Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Memories and Fears

Although I've taken a few days to post a plethora of photos, my mind is still stuck back in the era of my initial wearing of shorts and the epic colouring of pants.

Times were different then. There wasn't the peer pressure to sport Nike shoes and Gap jeans and stupid baseball hats worn at cock-eyed angles. Still, kids being kids, or at least me being me, there was some internal pressure to fit in. The ridiculous pettiness of wants that caused me some angst then almost mortifies me now. I can remember three incredibly juvenile wishes from that time — the time of young adolescence.

One: at me school, we boys didn't exactly wear uniforms, but we had a strict dress code that included ties and dress shirts. If I recall, jackets and/or sweaters were optional, but they were frequently worn. At that time, around 1961, it seemed to me that suit jackets with two vents at the back of suit jackets were de rigeur. Alas, not exactly being a fashion statement (remember the colouring of the suit pants), I was reduced to wearing a single vent jacket. Oh the shame and ignominy!

Two: in Montreal winters, the wearing of snow boots (overshoes) in winter was necessary, especially when one had to walk, as I did, a long distance to school. From boyhood, I had worn boots with a buckle at the top. But some guys were exceedingly cool and wore boots with two zippers at the front. Most wonderfully, they could loosen the zippers and let that front flap down in a kind of cool, jaunty look. What an awesome way to dress! I wanted me a pair like that.

Three: I had a briefcase with handles to transport my homework back and forth. Not that I bothered doing homework much, but I did usually trundle the books about regardless. And it was a way to transport boring and banal lunches too: which I often didn't bother to eat. Anyway ... I perceived the in (although I don't think we used the word back then) type of carrying case to be one without handles: kind of like a big looseleaf binder — very big — big enough to port several books ... and one unappetizing lunch.

That's it: the three items that I wished for. I got two of the them — the boots and the briefcase binder — and I must say that I didn't find them particularly satisfying. The suit jacket: I don't remember if I ever got a dual-vented one or whether they went out of and stayed out of fashion or whether I just didn't care anymore. Regardless, we soon moved to Ontario where school dress was much more casual, and it didn't really matter anymore. Being a year older probably helped too.

There's not much point to these recollections; they just surfaced when I pondered upon that era. It amazes me how dumb I was: how dumb kids of a certain age can be. It makes me afraid because there is peer pressure now: a lot of it, especially for girls. It makes me scared for that precious Nikki Dee of mine: scared to think of the ordeals that she will face. I'm scared enough already. She's a friendly kid who wants to greet and hug every child she sees, and I know she will be hurt and changed because of how kids will and do respond. I want protect her, take her away to the woods where I will homeschool her. I will bring her back when the horror that is adolescence diminishes into adulthood. I don't suppose that her parents will consent to this though. God help this jewel of a young human being!


Woman in a Window said...

This is my favorite of all your posts, the time period you call up and your deep desires. Start with them young not giving a shit. Start with them developing their own sense of style. My daughter is as shy and sensitive as they come and yet she rocks Medusalike outfits 'cause it's just her style, she tells me. And my son wears a 1940's Mennonite hat. Sure, my kids are weird, but they wear weird well.

Love this bit of writing!

Anonymous said...

Got to do my blog thing early. I have kid care duties today. I so empathize with you about our innocent children. Within my own children and grandchildren I can see differences in how society affects them. It is the way they are taught or modeled or whatever, I think, that affects they way they make choices and react to the pressures out there. I think so many of those that run with the pack just don't have the support they need from their foundation. Hang with em as long as you can.

Mary said...


It's indeed scary the things that kids have to face these days. I enjoyed your memories and must say that all kids covet certain things one year and the next they those things don't mean anything.

It scares me with Brandon starting high school in the fall. This young man has overcome so many obstacles in his life. Scary indeed. I don't think your reaction is any different than many parents and grandparents. I know how much you love Nikki Dee.

Have a great day, my friend.

jinksy said...

I can't imagine Nikki Dee would ever give in to peer pressure. She's much more likely to be the up front, trend setter! Worry not...

KGMom said...

AC-- I understand this post completely.
Whatever the specific circumstance, children all want to fit in. Clothing is an obvious way to do that.
And then as we get older we ruminate upon our youthful experiences--simultaneously wondering why we were suckered in, and yet still recalling the pain of not having exactly what it took to fit in.

Ruth said...

I would never, ever want to go through grades 7-9 again. Our city has become so multicultural, that there are fewer "norms" in the schools. When I was in Jr High, we were all caucasian, English speaking kids and the peer pressure was great.

karla said...