What was your favorite outfit when you were a pre-teen or teen? For me, it was the following:
– a puffed-3/4-sleeve button-down shirt with light blue, magenta, and white stripes
– a matching magenta and white striped TIE
– magenta pants
– navy blue Bass sandals
– a gray faux Members Only jacket (similar to the real one pictured above, but purchased at our local discount department store, Caldor)
Have I given you enough of a visual? And, more important, can you feel the HOTNESS? I’d assembled this little number in the spring of 1984, when I was in eighth grade, and planned to unveil it on Easter Sunday, at church. Church was, of course, a house of holiness, but also a place to see and be seen. And boy, would I be seen that day.
I remember spending a lot of time getting ready on that Easter morning, not only making sure that my outfit looked right, but making sure that my hair was feathered perfectly (as perfect as my wavy, cowlicky hair would feather, anyway) and my makeup (blue eyeliner, pink blush, and Maybelline Strawberry Swirl Kissing Potion) was expertly applied. This may have been why my family and I were late to church, and why, when we did arrive, there was nowhere left to sit. We ended up standing in one of the aisles, where it was crowded, and hot, and reeked of incense and Easter lilies, and I could barely see anything or anyone, let alone allow my fabulous self to be seen.
Unfortunately, these crowded, hot, overwhelming conditions provided the perfect storm for one of my mega-migraines.
No, no, no, no, I told myself, trying to talk my body out of it. But it was too late: my mouth became dry, my stomach pitched, and then the headache seemed to want to pop my eyeballs right out of my skull. Everything in the room grew fuzzy.
My mother must have noticed I was having issues, because I remember her stage whispering to my father, “Richard! Richard! Go get the CAR!” Shortly thereafter, she led me and my sister back down the aisle, past all the people I’d hoped to impress, all the way to the back, where a large crowd of late-comers had gathered. Like everyone else, they’d come to worship, but on this holy day of resurrection, they were treated to a special bonus: a viewing of me, however resplendent in my Easter attire, as I resurrected my breakfast all over the back church steps.
I had hoped to make an impression that morning. And I did.