You know, I wonder what my life could have been. I was thinking today of some of my earliest memories. Not the ones like: “Mommy…go potty.” or even the memory of my first sips of JAX beer at the age of 4. Not even when I said damnit for the first time. No, those are just “growing up” memories.
I’m talking about “girl”, memories.
I was one of those cute, all-American boys early in grade school. (Now, people would ask, "What happened?") I wasn’t very cool though, because my mother was constantly making our clothes. I can remember the late summer trips to Hancock’s fabric or Howards (an early Wal Mart). We would spend most of the afternoon looking through patterns. Big collar….long sleeve….button holes or snaps? Once we would decide the pattern, it would be off to find the material,(usually some sort of plaid) and buttons.
In the 1st grade, I spent the a good portion of the year showing that I could read as well, if not better than everyone else. I didn’t go to kinder garden, so I started out behind the rest of my class. The only problem I had was telling time. My folks bought a clock in Louisiana in 1968-69 that ran backwards. Counterclockwise was clockwise to me. Hmmmm….. Maybe this explains me getting my left and right mixed up. After my mother explained this to Mrs. Meekins, I racked up a string of satisfactory and excellent grades.
Time now for 2nd grade. After a seemingly short summer, where my days were filled with baseball and riding our bikes through the neighborhood. Ok, so I pushed mine. I don’t know why, maybe it was the lack of available “launch platforms”. I actually pushed my 1st bike until I wore out the bearings on the rear wheel. Everyone would take off and I’d be the last one to get there, pushing my bike. The only time I actually rode it was leaving the house. We had a small drainage ditch that made it easy to touch the ground on both sides until you got your speed up.
Back to school. Here I was, ready to master my 2nd academic year. This was also the year I met a girl. Barbara Humble- a freckled-faced girl from Mrs. Bellew’s class. We would meet after lunch in the playground and would run to the back of the school’s wooded playground to our favorite tree. This is where we would spend our time smashing out faces together, initiating something that might be mistaken for a kiss. It wouldn’t take long before a gang of other kids would be circling us daring us to “do it again”.
Hey, here I was, the uncool kid with homemade clothes, now stud on the schoolyard. I’m not sure how many weeks or months we kept up our little rendezvous. I am sure if Barbara was asked if it was as good for her as it was for me, the answer would be …no.
I was only able to bask in the spotlight of playground Romeo for one short year. The winter of 3rd grade spelled disaster for my future.
It was time for the annual school play. I was given a small speaking part. I practiced for days (I actually sounded pretty good). My mother worked feverishly the day before the program to finish my costume.
Now picture this….here I am stepping to the front of the stage for my 3 or 4 lines, I’m in my costume, which consists of brown pants and shirt. My mother had fashioned these green pointed leaf looking things for my arms out of crepe paper. The best part was the bright yellow, scalloped circle around my neck.
Yes, that’s right. I was a DAISY!! I had just gone from the class Casanova to the school flower. Needless to say I never recovered from this.
Fast forward two years. I had slipped into book worm/ geek obscurity. I can say at this point I also had learned the pleasure of bologna sandwiches in the afternoon after school. I was fast on my way to being the largest dude in school. (And not in a good way.)
We had a parent open house at the school one evening. It was the week of Halloween, so the kids dressed in costumes, Hmmmmmmmm.. is there a pattern here? Now, I wasn’t dressed up, but a few of the other kids were. The one I remember even to this day was Mary Richardson. I can say that she is the first girl I really liked.
I can picture her going through the halls. Bright red devil costume, carrying her pitch fork and that devil tail swishing in the air. Wowwww!!! I think I followed her all that evening and pretty much through the next 5 years of school.
I dont have a payoff to this post. I thought I would be able to tie it all together. Maybe Mary in that little devil costume explains my fascination with the show CATS and
any woman in leopard skinned anything.
In the end I want to thank Barbara for making me kewl, Mary for making me HOT. And that freaking school play for making me a cream-puff of a daisy.