For a little something different, I thought I’d take a bit of a stroll down memory lane to the earlier years of my life. This first post in the “this is me” series looks at my childhood and the high school years.
Here’s me as a baby. My parents had built this house (okay they weren’t physically doing the building) two years before I came along as firstborn. They stayed in the house for probably 30 years, and while I wasn’t all that impressed with the small town I grew up in, having a safe, stable home was great. We had the ’70s chic green carpet until I was in grade 7, I believe. I loved our wood-burning fireplace, which was made from reclaimed bricks that possibly came from the original hospital in town, although I may also be making that up.
This is me at three years old with my newborn brother. My mom calls this my “wistful look.” I guess I was initially not impressed by having to compete for my parents’ attention. Then I realized that he was a hairless guinea pig that could be played with.
I think I’m 9 or 10 in this picture. I started off with Winnie the Pooh wallpaper on the wall behind my bed. I vaguely recall that my parents surprised me with the change to rainbows. That’s a Charmkins house sitting on my chest of drawers, and a Popple that I’m holding. Go ’80s! And to my right is the striped “bankie” I’d had since I was a baby. It’s a shame I didn’t hang onto that.
My mom always insisted on taking first day of school photos outside our front door. I’m fairly sure this was my first day of grade seven, which was my last year at the elementary school right across the street from home. My mom had tons of flowers planted around the house. To the right of where I’m sitting were four o’clocks, which opened up each day in the late afternoon. I also strongly associate snapdragons, irises, and lilacs with my childhood home.
The summer after grade 8, I went on a 2-week school exchange trip to Japan. Another student and I stayed with a host family, who were quite nice. They had a fancy computerized toilet in the bathroom that the other girl and I used, but I didn’t try pressing any of the buttons, mostly because I didn’t want to have to call anyone in to rescue me from whatever the toilet might do.
I wasn’t so keen on the food, and ended up losing quite a bit of weight while I was there. I ate rice and not a whole lot else. One morning they served us fish heads for breakfast. I didn’t have the slightest clue what to do with it.
This photo is me chopping noodles of some sort. You can sort of see the braces that I was rocking.
This is the summer after grade 9. I was doing a 6-week French immersion program in Quebec, the French-speaking province in Canada. We stayed in college dorm rooms, which were pretty basic and had godawful plastic-covered pillows. I came down with chickenpox not long before the program started. I was probably still contagious when I had to fly out there, but my parents stuck me on the plane anyway.
I bonded with two girls and we were inseparable the whole time. This photo is taken in one of the girls’ dorm room. At that point in my life, I was a huge hockey fan, and it was a strong possibility in my mind that I might end up marrying Trevor Linden of the Vancouver Canucks (the t-shirt I’m wearing had his name on it and the Canucks’ logo at the time). The fact that he was already married wasn’t a deterrent at all in my imagination.
Grade 9 was the year when I decided a perm would be a good idea for some reason. Clearly, that didn’t work out well.
I’m not sure if this was from grade 10 or 11. I volunteered as a candy striper at the dinky little local hospital. A couple of my friends were doing it as well, and we’d get a little party going at dinnertime in the extended care wing’s dining room. We’d feed our assigned residents and keep up a merry chatter as we went.
Tucked into my pocket is a wrist brace. I had developed tendinitis from playing piano, but it persisted for at least another year after I stopped playing.
This was my high school graduation photo. I’d managed to ditch the perm by this point, but the bangs would persist for another couple of years.
I didn’t particularly want to go to my high school graduation. For one, I just didn’t care, but also my best friend had a convenient excuse to be out of town at the time. I remember one of the parents on the grad committee saying it would be one of the most important times in my life, and I thought what a sad life that would be if my dinky little high school graduation were to be the high point.
When I began university, I knew very quickly that I was where I belonged; high school was what got me there, but really wasn’t worth remembering beyond that.
All photos are the property of the author.
The rest of the “this was me” mini-series can be found here:
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