Watching the kid get married

Reblogging this because it’s one of my favorites…

I met Ginny when she was 12. I was exactly 10 years and 9 days older. She had long brown hair and lived in a stack of bricks that functioned as government housing in the middle of Kansas. I’d moved to town a few months ago for my first job as a newspaper reporter and was looking for a friend.

There she was, in a pile of applications to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

She’d barely smiled for the Polaroid. Her questionnaire answers were bizarre, irreverent, winking at this entire match-making process. The only truth in the paperwork was that she liked to read and write. This was a strange kid. I couldn’t wait to meet her.

We went to Pizza Hut that first night. She wanted pepperoni, I think. Maybe I made that decision. She barely said a word, just stared at me from across the booth. She ate shyly, chewing behind a napkin. I asked her a bunch of questions, and the answer was almost always a shrug. She looked at my work pants and my thick black pea coat and determined that I was a boring grown-up who talked too much.

I drove home that night feeling old, wondering if I’d made a mistake.

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We love nostalgia

Is it just my generation, or has every generation freaked out about the trinkets of its childhood? I posted a picture of a relic of my youth on Pinterest recently, and in a day or two it had been re-pinned more than 100 times. I understand why. The older I get, the more important that kid junk is to me. It reminds me of a time when neon colors excited me, when love songs on the radio hinted at a romantic future I didn’t understand, when my greatest goal was collecting the entire set of Happy Meals toys.

It seems silly that a picture of perfume would conjure up such feelings — of being hopeful and lovesick and awkward and nervous — but it happens. And so here I’ve collected some of the things that fling me back to a time before I knew anything about anything. See if this works for you, too. (Just a note: This probably works best if you were born in the late 70s or early 80s and grew up as a girl. I have a limited world view.)

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