts out with this old scrapbook of mine, which I haven’t seen since, say, the first Bush was in office. Naah, maybe even since Regan’s second term. Oh yeah, it’s been a while. It’s not even a real scrapbook–it’s one of those craptastic “photo albums” with “magnetic” (i.e. sticky cardboard, plastic cover) sheets in it. The cover, well, why describe it when I can show it to you?
I feel like this cover raises more questions than it answers. The first question being, of course, why did I pick this out? Clearly it appealed to me for some reason, it’s not as if my mom went and bought this for me independently–you know this was the one I wanted specifically. Was I charmed by the idea of teenage love in soft-focus? Did I like men who wore hospital shoes? Did I secretly hope to be that barefoot, running-through-the-fields chick? Why do I always think of styptic pencils when I see this? What are styptic pencils?
Or, as Mr. Right-Click said, “Maybe the photographer was so moved by the people in love that the lens got all blurry from his tears.”
I suspect I bought this photo album at Woolworth’s. There used to be a Woolworth’s in our local mall, and I remember going through that Woolworth’s and buying things occasionally. In fact, that Woolworth’s was where I bought my K-TEL “hit express” album.
Why, yes, that is the one with “Don’t You Want Me, Baby?” on it. And “Tonight I’m Yours,” as well. But this is not just an 80s nostalgia love-in people! Eyes back to me! Here I am in first grade. Aren’t I cute?
If you are wondering what all that gold crap is all over the picture, that’s the special late 70s satin finish on the photo. It reflects light like the devil! So, even in with my special miniature photo lighting set, I still get the glare off the flash! If Mr. Right-Click were here, he’d be able to fix it, probably. But he’s not, so we’re SOL. Still, even with the gold crap, don’t tell me I’m not rocking those bangs. As I am in second grade, after moving into the french braid period of my hair history:
So cute! Wait. I took that picture out of the picture album to photograph it. Now that I put it back in, what is that blue pen slashing across my own face?
I hated myself enough, already, in second grade, to cross myself out of the picture? Jeez. Talk about issues. Well, wait–to be fair, I seem to have crossed several others out, too.
If you look closely, you’ll see that, in addition to myself, I have crossed out the faces of seven girls in the photograph. Which leaves
two girls in the picture that I liked. Or at least wasn’t concerned with enough to cross out. What could these girls have done, at age 6 or 7, to inspire this kind of anger from me? Search me. But if I had to bet, it had something to do with unicorns.
Wait, one soccer team named the Unicorns wasn’t enough? Guess not.
Did you see that several of the Unicorns (both I and II) were crossed out as well? What the hell did they do to me? Maybe I was just pretending that these girls were the ones behind the vast conspiracy keeping me from watching Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (starring Peter Frampton) in its entirety. Maybe if I write our pay TV channel a letter, they will see it my way and put it back on TV again.
Infuriatingly, she ignored my salient point, viz. that I couldn’t watch Sgt. Pepper that day because we were going to be in Mammoth. Duh! Why didn’t she just add another showing onto the schedule? Better keep that letter, maybe reinforce it with a construction paper backing or something. It might come in handy some day, like if somebody ever asks if I’ve received a business letter from a now-defunct cable channel. Or if I write a blog and I need relevant ephemera evidencing my contention that I was born a major clinical depressive and alcoholic, and it’s evident from my earliest recorded moments.
But alongside the borderline antisocial personality traits, I also display the typical first-born need for approval. I seem to have acquired a ream of “achievement” certificates, including this one–a mimeographed “math certificte” that certifies I can add in less than
8 9 minutes. Go me!
And, like many kids, I had my fair share of bad breaks. In second grade, I was skipping two bars on the jungle gym, and broke my arm. My friend R gave me a get well soon card, and I saved it.
I never had a get-well-soon card before that. Now that I think of it, that might be the only get-well-soon card I’ve ever had, since I’ve never really been sick from anything. There is something about going through a book from a period in your life when you had more static pages than you had mementos to fill them with that makes you realize how lucky you are. You know, to have made it through to where you are today. Now I have boxes of mementos and no time to fill them into scrapbooks, diplomas that sit in my closet unframed and unnoticed, and though there are probably tons of people I’d like to proverbially cross out with a blue pen, most of them are people with whom I rarely come in contact, and besides, I don’t have pictures of them. I made it through my childhood despite my own best efforts at driving myself crazy, and this book full of WTF mementos kind of documents that process for me. And yeah, it’s kind of nice that my Certificate of Completion from the Jog-A-Thon (sponsored by McDonalds) will always have a home in this very special, very fugly scrapbook.