Category Archives: Flashback Friday

A Tribute to Tee Tee

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True story

A fellow blogger posted something today that made me think of someone from my past.  My English teacher from secretarial school.  Secretarial School.  Do they even have those kinds of schools any more?  I’m guessing not.  Geez.  They aren’t even called secretaries now.  If someone refers to me as a “secretary,” I immediately correct them and say “administrative assistant.”  On that note, if someone asks me what I did in my previous life and I answer “administrative assistant,” it is usually followed by, “what is that?”  Therefore, forcing me to say, “secretary.”  So, really, what’s the point?  Oh, wow.  I digress.  Big time.

Mrs. Schneider.  She spoke with one of those fake english accents and would drag out the last word.  “You sound like a cow chewing its’ cuuuuuudddddd.”  You know.  Kind of like Zsa Zsa Gabor but not.  She wore pointy bras that just begged for us to call her “torpedo tits” (Tee Tee).  And she buried 4 husbands.  After 9 months with this lady, I think I could take a gander at what the cause of death was.  Visions of cutting out their tongues because they ended a sentence with a proposition comes to mind.  Can you imagine if she were still around to read my blog?  I’d have to go around wearing a Hannibal Lecter-style mask for fear she would hunt me down and add my taste buds to her collection.

She was the Original Grammar Nazi.  If we so much as spoke with a lazy tongue, we’d get a lashing.  She abhored songs that did not use proper sentences.  Let’s take The Rolling Stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” for instance.  The use of the double negative would have sent her to the nearest loony bin.  And if we didn’t answer with a “very well, thank you” when asked how we were, we were sent directly to secretary detention.

My biggest fear was misuse of the comma.  Every time we had to write an essay, my anxiety would reach epic proportions.  I inevitably would get my paper returned to me with big, fat, red marks.  My assignment would look more like a subway map than homework.  And to this day, I’m not really sure if I’m using commas correctly or not.  Do I underuse them?  Overuse them?  Without Mrs. Schneider around, I guess I’ll never know.

Good Old Mrs. Schneider.  Thanks for trying.  I did walk away with quite a bit of useful information though.  That’s for sure.  But those commas.  Damn commas (or should it be comma’s?) will forever be a burr in my butt.  Forget about semi-colons.  Oh, I gotta go lie down.  Or is it lay down?  No, no, I believe it’s lie down.  Right?  I mean, correct?

A Bar and Some Bobby Socks

DH and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary last month.  Not only was it our wedding anniversary but it was also the day before our anniversary of the day we met.  27 years ago.  It’s crazy how fast time flies, isn’t it?

We met on September 19, 1986.  I was a recent high school graduate and was attending a secretarial school.  I had just started a new job at a major corporation.  I also had a boyfriend of almost 2 years.

We met in a bar.  In my hometown.  About a 40 minute drive north of DH’s hometown.  It’s kind of a long story but here it is in a nutshell:  I was with a friend and her friend.  You had to be 19 to enter.  My friend’s friend and I were 19 but not my friend.  So, because we were such terrific friends to our friend, we drove that bitch home because there may have been a boy inside that my friend’s friend was hoping to see.  Someone she had met in the same place approximately 2 weeks prior.  It was a long shot.  But when you are 19 and boy crazy, it was a chance she was willing to take.  And besides, little did I know but this was fate in the making.  And you cannot mess with fate, man.

Not only was the boy there, but the boy had a friend.  The one and only future DH.  And he was gorgeous.  I mean, drop dead.  There I was, with my permed blonde hair, black pencil skirt, red peplum jacket, bobby socks and blood red pumps.  And this gorgeous guy was trying to talk to me.  I kind of blew him off because, well, certainly he was just being nice.  After all, he was there because his friend asked him to go in hopes of running into the girl he met 2 weeks prior.  Weird, right?

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I wore this skirt. This was my hair. I was hot.

