August 17, 2009

Summer of Freedom, Summer of Love (Part 1)

I've always been drawn to memoir as a genre. Since I was a little girl, I've been writing down my memories and the events that are important to me. From time to time, I've shared some on here. Lately I've been revisiting past times in my life, probably because the new addition (Charlie) makes me even more reflective than I already am. Life really does fly by, and no matter how old I get, I never want to forget the events that made me who I am. I think someday I'd really love to write the story of my life, even though I'm not particularly interesting or profound. Anyway, I'm ready now to share a set of memories from one particular summer with you, as well as some pictures from around that time.

(Me and my friend Katie at our homecoming dance, circa 1995. Damn, I was skinny! And cute - even with red eyes! Why was I so hard on myself back then? Sorry about the bad photo - it's a picture of a picture.)

It's become almost a daily thing for me to take Charlie for a nice long drive in order to get him to take a nap. I have to admit that it's wonderful to have the freedom to be able to do that instead of constantly watching the clock and anticipating having to be back at work. Parenthood may be the job that never, ever ends, but it's loads more enjoyable than any "real" job I've ever had.

As I drive along the busy southern California freeways, Charlie asleep in his car seat in the back seat, my mind definitely tends to wander, and today it went back to the summer of 1995, back to the heat and humidity that characterize summers in south Texas. That was my last summer of freedom, probably my last time really being a kid, and I didn't know it at the time, and I probably wouldn't have cared if told so. I was entirely too anxious to grow up.

Summer for me always really began with my birthday on June 7, and that summer I turned 16. Around that time, I was (very reluctantly) confirmed into the Catholic Church. After two years of attending confirmation classes (taught by the most inane and boring nun in the history of the world) and a lifetime of doubting my belief in the Catholic faith, I was finally considered an adult in the eyes of the Church, free to make my own decisions regarding my "faith."

So I did what any closet agnostic teen would do: I chose not to go back to church or Sunday school.

And then shortly thereafter I went out one Saturday night with my friends Katie and Bonnie (who were sisters). We went to a popular hangout that featured live country music and lots of people in Wranglers and lots of line dancing. I was not a "kicker," as those who were into country music and Wranglers and line dancing and raising livestock were called, but our options were so limited. We hung out in the parking lot with friends and smoked cigarettes and drank Bud Light.

I felt really cool.

And then next thing you know we saw the telltale flashlights signaling that the cops were on their way, so we all scattered and dumped our beers and tried to look really innocent. I was sitting in this guy Donnie's truck, and I had no idea what to do with my beer, what with my lack of experience with the police and all, so I put in on the seat behind me. Katie was hanging out right near me.

To make a very long story short, Katie and I both got busted for underage possession for that stupid Bud Light that I was too stupid to dump on the stupid ground. (Stupid, stupid, stupid!) The cop who busted us made us walk all the way over to his car and then shined his flashlight in our eyes to scare us and try to make us turn against each other, but Katie and I were tight and stuck to our story: We don't know whose beer it was. We were just hanging around but weren't drinking. Honest, Officer!

And then he wrote out tickets for both of us for "Minor in Possession", each of which ended being over $300. We stayed up the whole night in a state of agitated exhilaration getting our stories just right, so that our moms wouldn't think we were lying. Our story was exactly what we told the cop, that the beer wasn't ours, that it just happened to be there and we were in the wrong place at the wrong time and please don't ground me, Mom.

I seriously doubt now that my mom believed me or my stupid story, but she never called me out as a liar, which I totally was. At that point in my life, I had no problems lying to my mom, because I was so sure that she wouldn't love me anymore if she knew how inwardly rotten I was. (Stupid Catholic guilt.) And let's face it, no matter how rebellious I was, I still desperately needed her love and approval. I hadn't yet learned how to completely thumb my nose at my mother's expectations. (That came later.)

Part 2 coming soon...


Angie Eats Peace said...

Cute picture!

amber said...

I love seeing throw back pics. I'm interested to read part 2.