Tag Archives: growing up

My First Kiss- SOL #24

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First kisses are awkward and exciting, but mostly awkward. The year was 1991. I was 10 years old, and it was the summer after fifth grade. As always, I was spending my summer at day camp. Being the daughter of working parents meant that summers weren’t really vacations. Anyway, summer camp at Sam Rayburn Middle School was typical. You know, arts and crafts, sports, recess, the occasional field trip. The difference, this year, was that I suddenly realized that I found boys cute. Prior to this summer, boys were cool, in a friendship kind of way, and I wanted to vomit anytime any of my friends went all googly-eyed and tongue-tied whenever the boys were around. Gross!

Well, this particular summer, I flirted (if you could call it that…) with Chris, a 10 year old from another school. According to my friends, he liked me, too. Back then, it was normal to send your friends on a mission to find out if someone liked you. You’d tell your friends who would talk to his friends who would talk to him. The news about him liking me back took the reverse route. So, after establishing that we were in “mutual like” with one another, the next logical step seemed to be that we had to kiss. At least these were the rules my friends told me. Who makes up these rules anyhow?

Ever since figuring out we liked each other, Chris and I had been avoiding each other like the plague. I guess, when you’re a kid, liking someone (and knowing that they know that you like them) is the ultimate embarrassment. Despite our best attempts to steer clear of one another, our friends began planning our first kiss. In order for us not to get caught, the plan was for our kiss to happen on the last field trip of the summer, when we’d head to Lake Bryan for a picnic and swimming party. The days leading up to the field trip were the worst. I was a nervous wreck! What if I do it wrong? How are you supposed to kiss anyway? What if people see us?

The day finally arrived. Surrounded by my girlfriends, who were in a tizzy about my impending step toward adulthood, I got cold feet. I begged them to call it off, but they told me I was stupid if I didn’t kiss him. This was my chance, they said. He was the cutest boy at camp (he really was). Standing near the lakeshore, I peered across the shore at Chris, who was in a similar situation. We exchanged glances. Despite the fear on both of our faces, we went forward with the plan.

Since the lake was crawling with camp counselors who would surely turn us in if they caught us smooching, the plan was for Chris and I to kiss in the lake. Floating about 30 yards from the shore was a platform where kids would climb up and jump off into the lake. The pier was held up by two floating tubes on either side, leaving a passageway underneath, with about a foot of exposed air between the water’s surface and the bottom of the platform. According to our friends, we were to swim out at the same time, meet under the platform, and kiss. Magical, right? Wrong.

We both swam out toward the platform and met underneath. As we broke the surface of the water, we caught a glimpse of one another. The next thing I know, I’ve closed my eyes and leaned toward him. Our lips touched for a split second. Literally, my first kiss lasted a millisecond. As soon as I felt his lips on mine, I pulled away, dove back under the water, and swam back to shore. Once back on dry land, I never spoke to Chris again. Seriously. The summer ended a few days later, and since we went to different schools, we may as well have lived in different worlds.

I did actually see him one more time. It was sometime in college. I was browsing the movie rentals at a local movie store when I caught a glimpse of his face. It was one of those “Oh my gosh! I recognize that face, but where do I know him from?” moments. After following him around (not in a creepy stalker way…) the aisles, it dawned on me. That’s my first kiss guy! I remember thinking how funny it was because I was totally not attracted to him anymore. He was totally thugged out in baggy, sagging jeans, an oversized white t-shirt, and red sneakers. Not exactly the cutest guy anymore.

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I Remember…- SOL #20

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I saw this YouTube video posted on a friend’s wall. It’s all about the things that kids born in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s did back then that nowadays people freak out about….yet somehow we survived! 🙂 It got me thinking about life ‘way back when’ (you know, in the 80’s).

I remember growing up with ONE phone in the house. It was mounted on the wall in the kitchen, and it had a 20 foot-long cord attached to the receiver. I remember twirling the cord while I talked so much that I was a) tangled up by the time I was done or b) the cord was so knotted that my mom got mad and made me untwist it. If you wanted privacy, you stretched it as far as it would go, held the receiver really close to your mouth, whispered, and hoped for the best.

I remember playing outside til dark, the sun serving as our watch. I remember hearing mom yell down the street, “Dinner time, come on home!” I remember a time when the neighbors looked out for us kids, and when we were up to no good, we knew our mom was going to hear about it!

