a mom among memoirs

my mom was so mean; she didn't let me wax my eyebrows until I was 6!

So, I’m totally obsessed with memoirs. Mostly women’s memoir, plus gay men (David Sedaris specifically). I’ve recently read at least five of them. I’m drawn to them, even more so if there is any kind of retro-y picture on the cover. All this memoir reading has had me contemplating a memoir of my own. So, I started thinking about what I personally have to offer the world of memoirs. After much contemplation, it ain’t much really.  Memoirs tend to have some common threads; like crazy messed up childhood, or triumph over health problems or addictions. Based on these common themes, here are the highlights of my much-anticipated memoir:


Babyhood and early childhood: Apparently I once smeared poop all over the wall in the bathroom when I was getting my diaper changed, so there’s that. Oh, and I once took my mom’s lipstick and drew all over my grandma’s white padded headboard. What can I say, I was an artist who worked in a variety of mediums.

When I was in preschool I had to have surgery on a weird bone/ tendon type condition known only as “trigger thumb” The year I was three I had it on the left hand and then the right hand when I was four. One of the surgeries took, the other didn’t (mild disfigurement?) At preschool we were working with rhythm sticks and given that I was wearing a cast on one hand I couldn’t smack my two sticks together like everyone else, so the kind teacher let me smack my one lone stick on a pole every time I skipped past it. Can anyone say loner?

I have a very strong memory of an older boy eating red construction paper. There was discussion about whether or not I was ready for kindergarten a year early, so they sent me one day for a trial run. His mouth was red as blood and I refused to go back. So, that was pretty traumatizing. Who knows what my life might have been like if I had gone to kindergarten a year early… it shall forever remain a mystery and an emotional weight that red-mouthed boy must carry to his grave.

Childhood: My friend Kim accidentally locked me in my bedroom, so that was scary for about ten minutes. She also told me that if I was lying about stealing the candy we had been saving for a Cabbage Kid Birthday party, God would strike me down with lightning. Ha Kim! I’m still here.

I was almost bit by a poisonous Scandinavian snake in Norway. Which was right on the heels of escaping a hotel bombing in Copenhagen by leaving a day early because it was so BORING. On that same trip I threw up at the feet of a medieval suit of armor. and again into the gutter of the fanciest hotel in Oslo. I also found out about bidets… pretty exciting times.

I didn’t learn to ride a two-wheel bike until I was eleven.

 Pain suffered at the hands of my parents: When my mom washed my hair in the kitchen sink she squeezed the water out really hard. Oh, and she is a really hard hugger. Tight squeeze, hard back pat.

Neglect suffered at the hands of my parents: You may remember events discussed in a prior post involving my mom and her passion for reading and ignoring my demands for attention; please reread.

Physical Deformities?: I am allergic to metal, on one side of my body. I’m not making that up; a doctor friend explained the whole thing to me and used words like helix and DNA. Basically all I got out of it is that it’s somehow related to a calico cat. If my memoir ever gets written, I’ll probably have to explain it in full. Shit. I’m also allergic to tree nuts and bananas and melons make my throat itch. So that’s sad.

Addictions: You are refered to the previous post on my reading binge. Pretty hard-core stuff, so steel yourself.

Relationship Troubles: I eagerly and completely gave my heart to the same boy for seven years. He named his hamster after me.

In college I went on a year-long bender where I was willing to take it from anyone I could get it. Attention, I mean. Several of them had girlfriends at another college but thought my back scratching skills were wicked. The dyslexic one didn’t want to marry me, so we couldn’t go on any more dates. The male cheerleader with the purple pick up truck just kind of faded away, but I think there might be another story there somewhere.

Soon after I met the love of my life. We have been together thirteen years, except for the one week that he took his dad’s suggestion and took a break to see what else was out there.

Brushes with the rich and famous: I have met the children’s author Kevin Henkes and I was in the front row at a Hole concert when Courtney Love was still wacked out. Oh, she’s still wacked out now? I’ll clarify; it was the one date I went on with the dyslexic and she threw lunchmeat into the audience.

Illicit behaviors: I once threw a handful of gravel at a passing car and the lady stopped and yelled at me. Karma repaid me a few days later when I was playing Olympics and tripped and twisted my ankle. Note to self: Jelly shoes not great for jumping hurdles.

Also when I was in second grade I stole oil pastels from the art room for a few months before I got caught. I don’t think I knew I was stealing, just moving school supplies from one room to another, because I used the oil pastels on my schoolwork and got caught by my teacher who was obsessed with the cartoon strip Cathy. My parents let me choose my own punishment so I thought hard and decided I should be grounded for a week with yard privileges and friend privileges at my house. Pretty painful.

So that’s the beginning… I know. Set The Glass Castle down right now and pick up this baby right? David Sedaris who, right? Drinking yourself into oblivion? Mary Karr, you’re so silly– that’s not what the people want!

In sixth grade we had to write our autobiography and besides the fact that I didn’t end up marrying all the members of the New Kids on the Block, I think I did pretty well.


1 Response to “a mom among memoirs”

  1. August 16, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Just for the record, the break was like 4 months into the relationship. Just so no one got the idea it was 7 years in or something. That would be a pretty different scenario, right?

    Also, I never knew about the lipstick/headboard incident. That probably made some people pretty unhappy…

    Great stuff!

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