Today is the day we begin our project. Remember When (technically, Remember Whenning, based on something my mom’s friend used to say…another topic for another day, apparently) came about after reading one post after another on Mannequin’s site and realizing that our memories and deep nostalgia can be triggered by a toy or a word or a house… I wanted to share those recollections with more than just another commenter or two here or there. I wanted us to gather together and create something special in that we could find common threads that run through our lives regardless of how different we may be or how different our upbringing may have been. We were all young once and we all have memories or dreams from those days back when.
I do hope you’ll play along. I can’t wait to read your stories and to learn more about you.
Thanks to Mannequin for the lovely uniform photo (which I’ve doctored a bit for my own purposes) and for taking lead this week. Now, on to the races!
Don’t forget to trackback to our posts
and hit up Mr. Linky!
Freshman year. Red velvet vests with gold trim. White wool skirts that barely made it past mid-thigh. Little white dance panties to ensure our delicate bits were properly covered. White-ish blouses with frilly jabots that would have made Shirley Partridge beam with pride. White go-go boots. Red hats reminiscent of some very bad 1970s fast food/disco/stewardess fug. Hose to mimic the very cliché Southern California tan. Even on the girls with darker complexions.
And then there were the flags. The flags themselves weren’t bad, but the covers were yellow (Sundevil Gold, to be exact) and with all the red and white were were wearing, it made us look like we were carrying giant french fries. Oh, the horror!
Everyone wore the same color eyeshadow and lipstick. Black/gray/silver/white for the eyes. Tacky red for the lips.
Hair: up in a bun or tucked up neatly somehow.
Being that we were all in this together, you’d have thought “flag team” would have somehow made us an actual team. But we weren’t. Mostly because of one girl. Kim. She wanted to be queen bee and wasn’t, which pissed her off mightily. So she did what any bitter high school bitch would do: she took out her frustrations on everyone around her. At one point, our captain almost kicked her off the team, but that never quite happened. Suffice it to say, our long rides to and from games, field competitions, and parades were torture if we happened to be her bus. There was always wrangling going on behind the scenes to be assigned a different bus. ANY bus. Even if that meant we had to ride with the boosters (which meant that anyone who had a boyfriend or girlfriend would be under constand scrutiny and the under-blanket-handjobs simply wouldn’t happen until after the grown ups fell asleep).
Ah yes, you knew I’d get there eventually, didn’t you? Band geeks and sex. Regardless of the fact that EVERY bus had adult supervision, there was stuff happening all over the place. Roaming hands going more places than any gnome could dare to dream. Mouths finding things to keep them busy. There was even full on sex going on from time to time. Off the bus? Even worse. If we had to stay overnight for tournaments, that meant hotel rooms. At one point, we’d been put up at a rather large tower-type hotel. Boys and girls NOT on the same floor. Chaperones posted at elevators and stairwells. So what did the boys do? Scaled down the building from balcony to balcony. All for some booty hi-jinx.
If anyone lost their virginity on a trip, it was instantly known. The boys were bragging. The girls desperate to find out what it was like. And there’d always be a way that Kim would work her way into the middle of the conversation (or at least eavesdrop enough to get details) and then she’s make sure the chaperones knew, made sure EVERYONE knew. So much for a personal rite of passage.
There were also plenty of tears shed while wearing very uncomfortable and mostly unattractive clothing. Tears were shed for breakups. Tears were shed when we’d lose a competition (which didn’t happen often, thankfully). And tears for the wins. We had a good run that year and we took more wins than anyone thought we would. There were tears shed as we pulled away from the school for a trip. Tears as we said goodbye to host families and new friends. Tears upon our return. And sadly, there were tears shed because some people were just plain old mean.
Still, when I think back about my time on the flag team, I think of my friend Joy. My dear, darling friend who spoke Valley as proficiently as I did, who irritated Kim as much as I did, who was the only other freshman, and who also didn’t have the stereotypical anorexic body like most other girls did in high school. We were kindred spirits. She taught me to love the Boston Red Sox and how to triple a dose of Midol while also avoiding embarrassing leaks during our periods (remember, we were in short white skirts). I remember, too, the Saturdays spent driving around, picking up newspapers for recycling. Mostly it was me and my dad. Sometimes it was me and my mom. Occasionally, it was my friend Monty and I. No matter who was with me, it was a challenge to get those papers loaded and then drive them up to Sony where the big trucks were and where we unloaded. There was a method to the madness and it took a whole Saturday to do it. We’d be worn out and yet, sometimes we’d still have to head back down to the school and put on a show.
Of the show, I remember with amazing clarity the big sweeps of the flags during Dvořák’s New World Symphony (our opening number). I can still recall the snaps and twirls, the sweeps, and then…the big flag toss that we never thought we’d perfect, but did! I remember the pride in a show well done. Hitting our marks. Staying in step and in time. Those were the moments we were a team. It didn’t take long for it to fall apart after with Kim’s mouth going, but during the show…we were a team and it felt damn good. We were a force with which to be reckoned. We were good.
Still and all, at the end of the semester, I knew I wouldn’t be back for another year. Kim would be gone, but I knew there’d be someone else to take her place. Sadly, my decision not to return meant I missed out on new uniforms (with longer skirts, capes, and awesome hats!) and an extended flag season (two semesters of flag “P.E.” instead of one…and damn that stupid freshman P.E….tumbling? Does it sound like I was into gymnastics? No! I had breasts and hips and would have gone to class with a foaming mouth just to bite the coach on the leg to prove I was rabid and therefore NOT to be trifled with nor to be forced into gymnastics — to no avail).
Of all the various parts to our uniforms, I never brought one home. The boosters had them cleaned after every weekend. The only thing I got to keep were the boots, and those lasted a few years longer as Halloween gear.
Memories though…I have those. More than I can share here. So many more than I can share here.
And there it is, my entry into this week’s inaugural Remember When.
Thank you, Mannequin, for hosting this week. Now I have to start thinking about next. Yikes!