I remember getting in trouble at home if I got in trouble at school. The worst thing ever was your teacher calling home to tell your mom or dad something that you did wrong.

I remember cassette tapes. I remember recording songs from the radio so that you had the latest and greatest Billy Ocean or Richard Marx single. I remember calling into the radio to request a song or participate in a contest. I remember busy signals. Man were those annoying!

I remember getting a portable CD player in middle school. I was one cool kid! I remember buying a CD case so I could listen to my CDs without having to carry it. Think fanny pack! Not a good look, but hey, it was the 90’s. I remember going running with my CD player attached to my hip only to realize that running made the CD skip, so I would reduce my speed so I could jam out to my Ace of Base or Hanson CD. Yes, I said it. I listened to Hanson as a kid.

I remember living BEFORE the Internet was invented. Man am I old! 😉 I remember getting the Internet in high school. We had one computer in the house. In my parents’ bedroom, and was only available at certain times. I remember the dooo-dweee-ooo-dweee-ooo sound of our dial up Internet trying to connect. I remember mom getting mad when I tried to connect when she was on the phone. One phone line, remember? I remember waiting FOREVER for a page to load, but not getting as impatient, because that’s just the way it was.

I remember Napster and the land of illegal downloading. I made so many mixed CDs. The quality wasn’t great, but hey, it was free!

I remember getting our first gaming system, a Super Nintendo. I can still, to this day, be taken back to my youth whenever I hear the Mario Bros. theme song. I remember having to share TV time with my brother, fighting over whether we should play Yoshi’s World or Street Fighter. I remember watching my dad play Nintendo. I still chuckle when I think about how any time he made his character jump on the screen, he’d move the controller and his leg. As if that helped! 🙂

I remember going to the public library. The smell of old books, the thrill of getting my first library card, and sitting on the carpet, surrounding myself with books. Those were the days. I love a good library. Wish I had one nearby.

I remember when a candy bar cost $0.45 and a piece of bubble gum was a nickel. I remember riding my bike to the 7-11 to buy a slurpee and some candy with my friends. The independence I felt was such a thrill!

I remember nights at the baseball field, watching my younger brother play tee ball, and eventually little league baseball. I remember all of us kids running around like we owned the place, which we did. I remember Big League Chew and snow cones, frito pies and hotdogs. I remember whispering about crushes and cheering on our friends.

As I look back on my youth, I have fond memories. While I can’t imagine life without technology now, I’m kinda glad I grew up in a simpler time. I think my childhood was better for it.

She Remembers- SOL #31

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She Remembers

She remembers caring for him,
pretending he was her baby.
She remembers him following her around
like a shadow, a copy cat.
She remembers him pestering,
annoying,
bothering,
tattling,
fighting.
She remembers being enemies,
destined to never be friends.
She remembers joining forces,
combining efforts,
making peace–
if just for a moment.
She remembers laughing,
hugging,
playing,
talking.
She remembers waking up and
realizing he’d grown up,
matured,
become a man.
She remembers his wedding,
crying tears of joy and pride.
She remembers him becoming
a daddy.
She remembers being proud
of her little brother.
Loving him despite the differences,
Loving him because of them.

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Where I’m From…-SOL #29

For months, I’ve been working on my version of “Where I’m From”. I hadn’t been able to get it quite right, and I’m not sure I have even now, but I’m finally willing to share it. Any feedback would be appreciated.

Where I’m From

I’m from the country,
shellin’ peas on the front porch swing,
listening to Mamaw and Grandaddy spin stories,
the smell of warm banana puddin’ wafting out of the kitchen.
I’m from pecan trees big enough to climb,
whose branches held the promise of adventure.

I’m from stayin’ out ’til dark,
and bedtime stories with one Poky Little Puppy.
I’m from cousins who are best friends
and grandmas who are secret keepers.
From yes ma’ams and no sirs,
from spankings and “Go to your room!”

I’m from playhouses and slumber parties,
passing notes and whispering secrets.
From Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow,
Punky Brewster and Bill Nye.
I’m from Trapper Keepers and spelling bees,
from school cafeterias that smelled like PB & J.

I’m from pick-up trucks caked with mud,
Aggie bonfires and cross-town rivalries.
From Carebears and My Little Ponies,
from first kisses and broken hearts.
I am from those moments–
growing up in a small town–
destined to see the world.