My friend’s friend and I found a table in the back and sat and drank.  A couple of hours passed, and Mr. Gorgeous appeared before me asking if we could go outside to talk.  So I went.  We talked. Really, that’s all we did.  I might murder The Kid if I knew she went to go talk to a complete stranger in a parking lot at midnight.  I gave him my number.  He said he would call.

He did call.  The very next day.  But I didn’t get the message.  Because my brother forgot to tell me. He happened to remember when he overheard a conversation between my mom and me.  I was expressing my disappointment that he didn’t call.  Needless to say, he picked me up for our first date later that day.  I was a nervous wreck.  Wondering if I just had beer goggles on that Friday night.  It was also dark.  To my dismay he was beautiful even in the light.  And that boyfriend of 2 years?  He kinda got dumped.  Poor guy.

The rest is history really.  I’m not 98 pounds anymore.  My hair is not permed.  I have to color it now to get my natural color back.  DH has less hair, but doesn’t weigh much more than that first night.  Why is that?  Oh, and whatever became of my friend’s friend and DH’s friend?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Like I said, don’t mess with fate, man.

Bowl-ing for Haircuts

If you are a child, don’t let your mother make your clothes or cut your hair.  Mine did both.  I didn’t have anyone to warn me.  If you are an adult and one or both of these things were thrust upon you by your mother, then I’m so happy to be in the same club.  Because misery loves company.  I’m just glad we lived to tell about it.  You should have seen what she did to my brother for his First Communion.  His bowl wasn’t even deep enough to house a goldfish.  He refused to go out for days.  Or have his picture taken.  Otherwise I’d be sharing.

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Geez, there are a lot of carbs on that table.

In the pic above I would guess I was about 2.  My mother was probably 23.  I’m not really sure why I look so happy.  What I am sure about is the depth of the bowl she used on me so I would sport that look.  See that smug look on my mother’s face?  I believe she’s laughing at me.  Giving me the “I know what’s coming in 12 years, so I’m getting you now for years of future anguish” look.

Then when I was about 10, she tricked me into cutting my long, blonde locks.  I happen to remember the moment because it was downright traumatic.  She totally bamboozled me.  So what if my hair was sticking to my sweaty armpits in the heat of an August summer day?  “Oh, but The Dorothy Hamill is so in and besides, imagine how much cooler you’ll be,” she said.  Or something like that.  She took complete advantage of me while I was perhaps feeling a bit vulnerable.

Remember, Dorothy had the “wedge” in back.  It didn’t quite work out that way with me.  In addition to thick hair, she had body.  Although my hair was thick, it contained as much body as an anorexic lizard.

Dorothy-Hamill-Wedge-Haircut

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I have no idea who that boy is. By the look on his face, he doesn’t like my haircut either.

My hair looks more like a floppy dishtowel, don’t you think?  Check out the shirt.  That was a “Mom’s Specialty.”  She had an obsession with elastic (remember this posting?).  I know.  You wish you were cool like me.  My new haircut looked great with my homemade denim gauchos, by the way.

After that debacle and the time she spent hours trying to home perm my follicles only to have my hair go pin straight immediately after releasing the rollers, I never let her get her hands on my head again.  Ever.  Although I am the root cause of many a bad ‘do of my own.  Look for examples coming soon.  In the meantime kids…if you see mother with scissors, run for your life.

Flick My Bic

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My secret weapon

I love to tell The Kid stories from my youth.  Of course, she could probably care less.  I’m pretty sure most of my stories bore her to tears.  But I trudge on.  Not really caring what she thinks because she MUST know.  I mean, there is no way she can go on without knowing what my life was like as a teen.  I had no cell phone.  I had no laptop.  I had no texting.  But do you know what I did have?  Eyeliner pencil that was applied by heating it with a lighter.

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Me and my “liquid” eyeliner

I remember ducking into the girl’s bathroom between classes to reapply.  Lighting the end of my liner pencil until it was soft.  Pulling down my lower lid and applying hot, black, liquified liner to the inside of my eye.  What is that part of the eye even called?  I don’t know, but it was silly.  What I did.  What all of my female classmates did.  And what you did.  Because I know you did this exact same thing.  Don’t try to deny it.

