Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I did...what?

I've been pondering my childhood lately, among other things...and thinking about it, I was a STRANGE child. I am confused as to what my motivation was to do some of these things, but it was what I did. How did everyone handle my curiosity and strange idiosyncrasies?

1) I was quite entrepreneurial. I thought I could make big bucks selling lemonade, paper origami, weird things made from bread, and keychains made from boondoggle. Those are just the ones that I can recall at the moment... I see two problems with this: first, where was I going to find my initial financing? and to whom was I going to sell these odd products? Trust me, the market is not big for origami sold on a little table on the front lawn of a home in a cul-de-sac.

2) I had a strange obsession with buying things (hence the reason I tried to make money in the first place; see above). I would pore over things like the Avon catalog and circle all the stuff that was really cheap that I might have been able to afford with the pittance I made doing small chores. Many a set of cheap stickers I bought from the school book order. I look at the books that are $3.95 in those book orders now and think, "Wow...I was some sort of desperate child!" Don't go thinking that my parents were remiss in taking care of me...I was just fine. For some reason, I just had it in my head that chapstick or stickers would make life better.

3) I always tried to be artistic...and looking at it now, I failed miserably. I wanted to make all my notes and cards 'extra special,' so I would do things like go through magazines and cut out all sorts of fun letters. I didn't realize that I was just making things look like ransom notes. Maybe this was cool back then--oh who am I kidding? If I didn't have access to magazines, I would write these bubble letters and decorate each letter with a different sort of pattern--polka dots, stripes, other strange things. I recall a specific instance in the 6th grade when we did country reports. I had a big manila envelope with all my research, and sure enough, "The Netherlands" was printed in nice bubble letters, each with a different pattern. It always had to be different. Speaking of the 6th grade, I seem to remember having to make a 'birthday page' for each of my classmates...and those things were so intricate with bubble letters and colored pencils. Wow.

4) If I wanted a copy of a song (hey, there was no iTunes back then!), I would call into a radio station and request it. Then I would sit for hours with my finger on the record button of the boombox so I could tape it. Seriously, every song that began on the radio, I'd hit record; after a few seconds when I figured out it wasn't what I was looking for, I'd hit stop and rewind. I must have had a lot of time to waste or something.

5) When we lived in Texas, my family had the only trampoline in the neighborhood. Naturally all the neighborhood children wanted to come play in our backyard. We'd mess around and learn how to do tricks...I seem to remember a lot of injuries requiring stitches (none myself, thank you very much). To keep things interesting, we'd put on little 'trampoline shows' where we each did the trick and then got off the trampoline. Then we'd run the whole gambit again with a new trick. Oh the joy of entertaining yourself as a small child.

6) I had a strange habit of buddying up to my teachers in elementary school. I'm not talking just the normal answering questions and doing well on tests and homework...I'd create these bizarre relationships with them and go to whole new levels of sucking up. At one of my elementary schools, they had a schoolwide rewards program--teachers would give out 'deputy points' (our mascot was a star with boots that they called a deputy...you can't make this stuff up!) and there were certain things you could purchase with your earned points. One of my favorite things to purchase was lunch with my teacher. What kid loves their teacher enough that they want to eat lunch with them as well as spending every other waking school moment with them? Apparently me. I had one teacher in the 3rd grade that I was particularly fond of. I would walk to school early and then help her set up the classroom with the morning's projects...I'd do things like write on the overhead projector for her. That came to an abrupt halt, though, when I accidentally used a permanent overhead pen on the actual overhead glass one morning...hmmm... In the 5th grade, I didn't think I had any friends, so I would offer to stay in during recess and correct homework for the teacher. I didn't even like that teacher that much! I remember when I moved to Utah, I stuck to my normal friendly ways, and I was severely mocked for it when it came time to music class with Mrs. Porter. I loved music AND teachers...and I didn't realize it wasn't cool to love either of those things, so I was mercilessly pegged with the nickname "Mrs. Porter's pet" by all of my classmates. Well that's harsh, even for 9-year-olds! But there were the times when being a teacher's pet paid off...in Kindergarten, my teacher offered us our choice of stickers anytime we wrote a story to share with the class each morning. Every day I'd make sure to have something because I loved my teacher, and she knew that good motivation meant stickers (what was my obsession with stickers?!).

7) My relationship with food was peculiar when I was a kid. I was not adventurous at trying new things, and even then, the go-to's were not my favorite. I hated potatoes. With a passion. So deep was my detestation of the tubers that I would stubbornly keep them in my mouth. This doesn't make sense at all, and shouldn't, even to a child...but for some reason, those potatoes stayed jammed in my cheek like a chipmunk waiting for the throes of winter. One night, I kept them in there while I slept. I'm not saying it was sane or healthy... Also while we're on the topic of weird things you did with food when you were a kid...I had a friend whose house I'd go to every once in awhile. We'd play a game as if we were at an eccentric restaurant where you ordered ridiculous things like bugs or body parts. The person playing the waitress would then go into the fridge and try to concoct something that would be something similar to the ordered item.

