A Gift From The 80s Just Keeps On Giving

Last week was our last week of school and the SEC baseball tournament, so we were chock-full-o-nostalgia about leaving 4th grade (Alex), getting to see our favorite team play (Bulldogs) and finishing the final semester as a high school English teacher (me – and this is a long story, but I’ve been teaching English for a real long time, only this past year I had to face the reality that my writing and teaching schedules weren’t really doing each other any favors, so while I’m still going to work next school year, my role is going to shift a bit – and I am very grateful for that but WAH, NO MORE TEACHING LITERATURE, WAH).

So the bottom line is that there were a whole lot of feelings in our house last week. We coped by watching a whole lot of college baseball. And while our Bulldogs didn’t win the tournament, we still had a blast. I got to see lots of former students (I will get to write more about this part of my life now that I will not be anybody’s 11th grade English teacher, so I feel totally free to say that my relationships with the kids that I’ve taught over the years mean the absolute world to me, and I tell my real-life people all the time that there just aren’t many privileges as sweet as a 16 or 17 year-olds who invite you into their lives for just a little while), and based on the number of friends that A. and his buddies saw walking around the ballpark, I think it’s safe to say that there’s a young person in this house who has a far more exciting social life than his parents can even begin to claim at this point.

Also, when I wasn’t mourning the fact that I’ll never teach The Great Gatsby again or yelling my head off when Wes Rea stole 2nd base during the Georgia game (Wes Rea was a highly recruited offensive lineman in high school) (I do not believe that his body type is necessarily designed for sliding into 2nd) (that made the base stealing all the more festive), I continued to fight some lingering plague-like symptoms, chief amongst them being a hacking cough that might leave you concerned that I was choking.

Friday afternoon Sister and her hubby came to town; Sister and I have never gotten to go to the SEC tourney together, so this year seemed like a fine time to start. We had a great time even though we lost to Florida, and we also have a story that we will tell for the rest of our lives about the man who sat behind us and assumed we didn’t know anything about sports because we’re women. It’s way too much to try to explain in a couple of paragraphs, but I knew we were in trouble at the very beginning of the game when the man tried to tell us what a double-play is. After he continued to offer instruction for the next three innings, Sister and I were finally able to convince him that the game was not in fact our first sports-related rodeo, but that wasn’t before my hackles got ALL THE WAY UP and I silently considered all of my pride-related issues when it comes to sports in general and the Bulldogs in particular.

I also silently considered the possibility of designing an impromptu Bulldog sports trivia contest to see if that man really knew his stuff, but then he admitted that he hadn’t been to an Egg Bowl since 1983 and suddenly I felt plenty secure in the fact that I would’ve totally smoked him.

Clearly I am a grown-up and very mature.

Sister and I did some shopping over the weekend, and I am happy to announce that I found a lamp replacement (Hazel broke my favorite yellow lamp a couple of weeks ago) at Home Goods. The shape is almost identical, and even though it wasn’t $10 like my yellow one, I was tickled to find something that looks similar – and I think we’re going to be able to paint it yellow, so WIN. The other exciting development is that Sister has fully embraced the resurgence of the palazzo pants (we were completely smitten with the Coco Bianco palazzos at SteinMart), so we had all kinds of fun trying on pretty much every pair we could find. THEY ARE A DELIGHT.

Today I decided to clean out my closet, mainly because my closet has started to make me feel claustrophobic and maybe a little bit ashamed. It’s one of those chores that I put off and put off and put off, and then the prospect of digging through everything feels so overwhelming that I just sort of shield my eyes and grab whatever I need and walk out. The last couple of days, though, I’ve felt like I was ready to tackle it, so this afternoon I started dragging everything off of the shelves before I could chicken out and decide to start a marathon of a TV show instead.

I’m not anywhere near finished, but I think I’m doing a good job of being ruthless in terms of what gets to stay and what has to leave. I spent most of the afternoon going through old purses and duffel bags, and apparently I haven’t gotten rid of any purses since Alex was born. Add to that the fact that there were a couple of small bags in the mix that I apparently never unpacked after we moved SEVEN AND ONE HALF YEARS AGO, and you can understand why I felt like I spent the better part of my day in a time machine.

I mean, it’s not every day when you’re confronted with the reality that there was a time in your life when you actually thought a picture like this one was a good idea.

Oh. Bless it.

