Monday, June 18, 2007

Graduation, Part II

This is further to my blog on graduation from May 21.

In my time and place back in The Day, elementary school ran through grade seven and you began high school in grade eight. We had a graduation event of sorts to mark this transition, and the junior misses of my class were abuzz with the wardrobe possibilities.

I did not buzz. For one thing, I was petrified that asking any questions would unmask me as a rank loser. For a 12-year-old girl, there is nothing on the planet scarier than the possibility that other 12- and 13-year-old girls might laugh at you. This is not a groundless or irrational fear. Girls between 11 and 14 are probably the most horrible human beings you will ever meet.

Secondly, though, I was convinced that my family was dirt poor. Now, my father was a tenured full professor at UBC and we lived in Kerrisdale, probably one of the three or four most upscale neighbourhoods in the entire country. No matter. I was in my mid-teens before I really had any idea that we were not, in fact, dirt poor. This conviction came from a lifetime of watching my mother be exceedingly careful with money, and from the fact that I was a first-born, who are always the ones who fret about such things. So although my mother did offer to buy me a new dress for graduation, I was convinced we couldn't afford it.

Earlier that year I had been confirmed in the Anglican church. A lovely dress had been purchased for this event, and I'd been feeling guilty about it having been worn only once. (First born! Such a burden!) I determined that I would wear this to my grade seven graduation.

Here is the dress, as worn on confirmation day. For graduation, I thought I would appear much more sophisticated without the white tights. So instead I appeared with dry, hairy bare legs, nearly as white as the dress itself.

This is the sort of thing the other girls wore. With stockings. And makeup.

Now, the sidebar of this blog tells you that I am writing my memoirs despite having an exceedingly uneventful life to write about. This is the saddest story of my childhood. Can you see where I'd have difficulty creating any sort of dramatic story arc?

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