I am not quite sure how it happened. The years have sped by and multiplied and I am wondering how I got here, to a sum of fifty years.
When I was a little girl, playing with my Barbie dolls in the dream house I had constructed for them out of shoe boxes and fabric and small treasures, I always pictured Barbie as being twenty. Never older or younger. My parents? They would always be thirty. And my grandparents would always be fifty.
In my mind, they will always be that age. No matter that my grandmother turns 92 this summer, and my parents turn 70-they will eternally be 30, and 50, respectively.
Perhaps that is why I can't wrap my brain around the thought that I am turning 50. So to remind myself of just how far I have come, I decided to dig through old photos:
Here I am, at a year old (thank you for labeling this picture mom, as most of the photos I have are not dated).
As I was digging through the pictures, I was so impressed by the clarity of the old black and whites, compared to the crummy polaroids or color photos from the 70's. How are we saving our Instagram photos, to be reviewed in fifty years? Will there be an archive we can access, of all of the wonderful pictures we are now able to take with today's amazing technology and equipment?
For several years I had a phase where I posed for every picture taken of me with my hands on my thighs. Standing up in a garden, sitting on a chair, even in cowboy boots:
As the first and only grandchild, for five whole years, you could say I was spoiled. Yes, I had a pony (her name was Lady) and a beautiful cart that my grandfather made (in a rare color photo from that time frame). I fondly recall rides down Sherman Avenue, and then in to Lavinia to the candy store. Sometimes I even got to hold the reins.
Who else had Pixie prints taken at JC Penney? I recall the tiny 'studio', down in the basement, and the blanket we would rest our hands on, turning just so to get the proper angle. I wonder if they ever washed that blanket....I think I had my picture taken there every year, until I entered school and could get school photos. (I may have had that same pose years later in a senior photo, against either a wagon wheel or a birch tree...)
My brother Kelly arrived a few days before my fifth birthday-it was so exciting! We nearly always celebrated our birthdays together-perhaps it was just easier for my parents to have both sets of families in our house all at once, and be done with it. Kelly was the sweetest little boy, I loved helping to care for him, it was like having my own real life doll. And because disposable diapers were not yet available, I ended up on diaper pail duty more times than I can count.
Once my real teeth came in, I was often told I had the 'Hanson teeth'. While my parents did not want to spend the money on braces, I recall the dentist giving me a small paper envelope full of tiny rubber bands, that I would place on my two front teeth to pull them together. Apparently it worked a little, although the gap in her teeth certainly worked for Lauren Hutton!
My mom used to trim my bangs with pink adhesive tape, Dippity Do, and a dull scissors...my father told me that the freckles on my face were from spending too much time outside underneath the birds.
Clearly by this time Mom was tired of trimming my bangs, and decided I should grow them out. World's highest forehead! I think that was when I learned yellow was not one of my colors, and that I should always have bangs.
Obviously I had not yet perfected smiling for photos with my lips closed to hide my ugly teeth-they say it's never too late to get braces!
Those are a few years worth of school photos, I am guessing they are from 4th grade, 8th grade, and perhaps 10th grade? No dates of course. Quite the evolution of hair styles, and either their photo processing was less than great, or my hair was red during those years.
Senior prom-posing with my date Jerome Dosdahl on the big night ( I bet they don't even rent burgundy tuxedos any more). There were no tanning beds in Bemidji in 1980, and I did my own hair. As I see photos on Facebook of my friend's daughters and sons going to prom, I try to remember that night. I do recall shopping for dresses, with my very best friend Bonnie. I found mine when we were on a DECA trip in Minneapolis-my first ever purchase at Dayton's. Bonnie and I went to prom together, our dates were just friends-but other than that it was not very memorable. Bonnie and I share the same birthday, so I am thinking of her fondly today, and of all of the other wonderful memories we shared. She was also the one who introduced me to Mike, she was a pretty big part of my life back then!
My very first car, a Vega hatchback. I purchased it right after my birthday (once I turned 18 I could get a loan on my own), and before graduation. I had scrimped and saved money from my job at Patterson's Menswear, as a senior I attended school half days and worked the other half. Even then, I had to take out a loan for $1000-back then the interest rates were over 18%! I still have my loan papers, just astonishing. I wonder how long it took me to pay it off? Considering I was also paying room and board to live at home, and saving money to go to school-probably quite a while! What was more interesting was the fact that it was a manual, and I had no idea how to drive a stick. But with persistence, and the help of my brother (who dad had taught to drive in the woods....) I learned on the back roads of Bemidji. This photo makes it look like a graduation gift-when instead my gift was money and luggage. I eventually took the hint and moved away from my hometown, after working multiple jobs to earn enough to send myself off to college at UND.
This time of year always has young people looking forward, what school to attend, what will the next years bring? And we send them off with our congratulations and best wishes and hopes for wonderful things. As a bright eyed, freshly turned 18 year old and legal adult, I had absolutely no idea what the next 32 years would bring me. While I certainly had dreams, I think most of us end up with a life far different than the one we imagined at 18.
I certainly hoped and dreamed that I would meet the love of my life, but I never could have imagined that I would start a business with him, and build a life that makes me so happy and content. I hoped that I would do something creative, but the idea of an Etsy shop, where I would sell my creations to people all over the world, could not have entered my mind.
And it never occurred to me that at the age of fifty I would not be a grandma, but the mom of a sweet 14 year old about to enter high school, whose arrival in our life was such an amazing miracle.
My little sister was just 7 years old at the time, the idea that she would become my very best friend, and a woman who I so admire, was not even a thought in my head.
And I absolutely never dreamed of the special people I would have in my life-friends who are so important to me, and who make my life full and rich.
Thanks ahead of time to all of you who will wish me well on my birthday-whether you are a cherished person in my circle, or one I have yet to meet, I appreciate your place in my life!