And listen. I certainly don’t mean to cause sensory overload. It’s a lot to take in all at once, so if you need to focus on one element at a time, take a break, then come back for the next element, that is so understandable. Because first of all, there’s the hair (I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Paul Mitchell’s Freeze and Shine – as well as my Clairol curl sticks – for making that hair possible). Then there’s the lace collar (courtesy of Jessica McClintock, BUT OF COURSE). Then there’s the pose (I have no explanation) and the SINGLE ROSE. If memory serves I had this picture made for Mother’s Day either my senior year in high school or my freshman year in college, and I remember seeing the proofs and feeling sad that my hair didn’t look bigger on the sides because SURE. And what you cannot see is that I topped off the whole look by going barefoot in the picture, a clear indication that I had recently watched a very emotional Whitney Houston / Sheena Easton / Anita Baker / Phil Collins video where the female main character opted to not wear shoes.

I was very young and impressionable.

So. I may not be finished with my closet yet, but I can say for sure that I am finished with 1) lace collars 2) single roses 3) bangs that curl under. I would like to be able to say that I am finished with big hair, but I’m just not ready to make that kind of bold proclamation. You just never known what trends the future might hold, and I’d really like a redemptive shot to make the sides of my hair a little bigger the next time around.

I mean, palazzo pants are back, after all. Maybe curl rods and some econo-sized cans of Paul Mitchell Freeze and Shine aren’t all that far behind, you know?

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  1. Next thing we know *gasp!* party pants/jumpsuits will make a comeback. Lord help us all. ;-)

    • kristen says:

      Jumpsuits are ALREADY here! 25 years later & I’m still conflicted about them…

  2. Sophie,
    The photo is adorable! There is nothing like a changing future and a surprise from the past to get the emotions going.
    Enjoy your summer!

  3. Palazzo pants could only be better with a little Paul Mitchell Freeze & Shine tossed in! and that pic is priceless … I have one of the rose against the cheek photos. It’s a beauty.

  4. I love this precious photo! i mean, the hair, the dress, the rose, and the music that I imagine playing in the background while it was being taken all speak to the forever 1980’s part of my soul, but also the fact that your face looks just like A’s to me… Well, I just love it.

  5. Your writing just tickles me. This post was excellent.

  6. Kathleen G says:

    Ahhh Paul Mitchell freeze & shine & hot rollers for me. My daughter would have loved being in your Literature class. I follow another blogger who teaches too. God bless you both.

  7. Angelia S says:

    Oh, how I love this! You totally could have been in my wedding party with the hair, the dress, the rose, everything. And yes, agreed, hang on to the big hair. It’s coming around again. I can just feel it! (Which is why I still have my Caruso steam rollers under my sink in the bathroom.)

  8. Sue In FLA says:

    It’s fun to look back at old photos of ourselves, but it is best if you have a group of old girlfriends (and their photos) with you when you do. A good laugh makes the whole thing easier to handle.

  9. Bless. I miss teaching high school English! (I also taught 2 1/2-year-olds in preschool for eight years, which is not as different from the former as you may think.) I know it must have been a hard decision, but big congrats on this new season – and I hope you enjoy every moment!

  10. Melissa says:

    Sophie, you make me giggle. :-)

  11. Michele T says:

    Jessica McClintock. Oh how I have missed her.

  12. I just knew you were a HS English teacher!! I bet it would be a hoot to have you for a teacher and I bet your students and school are so proud of you with your book(s)! I have such fond and wonderful memories of all my HS English teachers (I was in advanced classes) and still think of them.

    • Same here! For months I’ve been wondering what you do for a living and guessing you were a teacher. For the record, I like you even more now.

      A Fellow HS English teacher (by training)

      PS I hope this new chapter in your life is exactly what you’re hoping for.

  13. This post made my day. Thanks for the update on your life.

  14. Kelley says:

    Oh my word! That photo is priceless! it also reminds me of my senior photo session back in 1989.

    My mother didn’t care what I wanted for photos–as long as I had pictures of me playing my viola. Of course, when the proofs came back she found THE ONE that she wanted framed in our living room. Not only is it of me playing the viola. With big ol’ hair. And my sassy United Colors of Benetton sweater. But that photo? 16×20. And that doesn’t include the matting AND the frame! The frame alone adds a good 4-5 inches all the way around. And now, 24 years later, that baby is still front and center on the living room wall at my mom & step-dad’s house.

    And you know what? When my mother departs this earth in the future, guess who will become the proud owner of that photo? ME. What in the world am I going to do with a 16×20 picture of my 18 year old self?