And if we forgot our liner at home, or lost it, or it was too short to use any longer, we would borrow a friends.  Because we loved to share everything.  Including Pink Eye.  And another perk?  Those cool little funky black dot floater things.  Running all around the white part of our eyeballs.  So sexy hot.  Honestly, I don’t know how I wasn’t distracted by everything going on in there.

After reminiscing with myself about my beauty routine of 1984, I wondered if anyone still does this?  So I did a little Google search.  And the answer is “yes.”  This silly little beauty ritual is still practiced today by some.  But I think I’ll stick with eyeshadow.  It’s fast, easy and foolproof.  I don’t need a steady hand.  And I happen to like my eyeballs where they are.  Droopy eyelids included.

The Big Flush

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I have some words of advice for women who use the bathroom at their child’s preschool during menstruation.  Don’t put your tampon in the toilet.  I actually broke my own rule this day.  I usually never put a tampon in the toilet.  Even if I was at Caldor.  Or the mall.  Or a campground.  Because they are not good for the system, whether it be septic or sewer.  I know, I was very thoughtful.  Usually.

I was dropping The Kid off at her preschool when I realized I was having a problem down below.  I found a bathroom in the hall and used it.  The toilets were of the teeny tiny kind.  The kind where when you sit, your knees hit your chin.  And your ass cheeks hang over the side like a 1/4 Pounder shoved into a mini croissant.  Unless you are 4, probably not a good idea to try.  With or without your period.

I forgot my head, and suddenly realized I dropped the thing into the toilet.  I flushed.  It swirled around and around.  Like the Merry-Go-Round at the mall.  Needless to say, it didn’t go down.  Another flush.  And another ride around the rim it did.  I started to break out in a major sweat.  And felt like I had to poo (when I get really nervous, I get the sensation.  And I’m not talking about that kind you have from being on top of a cool mountain).

Now, there was a way to rectify the situation.  Stick my hand in and pull the sucker out, wrap it in toilet paper and toss it into the can.  Garbage can.  I even could have just left it there.  No one would have been the wiser.  But the old Catholic guilt was eating away at me.  Instead, I proceeded to the office of the school’s Director and told her about my problem.  There is nothing more embarrassing than having a woman who you do not know watch your bloody tampon do pirouettes in a toilet made for munchkins.

I got reprimanded.  “Mrs. M., please do not use the children’s bathrooms anymore.  We have toilets for big girl’s down the hall.  And no tampons.  Please.”  I was expecting her to slap the back of my hand and send me to the corner.  It was then that the thought of going fishing occurred to me.

Whenever I see the director around town, I literally run in the opposite direction.  Or hide until she goes away.  Not that she would remember that I was the tampon lady.  But just in case.  So, if you see me cowering at the local craft store between the acrylic and latex paints, you’ll know why.

Friday Night Skate Dates

Mine looked like these babies

Mine looked something like these babies.  Just not so shiny.

My sister-in-law posted pics on Facebook of my niece and nephew roller skating the other day.  Seeing those pics brought back such fond memories of my childhood.

I received my first pair of roller skates from my maternal grandmother.  They fit over your shoe and needed a key.  You know the kind.  They were metal and if you got a stone stuck in the wheel you did a header.  Forget it if you mistakenly left them out in the rain.  But they were the bomb and I was the shit.

I soon progressed to the white boot-like skates with the pom-poms and large pink wheels.  Every Friday night I would meet friends at the local roller rink for a skate.  I had my first kiss there.  “Smoked” my first and last cigarette there.  Broke up with my first boyfriend there (after my first kiss because it turned out he was more like a guppy than a boy).  Songs like Rock the Casbah, Super Freak and Do Ya Wanna Funk immediately take me back to those days.

