Tuesday, August 28, 2007

packrat cadet kisser who sleeps through humanity

We are in full-throttle moving mode, with tons of boxes and piles of papers and bags of peanuts lying around like we just don't care. So in the last two days, I've been trying to come to terms with my pack-ratedness. I get it honestly. When my sister and I cleaned out my parents' house a few years ago, we filled a dumpster full of junk my parents had squirreled away -- jars and jars of canned tomatoes and peaches that had turned the color of dirt, napkins from parties they threw back in the 60s, clothes full of holes, but saved just in case every store on the face of the planet closed and we had to revert to our pioneer genes to make it through the long, cold winters in Davie County.

But, by the looks of our basement, I didn't get rid of enough. What I couldn't throw away, I inherited, including partial packages of tissue paper and random drapery hooks. But in this packing process, I'm bound and determined to make my "change is good" mantra mean something. I mean, how much are you really changing when you have a broken plate from your first apartment wrapped and stored like it was your first Oscar?

So far, Pat's found a folder of train stubs and receipts from his trip to Japan in 1994. Among other things, I've found my fourth grade yearbook, a 1968 Winston-Salem Journal clipping about Max Woosley, the wife of Oscar "Pop" Woosley who ran the Children's Home in Winston-Salem and was the only father my dad ever knew, and a box full of stuff from my camping trip across the country when I was 16/17.

In that box was a journal from my trip with Teens Camping Tour of the West, which pretty much killed my idea that I've changed much in the last 20 years. Then: shy, confused, excited, and scared shitless by boys. Today: shy, confused, excited, and scared shitless by boys.

July 6, 1989:

We got up today (actually yesterday) from sleeping underneath the stars and heading on out to Colorado and the great Rockies. Today was an awesome (there's that word again!) day! After we traveled for a while, we went into the van and there was a blanket across the front seat so that we couldn't see out the windows. Then we all had to put our pillows over the windows so we couldn't see out. We had to listen to a John Denver tape about "being human." (I fell asleep.) Then we finally got there and we had to close our eyes and get out of the van and stand in a semi-circle. Finally, after listening to another John Denver song about the Rocky Mountains (big hint, huh?) we opened our eyes. It was astoundingly beautiful, that's the only was to explain it. ... After that we practiced "kissing a cadet" for the Air Force Base. All the girls kissed Steve and Peter, and the guys kissed Beth and Nikki. How embarrassing! It was even worse at the Academy. Peter said we wouldn't be able to get back onto the van unless we kissed a cadet. So we did it. It wasn't that thrilling, but I guess it was OK. We had to chase them all down. I bet they went back to their dorms and said to each other, "Did you see those girls from North Carolina?" At least it would be a topic of conversation.

Because conversation is what every Air Force Academy cadet wants with a group of underage teenage girls.


Frances said...

HOLY CRAP. this is my most favorite thing you've written ever. the whole thing, not just the journal gem. what the hell? why'd they make y'all kiss a cadet? don't you think that's weird? and i love Love LOVE all the john denver comments. you may be shy, excited, and scared shitless of boys, but you my girl.

Anonymous said...

You were so grown up then. My journal entry at that age would have focused only on the kissing a cadet thing....which is weird.
you ain't scared of P.H.?


avan said...

hahaha! it's crazy how much TCTW doesn't change. every single person goes on the same trip, even today. i love that about the trip out west.

there are so many things i would do different if i got to go out west again. one day i'll take the trip again but take my friends, husband, or family, whatever the case may be.