  15. I have a similar photo. I was wearing a BRIGHT RED dress and holding a RED rose. I had spent the ENTIRE day at a water park, so my skin was as RED as the rose! I looked like a lobster!!! Oh how I miss the 80’s!

  16. Sally R says:

    In some places (Texas) big hair never goes out of style.

  17. nancy k says:

    So I have imagined your job to be 874 different things, but never teaching! I am sure your students looooooved you!! :)

  18. Men who automatically assume women know nothing about sports are one of my biggest pet peeves. Back in the ’90s, my husband had a friend that I did not particularly care for, but because my mama raised me right, we had him over one night to grill steaks and watch the Braves in the playoffs. It was a close game, and late in the game, Bobby Cox called for a pitching change. When he made that change, he switched out the player at shortstop. My hubby’s friend was ranting and raving about that call…why on earth would he have taken out a great fielder at that point in a close game? I had been quietly watching the game, and then because my daddy raised me right, I said, “BECAUSE Blauser (shortstop) made the last out in the last inning. That means the pitcher’s spot is up next in the batting order. If he makes the double switch, the pitcher can bat in the shortstop’s spot, and the new shortstop can bat first next inning in the pitcher’s spot. They won’t waste a pitcher for just one inning before having to send in someone to bat for him.” The look on his face was priceless. He stood with his mouth open for a minute looking from me to my husband. My husband just shrugged and said, “I told you she knows baseball.”

    As far as the picture goes, when I was a teen, my grandmother decided to take me and my two sisters and my brother to Olan Mills to have a picture made for my mama for Mother’s Day. We planned the whole day out….how to get out of the house without Mama knowing where we were going, outfits to change into after we left the house, etc. I got up that morning and started getting ready, and when I went to squirt a rather large dollop of Finesse mousse into my hand, it came out looking like milk. My little brother had used a pin to somehow release all the air from the can, leaving a sticky liquid with absolutely no mousse like qualities whatsoever. Every time I look at that picture, which is still hanging in my parents’ front hallway, all I see is how flat my hair is and the smirk on my brother’s face.

  19. Once again, I giggled all the way through this post. My fav part of the SEC tourney was seeing Wes steal 2nd base. Granted, it would have been better in person but then again, you wouldn’t have been able to see the replay the TV showed at least 462 times. AMAZING. You know Big Wes wanted to cheer and scream right then and there. So happy he’s BACK! Now, onto to ULL, final destination, OMAHA!

    I have laughed and laughed at that pic since you posted it yesterday. And yes, I went back to it a few times to simply digest it all. The 80’s were my favorite time but I have ZERO desire for some of those things to come back again. My first dance in 8th grade and I wore a Jessica McClintock dress. Just so happens to still be in the closet at my parents’ house. Just for safe keeping I guess.

  20. I just found my Jessica McClintock Gunny Sacks dress in the closet this weekend. I can’t believe I still have it! I wish I could wear it so that I could take a few pictures to annoy my boys.

    May I humbly suggest that you change your Twitter picture to your 80s self? I just want to see it more often.

    thanks for the Tuesday giggle!

  21. Well, now, A. doesn’t look a AT ALL like you! ;) HAPPY SUMMER!

  22. You are SO funny! You’ve inspired me to turn off the TV and get back to my pile of sorting.

  23. Jeanie says:

    Love the picture. And, Sophie, can’t you Photoshop your hair to make it bigger?

  24. Teresa says:

    You are just too precious!!!

  25. This is very interesting, You are a very skilled
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  26. Love the photo. Dated-ness aside, what a beauty!

  27. Oh my word. As soon as you mentioned freeze and shine, I caught a wiff of my youth. That stuff was the best for shellacking bangs into place!

  28. This is been another one of THOSE mornings. Then I saw your post in my email. EXACTLY what I need, I thought. Good medicine, laughter. I admire your incredible God-given gift that brings laughter and joy to so many of us. Bless you Sophie! By the way I usually read your posts to my husband who promptly collapses in fits of laughter. That is a high compliment because he usually doesn’t read (or listen to) girl blogs. Or any other blog for that matter. But he makes special exception for you because you are in the SEC family. Go Gators!

  29. I don’t know why it delights me so much to know that all this time of reading your blog and when you would mention your “top secret work stuff” it was English teacher stuff! I look forward to the stories.

  30. Bless you! I am always so refreshed after I read your blog posts. :)