I was super talented.  I went around and around and around.  To the left.  All the really cool kids could go backwards, go in circles, do jumps and could even turn right.  Whenever they did that switch-a-roo thing to go in the opposite direction, I would panic and most often wound up doing a face plant.  Good times.

I wonder if they have a roller skating rink around anywhere?  It would be great fun to go back and reminisce, go forward, try to turn right, fall flat on my face.  I should dig out my old skates. And old albums.  Umm, nah.  Never mind.  I think I’ll take up knitting instead.  So much safer.  Well, until I poke my eye with the end of the needle.  What’s the matter?  It could happen.

Watered Down Memories Light the Corners of My Mind?

Didn't use one of these.

Didn’t use one of these.

I do not suffer from motion sickness.  I can fly in a plane, be the extreme backseat passenger in a car, ride roller coasters, be in a boat in the high seas.  I’m one of the lucky ones.  Except once.  When I was about 7.  Coming back from Germany.

We were heading back to the States after an Army stint in Germany.  I remember 4 things about the plane ride home.  1) Puke; 2) coffee; 3) two floors; and 3) darkness.

I don’t know what made me feel sick,  but I remember begging my dad to take me to the bathroom.  Unfortunately, the bathroom was occupied.  If I recall correctly, I sat back down in my seat or was in the approximate area.  I vomited all over the woman sitting next to me (so much for barf bags, my only opportunity to actually use one). All over her and her floor length fur coat.  That was my first memory of that flight.

The stewardess (I’m not being politically incorrect, this was the ’70’s) cleaned it up with loads and loads of coffee grinds.  I don’t know what happened to good old Pine Sol.  Maybe they ran out.  I’m not sure if the coffee cleaned it, but it did cover up the smell.  Can’t get a good whiff of Maxwell House without thinking of throw-up.  That was memory #2.

I watched Sex and The City Part 2 recently.  The ladies were on a plane with 2 levels.  One level had a bar.  I was jealous.  Then I remembered my flight home from Germany had 2 levels.  Completely wasted on a 7 year old.  I want a do-over.  Memory #3.

I lived in a country for 2 years where it was dark a lot of the time.  And I was afraid of the dark.  When we landed in New York and it was dark, I was confused.  I never thought it was because it was something like 3 in the morning.  Yup, #4.

Isn’t it funny how your brain only remembers certain parts of an event?  And even then, we aren’t sure if those memories are correct.  My memory could be completely different from my brother’s memory of the same event.  I know, this is some deep thinking.  Don’t hurt yourself.  I think I did.

Up In Smoke

I couldn't quite pull this off.  As much as I tried.

I couldn’t quite pull this off. As much as I tried.  And I tried.  Believe me.

I smoked.  Okay, I tried to smoke.  I tried to smoke so much that I actually bought a whole pack of cigarettes with my allowance once.  I was 14.  All my friends were doing it so why not?  I wasn’t one to pass on a good peer pressure moment.  I walked all the way (a mile) to the neighborhood deli to purchase this pack of cigarettes.  In the day before I.D. was required.  I was the shit.

My brothers made this really crappy fort in the back yard.  It was made of wood scraps found in our basement and was about the size of a latrine except not as nice.  The parents thought their offspring were being creative and imaginative.  In actuality, this was the place to go to release our “cool.”  Our little fort of crap made from scraps where I would start to “smoke” my first and last pack of Marlboros.

At first, I didn’t inhale.  I know it conjures up images of our 42nd president (don’t be impressed, I had to look that up).  But I am not lying.  This went on for a good week.  Until I inhaled.  What came next was one 70 pound teenage girl bent over a curb outside of the Easy Glider Roller Rink.  As green in the face as what was coming out of her mouth.  With the spins to match.  Yes, that girl was Yours Truly.  That was the end of my love affair with cigarettes.  My parents found out about my little stint with the smoking stick.  A neighbor ratted me out.  But I got the last laugh because I quit anyway.

