Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Sixth Grade Embarrassment

I was a real dream in my faded-blue organza.  My hair brushed back from my face and artificial flowers propped on top of my head and held in place with a plethora of bobby pins. My cute little white gloves are a dead giveaway that this photo was taken in the 50s.  

My mom took the photo after she dressed me like a Barbie doll to go to my sixth grade chorus concert.  I didn't want to wear that dress, but my mom insisted.  She bought it on sale.  No wonder.  It scratched my skin, and I was itching like crazy. Anyone who tried it on would have put it back on the rack.  But I didn't get to try it on.  And I would have NEVER chosen this dress to wear to my concert, but my mom didn't allow me to go along on her shopping trips.  I was at home taking care of my two sisters, a two year old toddler and a newborn of two months, when she bought it.  

My step-father drove me to the school that night and let me out in front of the building. I walked in behind the families of my classmates. Backstage I met questions and stares by the other singers. I remember us singing all the songs from Oklahoma. Whenever I pass a cornfield in the countryside I still think about the corn "as high as an elephant's eye," but over the years the memory that sticks with me most is the overwhelming embarrassment of being over-dressed.  I was twelve.  It was all about my feelings. Not my mother's. 

Now as an adult, I think about how my mother must have had such fun on that shopping trip...buying more scratchy organza to wrap around my shoulders like a princess attending a grand ball, gloves, and a little satin purse for me to carry. I don't remember the jewelry, but it appears to be some type of pearl necklace probably from Woolworth's. No thought went into what was appropriate to wear to a sixth grade chorus concert.  She never went to a school concert, PTA meeting, or any school event.  So how would she know?  

It could have been worse.  At least I didn't have to wear long gloves.  

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