Monday, January 28, 2008

Roller skates, Nancy Drew, Fabric shops

This past weekend, Emily spent the entire two days with her friend Jessie. Both eleven years old, they were joined at the hip, playing on the computer, playing up in Emily's room, walking the dogs, starting a dog-walking business, making a picnic lunch to eat outside. Jessie spent the night and they stayed up watching movies, propped up with pillows on the pull-out sofa bed, with the two dogs. In the morning they had bagels and cream cheese in bed, watching cartoons.

At one point, Emily asked, "What did you do when you were 11, Mom?" I had to dig way back in my memory bank.

Eleven. Fifth grade, Miss Cummings' class. She was a new teacher, somewhat reserved and I don't remember her smiling very much. But I liked her. My friends and I used to do the classroom bulletin boards for her, changing them out for the seasons or for different class projects. That year, the school had a mother-daughter fashion show, and she chose me and another girl to be the models for our class. We got to go to JC Penney, and we felt like we were on 5th Avenue in New York. The sales ladies kept bringing us different outfits with all kinds of accessories to try on, making such a fuss over us. We both modeled spring dresses with hats, gloves and matching pocketbooks.

Nancy was my best friend. We went roller skating together, wearing skates that attached to our shoes and we wore the keys around our necks on a shoestring. Nancy had moccasins and I thought they were just the coolest thing and was so thrilled to get a pair for my birthday. We went to each other's houses after school and on weekends. We made lunches of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with potato chips on them, and ate outside on the back porch. We played our records and lip-synched our favorite songs, like "Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las, "Hey Jude" by the Beatles, and "Cherish" by Association. We also played Barbie dolls, but didn't tell anybody at school or they might think we were babies. We both had dressing tables with dotted-swiss skirts in our bedrooms, and her bedroom was decorated in lime green and mine was in yellow.

It was in 5th grade that my mom taught me to sew. I started out making jumpers and from there made everything from tops and pants to bathing suits. Mom and I used to haunt the local fabric stores (So-Fro and House of Fabrics) on the weekends, coming home with yards and yards of the stuff. And trim. Rick-rack. Piping. Daisy chains. Mom taught me that the style was all in the collar and the buttons. A nice set of buttons could change an outfit up to the next level in fashion.

I started my first diary. It was a small, red, leather-like one that had a lock and key. I wrote in it faithfully and much to my horror, one day my brothers and their friend stole into my room, picked the lock and read my diary! The worse part was that the friend was in my class at school and told all the kids the next day who I liked. I'm laughing as I type this, but at the time I was mortified. I remember running home from school, telling my mother, and the boys were grounded for two weeks. And they were so mad at their friend -- not for embarrassing me, but for ratting on them! That friend is one of the scout leaders in my son's scout troop today. I often wonder if he even remembers how he completely humiliated me. Luckily, for the literary world, I didn't stop writing, but did find a better hiding place.

I don't remember watching a lot of TV, since I was usually out-voted by my three brothers when it came to choosing a show. We had "only" one TV. I like Bewitched and That Girl, but mostly I spent a lot of time reading. I loved the Nancy Drew series, the Cherry Ames nursing series, and the classics that my kids know only through movies -- The Secret Garden, Bambi by Felix Salten -- and whatever biography I could get my hands on.

I made my musical debut in the school Show Choir. The audition was grueling. The music teacher rolled the upright piano to the hallway outside our classroom (we didn't have a music room, so she "traveled" around the school with the piano). The kids who wanted to try out lined up and took turns singing "Home on the Range" as she pounded out the notes on the piano. I was a nervous wreck. I kept starting before she did. I got a part in the choir anyway. I'm pretty sure everyone did.

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. Emily and her best friend go rollerblading, share American Girl books, and listen to their favorite CD's. She's never cared for Barbies, but has a collection of Webkin animals. And now that she's eleven, I think it's about time her mother taught her how to sew.


Lynne said...

Great post Karen. Isn't it funny how, though technology has changed, the kids still do the same things that we did?

Becky said...

Your post brought back such sweet memories for me. I had those roller skates and I was sewing in the 5th grade too. Barbies, diaries. Ah, growing up. Thanks, Karen. This was so much fun.

Karen said...

Oh Karen, thanks for the trip down memory lane. I think we shared pretty much the same things. Especially Barbie dolls and being afraid someone would find out! ;o)
I also loved The Monkees. Can't tell you how many times we pretended to "perform" onstage to Daydream Believer.
Blessings and hugs,

Robin said...

What sweet memories! And isn't it awesome to live them again through your daughter? Such a blessing.
And I loved the song Cherish! And "Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro!

BClark said...

Roller skating, one of my passions. I wore out the wheels on several pair of skates. Read every Nancy Drew at least twice and anything else i could get my hands on. Never really did Barbies, but did have several Madame Alexander dolls I loved. I made them all kinds of outfits. See we should have been best friends,lol. Barbara

Gena said...

Karen, thank you for visiting my blog! I hope you'll come again soon.

Also, I appreciate the violet advice. I'm going to try it out. Mine are still looking very sad. Today I went out and bought a pot of primroses. They are so beautiful. I will keep them indoors and see how they do.

Your post sure did bring back a lot of memories for me. I didn't play with Barbies as much as baby dolls, but I was terrified that someone would find out. Isn't that funny? 11 is still so young!

I watched the same shows you did, loved the Monkees, Bobby Sherman and Donny Osmond. Fun times...


BClark said...

Hey Karen, I meant to tell you I put your name down to be on a list that Violet Lady sent me. The details are over on my blog. Stay warm and well, Barbara

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Ah, such lovely memories! I enjoyed reading about your daughter's that she's making now, as well as your own. It also brought back some of mine - which include Nancy Drew books, lip synching/dancing to really old, bad music, and the single TV. We watched a lot of westerns and Bonanza in our house :) I'm mortified for you that your brothers picked the lock on your diary. I'm sort of glad I didnt' have any back then! :)

Great post, Karen, just great :)

College Daze said...

Wow.... I think this is the best post you've had yet. Even as your son, I didn't know a lot of those things (I probably didn't really listen before). Great post!!! (It's much more focused ;-)

Bat Masterson said...

Hello Karen,

I have been catching up on your blogs, I like the last one. Brings back memories.

Bat Masterson said...

Hello Karen,

I forgot to tell you that Matt send us a picture of himself all decked out in his tank uniform.

I guess you have a picture also, if not let me know.

Uncle Dick

Bill said...

I'm glad Emily asked you that question! You had a nice trip down Memory Lane, and thank you for sharing it with us.
My mom taught me to read with her old Nancy Drew books! I wrote about it, and it's in the Sept archive, The Making of a Nancy Boy. The first one she read to me was "The Secret in the Old Attic." I was spellbound.
Reading this post was perfect timimg...last night the local PBS station showed an old Lawrence Welk show. The Lennon Sisters sang "Georgie Girl." Remember that one?

kittyhox said...

I so enjoyed this post!

Jen said...

Such a special time with Emily. Madison has friends over alot. Probably almost every weekend....almost. But at least I know where she is and I love every minute of it.