As I write this, in my other Explorer tab, I am IM-ing with Jane, my 8th grade lab partner and elementary school classmate. Facebook strikes again. There are now Facebook pages for my elementary school (which closed in the ’70s), my junior high (which became a middle school in the ’80s), as well as groups for various sub-populations of my high school. This has facilitated some surprising reconnections, which I don’t have time to elaborate on right now but it has been a trip. And a half. More on this on Friday. I have been a very bad girl today and have left essentially no time to write this post, and there are a whole lot of thoughts swirling around my head right now.
I just finished putting some pictures from my junior high school yearbook online. They are from 9th grade. What precipitated this is I got a haircut today and decided to snag a decent picture of myself while the do was still in beauty-parlor shape. So I snapped a few off with my cell phone, and found I kind of liked this one:
As I was admiring the rare photo that actually sort of looks like me, it struck me how very similar my expression was to my 9th grade yearbook photo. So, especially as I have been having so many exchanges with people from 7th grade (yes…a lot of exchanges with people from 7th grade), I thought I would pull out that yearbook and take a look to compare. What do you think? (Excuse the grainy quality…I took pictures of the yearbook using my cell phone as well.)
For your education, I offer a few cultural references represented in this photo. First, the shirt was a purple, flowered Huckabee, which I eventually melted by attempting to iron it. In those days, the bottom of the family iron had a layer of melted, what? It was beyond polyester, whatever it was. I just remember touching the hot iron to it and watching it evaporate.
Here’s what that type of shirt looked like in all its glory. (Every time I search for “Huckabee shirt,” I find Mike Huckabee T-shirts, so this is not a Huckabee, but it’ll have to do.) This sort of thing was a staple in my closet, though I had to share these and all manner of sparkly or sequined apparel with my sister.
Another cultural reference: the hair. One of my reacquainted 7th grade friends admired my 9th grade hair, citing “curling iron envy.” (Tip o’ the pen to Janice.) But no! The curling iron was a dangerous weapon, one that left a nasty burn on my friend Marcy’s neck. What I used was a skinny round brush and a blow dryer. Actually, before I got my skinny round brush, I used a bottle scrubber. NO JOKE! That was the way to get that god-awful ’70s curl: skinny round brush or bottle scrubber.
One of the weirder things about the reconnections for someone with a memory like mine (which seems more bizarre by the day) happens when I come across the name of someone I would never have thought of on my own. Suddenly long-dormant memories begin to play themselves. I see your hairstyle. Where you are standing next to your friend. I see hallways and rooms I haven’t entered in 40 years. And it makes me wonder whether my entire life is stored in one long 24-frame-per-second reel in my brain, ready to be played back at will in little snippets. Is every memory accessible? I am beginning to think they may be.
In any case, I was up to much mischief on Facebook, posting pictures of classmates from junior high…pictures I think people would rather forget (except the men, who are happy to be reminded of their hair).
So stay back! I have my yearbooks, and I’m not afraid to use them…