Since my experience, I have always wondered why people bother smoking.  Surely, I’m not the only one who reacted so negatively.  I’ve asked and the answer is always “you get used to it.”  Yes, and I suppose you could get used to having someone hit you in the stomach repeatedly with a club, but why do it?  I have to say I am incredibly grateful for that night at the curb, Mr. Vomit.  My lungs thank you too.  And my face.  My heart.  My teeth.  Get the picture?  Just Say No.  I didn’t.

The Mortified Lagoon

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When your dad asks you to go to the movies with him because his original date — your mom — is sick and can’t go, confirm the movie you are seeing before you commit.  In 1980, we didn’t have the internet, so I was depending on his mature, grown-up ability to decipher what would be bad and/or good for a 13 year old girl to see.  Actually let me rephrase.  A daughter and father to see.  Together.  According to today’s standards, The Blue Lagoon isn’t bad.  In fact, it is pretty “G” rated compared to what modern movie production companies consider to be low threat to a kid’s psyche.

I recall that there were loin cloths, nude shots, sex scenes and the moment a teenage girl gets her period for the first time.  Oh, I forgot.  She also gives birth.  Remember, she was about the age I was at the time.  To make matters worse, the two main characters were cousins.  To rephrase what I’m sure my 13 year old brain was saying to itself, “totally gross.”

I was red with embarrassment.  The only thing I wanted to do was get on my hands and knees and make myself disappear under the seat in front of me.  Honestly, I don’t think I could look my dad in the eye for a week.

I recently caught part of that movie on some cable show.  It’s filled with plenty of cheese, but not much else.  The “sex” scenes weren’t too revealing and Brooke’s hair was glued to her boobs during the entire film.  But through the eyes of a prepubescent 13 year old girl, it may as well have been porn.  Porn that was watched with her dad.  Totally gross.  I’m sure “Herbie Goes Bananas” was playing in the theater next door.  That probably would have been a better choice.  Surely, Herbie’s headlights were a little less intimidating.

Girl of Steel

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It was a beautiful morning in the summer of 1988.  I was driving to work.  My music was blasting (I’m guessing that may be part of the reason why I now have permanent ringing in my ears).  The windows were down.  All was good with the world.  Until I tried to merge onto I-287 and was met with an 18-wheeler.  Literally.

Ok, so it wasn’t my fault.  Right?  I mean, I had my blinker on.  So what if I was driving a little 2-door Honda CRX.  It was red.  The guy should have seen me and moved out of the way.  He didn’t.  He hit me instead.  Then decided to try and make a get-away.  Yeah, right.  Nice try buddy.

So, I did what every 100-pound 20 year old young woman should do.  I got out of my car.  In the middle of the lane.  In rush hour traffic on a major highway.  And I stood there with my hand up, screaming obscenities.  Picture Superman trying to stop traffic with his super powers.  Well, without the obscenities.  Except I didn’t have any super powers.  I was cute.  Sometimes that worked for me.  But not this time.  The trucker looked at me like I had 2 heads.  I know he thought I was nuts.  In retrospect, I was.

This was in the day before everyone had a “car phone.”  My future sister-in-law saw me standing there looking like a lunatic.  She was 2 lanes over and couldn’t get to me.  Like I said, it was during major rush hour traffic.  Outside of a city.  And she’s not an idiot.  When she got to work she called my future DH.

I was a damsel in distress.  Except I was gone by the time future DH got there.  Remember those SOS trucks that used to drive up and down the highways looking to help stranded drivers?  One of those guys stopped and basically told me to move along.  As for the truck driver, he did NOT think I was very cute.  Not at all.  I don’t know how it ends.  I can’t remember.  No one was hurt or arrested so all must have gone well.  My car even survived.

So, you know when I complain after working at My Retail Job for 7.5 hours on my feet the entire time and feeling like I got hit by a Mack truck?  I literally know the feeling.  Because I was hit by one.  How many people can say that?