Thursday, October 9, 2008

Picture Retake Day

I was driving around town tending to a few errands the other day when I drove past the local elementary school. There wasn’t anything unusual about that, but what caught my attention was the sign reminding all of the students and all of the passersby that Picture Retake Day was coming up in a few days.

This simple statement reminded me of a story from my childhood and absolutely tickled me silly.

Picture Retake Day!

The year was 1974 and I was in the second grade. I remember that year exceptionally well because something major happened to me.

After getting tested at school it was determined that I needed to get glasses. This event happens to thousands of people every day and isn’t normally a big deal. But, when you’re only seven years old getting glasses is really a big deal. All of your fellow classmates know all of the cruel nicknames such as four eyes, pop bottle head, and, my favorite, fish eyes.

Children can be so receptive and cruel at that age.

The glasses that I chose were gold wire rimmed frames with egg-shaped lenses. Hey, it was 1974.

I hated them almost immediately. After the novelty of them wore off, I found that they gave me a terrible headache. I took them to school but they were seldom worn.

It came time for me to have my picture taken at school that year and I remember walking up on the stage where the photographer was situated. I was holding my glasses in my hand unsure where to put them while I had my picture taken. The photographer told me to put them on; after all, they belonged on my face he said.

Six weeks later when the pictures came back I got the shock of my life. My pictures were terrible, absolutely awful—I looked just like all of those things that my friends had teased me about.

I cried.

I wouldn’t trade photos with any of my friends.

My mom didn’t think that it was a bad picture. Of course, she wouldn’t because she’s my mom you know. I begged and pleaded with her to let me get my picture retaken on Picture Retake Day. She reluctantly agreed and I began to plan out what I was going to wear and certainly remember to leave those blasted spectacles at home.

Picture Retake Day was scheduled for the middle of January. Now, living in southern Ohio in the middle of January can present several problems, namely, snow. Wouldn’t you know it, a major snowstorm dumped over a foot of snow on the farm and we were out of school for three days.

The Picture Retake Day couldn’t be rescheduled because the photographer was booked for the rest of the school year.

I was left with the worst school picture ever, and possibly the worst picture that I have ever posed for, sober anyway.


Anonymous said...

URG! I got my first pair of glasses at 10. Hideous! For my second pair, the parents sprung for Sophia Loren frames, with the newfangled transition lenses. This was in the early 80's. Once the lenses had darkened, they NEVER went back to completely clear ever again. Our class photo was taken outdoors. I looked like a big ole fly. Not pretty. When my older daughter (9 at the time) needed glasses last year, I bought her contact lenses also. Yeah, it's a pain to put them in for her, but ma baybay doesn't look like an insect. She can thank me later.

Anonymous said...

@ ame: I feel your pain



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