Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Kind of Kid I Was





I am only sixteen months old here and I am already looking for a story. This is not my house. I was known as the little girl who peeked into houses and only a very stern talking to ended this practice.

At a recent book club meeting, none of the other women understood the histrionics of the central character in THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING. But I understood her completely because that was the kind of girl I was. I clearly remember standing at my front door and singing as loud as I could in the hopes that I would be discovered. I loved having roles in plays at school or at church and I did silly things to draw attention to myself. I was the loudest kid in the alley playing dodge ball or capture the flag. I sewed the apron we were working on in Girl Scouts to my skirt to get a laugh. Or dropping my books--I did that a lot.  I was the kind of cheerleader who jumped up on bus trips to a distant game to lead everyone in a round of THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND. I never let anyone know I got good grades--didn't fit with my loony girl image. Never admitted I read several books a week. Never admitted I subscribed to THE NEW REPUBLIC and kept up with current events.

Of course, all of this went away when I married. And only then did my true personality emerge. Someone a lot quieter who was actually shy when forced to be herself.

What kind of kid were you?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just the opposite. I had friends but in school I was invisible. I just sat and did my work - I was always one of the smart kids - but never talked. I was painfully shy.

Jeff M.

George said...

I was a "bookworm." I always had a book in my hand. Back then, we were"tracked" in school which means the smart kids were tracked together in classes--and I was one of the smart kids. I had little interest in playing sports, but I did play for the high school tennis team (I wasn't very good).

Charles Gramlich said...

Generally pretty outgoing in gradeschool, then very quiet in high school until my senior year. After that I became increasingly introverted through the rest of my life.

Graham Powell said...

I was smart but very, very awkward and shy. I didn't really get over it until I was in my late 30s. And I read a lot. I remember smuggling books home from kindergarten (they weren't supposed to leave the classroom).

Back then I liked playing with the girls better than with the boys, and in the early 70s that was definitely frowned upon!

Anonymous said...

I was always mostly a loner, able to entertain myself with books and other solitary pursuits.


Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I was never a loner but at the same time I still find it awkward to impose myself on other people unless I know them well.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I was never a loner but at the same time I still find it awkward to impose myself on other people unless I know them well.

Richard said...

I wasn't one of the smart kids, I only wanted to goof around, play, run and jump. I lived on a few acres avocado ranch and climbed trees, made forts in the shrubs, roamed the hills, loved nature; animals, plants you name it. So-so student, struggled learning to read but once I got it I loved it. But I did swim. I was swimming competitively by age 8, kept doing that through college. I was painfully shy, especially with girls, had three or four close friends and that was it.

Ed Gorman said...

Very cute photo of a very cute woman. I really enjoyed this glimpse of your childhood. As for me, because of things that happened to me early on, lonely and angry but able to cover it because I was funny.

Deb said...

I really had two completely different childhoods: up to age 11 in the East End of London, where I was a typical kid, did well in school, loud and outgoing, but always lived to read; and then my adolescence after my family immigrated to the U.S. where I had to learn a whole new way of life. I ended up being quieter, more thoughtful, and more empathetic than I might have been had a remained in England.

Deb said...

Loved to read; but lived to read might be appropriate too!

Yvette said...

I was shy too. My brother and I began school not speaking much (if any) English - Spanish spoken at home and mostly continued to be.

In those days it was sink or swim, language-wise. Luckily we were intelligent and somehow, quickly caught on. To this day, my brother and I marvel at how easy it seemed.

I loved school (the NYC school system was still excellent) and did very well except for math which was always my bete noir.

I was a great clunk of a kid who escaped into books, art, magazines and Walt Disney, Saturday afternoon serials and movie musicals.

Cap'n Bob said...

I was very quiet and shy until you got to know me. I was witty and outspoken among friends, although that was always a small group. I loved exploring the woods, toy soldiers, cap guns, baseball, and riding my bike. I was smart but didn't care for school much.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - I love that 'photo! And as for me? I was always the quiet kid - the bookworm...

Al Tucher said...

That little girl obviously had two choices--writing or jail.

:-)