Nike high-tops were all the rage in fourth grade. Boys did not lace them to the top, but instead tucked the tops in their jeans and left the tongues sticking out in front. I told mama I wanted some of the shoes with the big tongues that stuck up. We drove all over looking for such shoes, insisting to the sales people that we were not looking for high tops, but shoes with big tongues.
The next year, high tops were going out. Since they were called “high-tops,” it made perfect sense that regular Nike’s were “low-tops.” I was so proud of my new shoes the first day of school. The boy sitting behind me had the same pair. “Look!” I said. “We both have Nike low-tops.” “They’re not called low tops, stupid,” he said. And the whole class laughed.
As we were leaving the water park after a day of fun when I was twelve or so, my sister snickered and told me to look at the back of my swimsuit. It was ripped from top to bottom, with my white bun glistening in the sun. I’d had no idea. My parents apologetically told me that it had been that way for several hours, but they didn’t want to spoil my fun, so they didn’t tell.
When I was a freshman in High School, I had a new neighbor who happened to be in my grade and happened to be the new school hottie. All the boys liked her, including this one. I never attempted to talk to her; instead, I showed off any time she was out. At the end of the year she announced she was moving, and she asked why I never talked to her. I invited her over for a movie, and she gladly accepted. We sat there awkwardly; I spoke not a word until the movie was over, and then I blurted out, “Can I kiss you?” At this, she laughed very hard and said, “How about a hug?”
Also my freshman year: After a band competition, we were to spend the day having fun in whatever forgotten city we had traveled to compete. All the other kids were smart and brought a nice change of clothes, including tennis shoes. I had a white undershirt and lime green shorts with which I wore my black band socks and black shiny marching shoes. My sophomore girlfriend of two weeks was embarrassed to walk with me and got back with her old boyfriend that day.
My sophomore year: At Christmas, we drove to see my grandparents in Arizona. On the way, we drove through El Paso and daddy pointed out that the hills we saw in the background were in Mexico. Sitting in youth group a few months later at my girlfriend’s church where her daddy was the pastor, the youth director asked who had traveled out of the country. I raised my hand and said I’d been to Mexico, immediately wondering why the hell I said such a thing. Everyone knew I was lying, so I sat there awkwardly and probably didn’t speak the rest of the night.
Also my sophomore year: Daddy got a new electric typewriter—a very fancy typewriter. It had a reverse key and built in correction tape. I’d heard of “word processors,” and was sure that’s what we had. Later in the year in class, I told the teacher I’d been typing on my daddy’s word processor. One of my friends said, “That’s not a word processor! It’s a typewriter!” And the whole class laughed. That’s how I learned that we didn’t have a word processor.
To be continued.