Diane suggested a few weeks ago that I try the Writer’s Workshop prompts from Mama’s Losin’ It. Even though I’ve written down the prompts every week, I’ve never gotten around to actually writing anything from any of them. I thought I’d give it a try this week. I chose the prompt “I remember when…”
I remember when my mom told me about the facts of life. I was reading The Secret Garden in my room one Saturday when I was 9 years old. My mom came in and asked me to come with her because she “needed to talk to me.” Uh-oh! This couldn’t be good!
My mind started scrambling, trying to think of what I had done that was going to cause me to get in trouble. I was a pretty good kid, but when I did screw up, I tended to do it in a spectacular go-big-or-go-home way. But, aside from getting fussed at in ballet class when Mrs. Gravely caught me standing ON TOP of two barres where they met in the corner, getting ready to jump down (a la a wrestler in the ring), I couldn’t think of anything I had done lately that might require the dreaded talking to I was about to get. And, I didn’t think that Mrs. Gravely had told my mom about my Ric Flair impression.
The only other thing I could think of was that I had lost almost all of my earrings. I had gotten my ears pierced the year before and had gotten tons of earrings for my birthday and Christmas. Those little cards that contain about 10 different pairs in the shape of hearts, stars, and all the things little girls like? I had gotten so many of them. I could literally wear a different pair of earrings every day for 2 months or more. But, it turned out that I had very sensitive ears and no matter how much peroxide I put on my ears and on the earrings, by lunchtime everyday my ears were aching. So, I’d take my earrings off and put them in my desk. I had to leave my classroom to go to another to take a TAG math class. While I was gone, another kid came into my regular classroom to take the math class my teacher taught. That kid took my earrings every day. So, by the time my mom told me she needed to talk to me that Saturday, I only had 2 pairs of earrings left. That’s the kind of good kid that I was: I thought the worst thing I had done was accidentally have my earrings stolen because they hurt too much to wear.
I really thought I was in for it, though, as I was walking down the hall from my bedroom to the living room. I knew we were alone in the house. I knew that she had sent my little sister with my step-dad to a softball game. I was a dead girl walking.
When I came into the living room, Momma was sitting on the floor and she told me to sit down with her. She had a big box in front of her that she opened. Inside were things I’d never seen before. Then she started explaining all that I needed to know about becoming a young woman. She had ordered the box from the Kotex company and it had samples of different feminine products and a couple of little booklets that Momma said I could read and hold onto in case I had any questions about things. She had gotten me a couple of different styles of training bras too so that I could decide which one I liked better.
I’ve always been a pretty private person and I’m fairly modest. I think normally I would have been horrified that we were even having such an intimate discussion, but I hardly paid attention to what she was saying because I was just so relieved that I wasn’t in trouble over the earrings (or my ballet-wrestling)! Thank goodness for those booklets because I’m pretty sure most of the stuff that she told me that day went in one ear and out the other.
I hid my training bras in between some sweaters in a drawer because I didn’t want my little sister to know that I had them. A couple of weeks after our Big Talk, my mom, step-dad and I sat down to dinner. Momma called for my sister to join us. My back was to the hallway, but I knew when she had arrived because Momma and Dennis started laughing. I turned around to see what they were laughing about and there was my little sister, wearing my bra on her head like a hat. So much for being private and modest.