8) At the age of 8, I discovered a club at my school devoted to saving the earth. I joined and received a little book with ideas on how to be more earth-friendly that was plastered with the whole 'Reduce, Re-use, Recycle' creed. I was enamored with this idea that I could make a difference! I started by talking to my mom about some of our habits at home. One in particular was our purchasing of colored toilet paper. Didn't she know how BAD that was for the environment?! My family still teases me to this day about how I would basically break down in tears if she'd buy the colored stuff. I know now that she was just trying to bargain shop...but I was still so devasted!

9) I loved making up little ditties any chance I got. One of my favorites from childhood was a song I made up called "Naptime." It talked about the dynamics of a family and how naps are really for the benefit of everyone. I sang it for a few of my friends awhile back and one of them even made up a little bridge for it. It's quite the number...we're thinking of taking it on the road in our folk duet. Another song I made up when I was probably only five or so was called "I'm a Little Sunshine." This was inspired by a really poofy gold dress I had. I would stand in front of our huge mirror in the dining room (one of the walls was made of mirrors) and pull up the sides of the skirt on this frock...it reminded me of a round sun. Along with making up songs, we made up dances to songs. At Christmas, my sisters and I would each take a couple lines on "Santa Baby" and do a little shimmy and some actions that went with the lyrics. How adorable...

...and last but not least:
10) Probably one of my alltime favorite memories as a child was spinning in pot lids in the front entryway. Yes, you read that right. We'd get my mom's pot lids out of the cupboard, balance them upside down on the handle on the brick floor of our front entry way, sit in them and spin around until they didn't balance anymore. I guess there once was a time when my little bum would fit in those lids...thinking about doing that now just puts a grimace on my face.

Well, I warned you...I was some sort of insane child with peculiar penchants for weird hobbies and pastimes. And by no means is this list exhaustive of my youthful quirks! Anyone else out there got some funny things they did as a kid?

9 Comments:

Blogger HelloKitty said...

Annie! Hey! I loved this post. An odd thing I used to do was pretend my dogs needed surgery, so as soon as they would fall asleep, i would roll them over on their back and pretend i was cutting up their stomach. 10 years later, i started volunteering in brasil at a vet who spayed and neutered cats and dogs for free for people who couldn't afford it. oh and i'd eat onions with sugar ALL DAY.

November 19, 2008 at 11:40 PM

 
Blogger Stephanie said...

Haha I love this!! We used to put on a neighborhood circus in our backyard... and yeah, WE were all of the animals. My brother would be the lion tamer and we would all dress up and perform tricks for whatever neighborhood kids came to see the show. I seem to remember jumping off the swings somehow tied into the acrobats too... Hmmm :)

November 20, 2008 at 8:44 AM

 
Blogger Erika said...

That was SO FUNNY! You made weird things out of BREAD?! I recall the bubbly letters too, but no ransom note ones, that's hilarious. Mrs. Porter's pet, really?? Oh dear... it's too bad you didn't know the unspoken rule that EVERYONE HATED MRS. PORTER. And you kept bread in your mouth all night!! Seriously, great stuff, we all did weird things as children but that was great.

November 20, 2008 at 9:24 AM

 
Blogger Scott said...

That's so crazy! I used to spy on kids who would spin on pot lids...

November 20, 2008 at 10:11 AM

 
Blogger Erika said...

I just realized I meant POTATOES in your mouth, not bread, I already mentioned the bread. :)

November 20, 2008 at 10:25 AM

 
Blogger kate. said...

Annie, you're awesome! I don't know what it is about kids and food and making money. My cousin and I made a cafe when we were growing up complete with menus and everything. Also, we had a movie theater where we made tickets...then we expected everyone to pay. A&K all the way! (I still don't know why his letter went first haha)
And I was convinced I could be a pro figure skater from practicing in my socks on my grandma's kitchen floor, I was awesome.

November 20, 2008 at 12:11 PM

 
Blogger Aaron and Devony said...

Mmm, I totally did #4 a lot too. I was actually just thinking that the other day! When I was a kid I believed I had a computer that could translate baby talk and that I could take our house all over the world with my flying ponies.

November 20, 2008 at 10:40 PM

 
Blogger Adrianne Miller said...

Sing me the nap song!

November 21, 2008 at 10:20 AM

 
Blogger sarah said...

This made me laugh so hard I was crying!! Probably because I was there for most if not all of it, but you did forget to mention FRUIT SATIN!! Remember-- we would take fruit snacks.....

November 26, 2008 at 8:53 PM

 

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